On Being Recognized

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One of the interesting perquisites (did you know that’s what “perks” stands for?) of being a published author is the possibility of being recognized when going out in public. I’m not famous enough—okay, make that “not famous at all”—to have a problem like that, but it’s an interesting prospect.

At a writers’ conference a year or two back, I was talking to an unpublished novelist—someone I’d never met before—about my two novels. “Oh,” she said. “My daughter has read those. Loves ‘em.”


At church some months back, a fellow I’d known for a while was introducing my wife and me to a couple of his adult kids. “Roger is a writer. What’s the name of those books again?” I told him, and one of his daughters got so excited. Again, she loved the book, but had no idea her dad went to church with the author.

Then there’s the time more recently when a fellow choir member stopped her mid-teen daughter while they were walking through the sanctuary one evening. “Meg, did you know Mr. Bruner wrote Found in Translation and Lost in Dreams?”

This super-quiet girl was thrilled to meet one of her favorite authors, and I was just as thrilled to meet her. This gal has got one heck of a lot of hair, and I’m jealous.

But what would it be like to be out in what I’ll call the “real public”—places where I wouldn’t expect anyone to recognize me?

I’ve met any number of well-known Christian novelists. That is, they’re well-known to people who’re up on Christian fiction. Despite the fact that it seems to be a growing genre because so many readers still want clean, decent books to read, I’m not sure many of them have encountered a privacy problem.

Let’s face it. We writers are not pop stars. How many authors—even in the secular market—would you recognize if you ran into one of them in an elevator? Definitely a different matter from someone I once knew who ran into Mick Jagger somewhere.

And maybe the lack of facial recognition is appropriate. After all, many writers—perhaps most of them—are intensely introverted. Our words represent us, and we’re happy to leave it at that. I am.

But you know what else? My three favorite Sonic employees know me. The folks at the bank do, too. And let’s not forget the manager at the local Sweet Frog. And a handful of checkers at the grocery store. People in my neighborhood may not know me by name, but they know me by our miniature dachshund, Happy.

And those folks don’t care whether I’m a big-time author or not. They know me just because I’m me.

That’s not such a bad thing, is it?

What do you think? How about leaving a comment?

Oh, and just in case you’re curious about who I’m with in those pictures…

From left to right on the top row are  Deb Raney (author of women’s lit that even a man would like), Terry Burns (my agent), and Jim Rubart (probably the best author of speculative around).

Bottom row is Jenny Rogers Spinola (excellent writer of women’s lit and someone I consider my little sister), Brandilyn Collins (“Seatbelt  Suspense” writer extraordinaire), and Cec Murphy (did the actual writing of Ninety Minutes in Heaven).


I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

By the way, “On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I use “As I Come Singing”check it out here—to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here to see the list.

Best regards,

2 thoughts on “On Being Recognized

  1. Oh, my goodness, this is so funny, Roger! I got a Google Alert about this post, and they can be rather cryptic. The alert read: “On Aging Gracelessly. A blog post about Brandilyn Collins.” !! I thought, oh man, this one’s gonna be a doozy. Never know what someone’s gonna write about you. Talk about a double whammy. Not only am I aging, I’m apparently doing it BADLY. But here you ended up being so kind. :] Still laughing over what could have been …


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