Me/Not Me

Discovering my name on a newly-published story at The Hollywood Reporter the other day was a trip, as someone who hasn’t written for the site in a more than a couple of years at this point. It was attached to an obituary for John Romita Snr., one that I can remember writing in advance many years earlier; still, it’s an odd thing to see yourself suddenly out of context like that.

(It was written, darkly, just after the death of Stan Lee in 2018; we’d had a meeting that was, essentially, “Which other comic creator is old and is likely to die soon? We should write obituaries for them just in case.” Even then, Romita was 88 years old. He was, of course, on the list.)

The THR story wasn’t the first time that I’d discovered my name on “new” stories without any warning, mind you; Newsarama as-was — I think the site is officially called Games Radar now — used to do that kind of thing as a matter of course: taking old stories and updating them and republishing them as new, with the name of the original author attached. Going by their business practice, which I should emphasize I knew about ahead of time so this wasn’t a surprise, I was working for them years and years after I’d actually stopped. “New” stories would appear while I’d moved on to multiple other sites.

It’s a strange feeling, this particular lack of autonomy. It’s one thing to search for background material on a story and find something you’d written and utterly forgotten about years ago — that happens all the time, which only makes sense considering how long I’ve been doing this, and I’ve gotten used to it — but to find things that appear to be written contemporaneously, referencing events that have only just happened, that claim to be mine and I didn’t do it? That’s a whole different level of strangeness.

My writing will live on, on the internet, after me. But sometimes, it’ll be born on the internet without me, as well. It’s a disorienting feeling, at times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.