Ah, the Ego... a troublemaker since well before Freud ever decided to label him, or her, or it. One day when I was in need of a boost to my ego I chose to take a look at all the sites where my story “The Fountain Pen” is available. Such a lovely way to boost flagging spirits on a gloomy Seattle day - even if it wasn't raining for a change.
I was happily clicking along, my spirits rising with every new page-view, though I’m not entirely sure what the Japanese site was trying to tell me when I entered my story title in, what I sincerely hoped, was the search box. And then it happened... I went to the Dutch site bol.com, by then lulled into a falsely inflated sense of self-importance, and entered the name of my story.
A spinning beach ball of only few seconds in which I felt a slight twinge in the pit of my stomach, thoughts of ‘what if they didn’t carry it after all?’ trying to claw their way up my ego balloon. And then, glory of glories... there it was. My story. A warm glow was about to wash over me when it changed to a distinctly cold shower.
The reason for the sharp intake of breath, the abrupt sitting up in my chair and the nearly spilling of hot tea was the fact that the story had been attributed to a different author!
Oh sure, they got the last name right, in The Netherlands they can manage Hooghiemstra, but I got lumped in with another author with my last name! Suddenly my story had been written by Erna Hooghiemstra. I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but she did not write my story.
Once the first shock and outrage had worn off, I sat back and laughed. Served me right for seeking such cheap ego gratification when I should have been writing and submitting books and stories.
A quick set of emails back and forth to the Dutch site and a few weeks later, it’s all fixed. Phew.