For the second time in recent months, my name was slapped on something I didn’t write in our little synagogue newsletter, which is not owned by Hearst, yet it bothers me. The newsletter only goes to about 200 people and I would wager that few of them read it cover to cover. But the ones who do read it are probably puzzled as to why I, of all people, would write a haiku about “the G-word” (quoted from the published haiku), since I am a known atheist, who actually stood up in front of the congregation and read a piece that I DID write about not believing in god (small cap, spelled out) last year, at Yom Kippur services no less.
Only a few months ago my name was attached to a piece in the same newsletter written about a workshop that took place that I not only did not plan but did not even participate in. The woman who did do all the work for it, and did write the article, was not acknowledged at all. So I had people coming up to me and asking about the workshop, which was on a topic that frankly does not interest me.
What really irks me about all this silliness? I am a professional writer. I choose my words, content, and genres with care. For better or worse, I define myself as a writer. Writing is at the core of my identity. It is my gift. It is the work of my hands in this life. So when my name appears on material that I did not write (especially second-rate material), I cringe. Let me explain how it feels. If you saw the movie The Naked Gun then you will recall a hilarious scene in which Leslie Nielsen sneaks his way onto the baseball field by kidnapping the opera singer who was supposed to sing the National Anthem. The opera singer, bound and gagged, is seen watching Nielsen sing, and butcher, the National Anthem in his stead on national TV. While Nielsen is screeching the bombs bursting in air, the opera singer’s name appears at the bottom of the TV screen, identifying him as the singer for all the world. I am that bound and gagged opera singer.