"Why not be oneself? That is the whole secret of a successful appearance. If one is a greyhound, why try to look like a Pekingese?" Dame Edith Sitwell
ROBERTA: Those of you who know me would probably describe me as a small person, right? Maybe, if you were being brutally honest, you'd even say short. But I don't feel small. A couple of years ago, I joined the board of directors at our golf club and eventually assumed the position of green department chair, which made me responsible for supervising the golf course superintendent. He and I were a funny contrast in many ways, but the most striking might have been physical. He's 6'6 and I'm 5'2 (just about.) At a golf tournament for board members and superintendents, this photo was taken. Suddenly I had to face facts in a new way. Yes, Mike is tall. But I'm also short. This might explain why my back has started to bother me. (Chairs and couches are not built for small people, and therefore our feet don't sit flat on the floor, which causes our backs to arch unnaturally.) it also explains why I can't see over people at the movies! Duh...
So tell all Jungle Red: have you had the odd experience of suddenly recognizing something about yourself (can be physical, can be internal) that others knew all along?
HANK: Roberta, you're funny. Remember that nursery rhyme that says: I'm just as big for me, as you are big for you? Here's a picture of me at Bouchercon with authors Andrew Grant and Gayle Lynds. Now, you'd call me tallish, right? I'm 5'8", and I have on very very high boots. And look at this. Who's the small one?
Someone asked me once if I was a organization freak. Of course not, I said. Not even close. My husband started laughing. What? I said. I was truly perplexed. He pointed out that the clothes in my closet are hanging by color. Black jackets on the top row. Colored jackets on the bottom--white, then gray, then navy, then red, you get the idea. And that on the day before the cleaning people come, I clean up. And then, after they leave, I insist they've moved all the furniture out of place. Like, half an inch.
JAN: Oh Roberta, this is a topic I could go on and on about. I'm almost 5'10 and when other kids were worrying about getting weighed in middle school, I was getting nauseous about having to be measured. When they told us not to smoke cigarettes because it would stunt our growth, I bought my first pack. (At age 13) Yes, and I'm happy to report that it worked! My brothers were 6'6", 6'4" and 6'2".
Once, when I was living in Aix-en-Provence, I was walking home early one Sunday morning, up a hill, just as a French family of four was walking down the hill to church. I had maybe 2-inch high boots on. The combination of the heels and the hill made me tower even more over them. I happened to turn back and saw that the whole family had stopped, turned, to stare at me and my height in absolute awe. One of the asked, "Vous etes Allemande?" which means, "You are German?" Clearly, they thought I was a female Attila the Hun. (Jan says the caption to the photo at the right is: "Here's Jan with her childhood friend Eva, who got to be petite (far right), and Eva's friend Michelle, who got to be even more petite. See how freaking tall Jan is?"
RO: First off, they DO move all of the furniture half an inch. Not enough to notice until you walk into something and get a nice little black-and-blue mark because your sense memory tells you the chair was where it was the day before. Question...if we don't move everything back will THEY do it the following week, or will all of our furniture eventually be moved out the front door?
I caught a glimpse of Roberta walking next to Harlan Coben at Crimebake this past weekend and ..yup, darlin' you are a tad on the short side! Me? I have no idea. Half the time I walk through life feeling invisible..I'm constantly surprised - and flattered - when someone remembers me. Other than that, people have told me that I walk fast. I don't really think about it unless I'm walking behind someone and start to think "what is wrong with this person?!"
HALLIE: Anyone remember the Dr.Seuss book about finding the right hat? One after the other, the guy tries them on... Too beady, too bumpy, too leafy, too lumpy, too twisty, twirly, too wrinkly, too curly. For me, when I was a kid I thought I was too skinny, too pimply, too bossy, too surly. I've turned out to be none of the above...well, maybe I did get a large helping of the Lucy Van Pelt gene. But doens't everyone WANT to take orders from me??
ROBERTA: Yes, Hallie, we do! But Hank, if Hallie or I were in that picture, you'd only see us from the waist up! And since Ro did have to mention Harlan Coben (who was our fabulous and gracious guest of honor at the New England Crime Bake this year), here's a photo that captures the long and the short of it. That's Katherine Hall Page in the middle--she's even smaller than I am. But I bet she doesn't know it!
Okay, time for you Jungle Red Readers to tell about yourselves! And don't forget to stop back on Wednesday, when we'll host debut author Jeri Westerson, and then on Thursday when we'll host mystery pro Kate Flora, and on Friday...when anything can happen....