Who Am I Anyway?

google alerts

When my first book was published in 2001, I set up a bunch of Google Alerts. Anyone can set up alerts for anything they want … to keep up on all the news about their favorite band, or any time someone posts a recipe that has apples in it, or to study how many times people use the word “bamboozle” online. Literally, anything you want to keep abreast of.

I have alerts set to topics I continually research, like synesthesia. I get a daily digest from Google with a snippet of the article and a link to it, so I can read and decide if it’s the information I’m after.

For my books, I have alerts set on my name, my titles, and some text from each book so I can see whenever one of them is pirated. (Before you ask, all the time, that’s when.) Mainly, though, I want to know whenever someone posts a review, or publishes an interview I did, or gives a shout-out to me or any of my books.

Seems fairly simple, eh?

And it is, until you realize how many Becky Clarks there are in the world. As you can imagine, my Becky Clark alerts are almost always a disappointment. For a while I got a ton about a very successful realtor named Becky Clark who must have retired. Although, surely I would have heard—several times— about her retirement party.

In the spring, I’m inundated with articles about Becky Clark, a very winning softball coach.

But I get so many who aren’t me, I begin to question who I really am.

Here are a few recent ones.

Akron Beacon Journal — Becky Clark, casualty assistance officer, has arranged for the scooter to be restored….

I do have a deep, abiding love for scooters, but I don’t think this is me.

White Mountain Independent — … generous by nature, has a contagious laugh and has secured $8,600 in grants and funding for SLJH students,” says SLJH Principal Becky Clark.

If I received $8,600 in grants and funding, I would absolutely invite those junior high students to watch while someone remodels my kitchen. That’s a whole lotta learning right there.

Fenton Tri County Times — The team won five Metro titles with Becky Clark (long jump) winning ….

This one is legit. Why, just yesterday I jumped all the way off a curb! And I stuck the landing.

Athens NEWS — After a successful debut at last year’s event, Becky Clark, owner of Pork and Pickles in Athens….

I wasn’t sure if they were talking about me or not, but I checked my freezer and am, alas, not an owner of pork. I am, however, the proud owner of pickles, if relish counts.

Juneau Empire — Thanks to Becky Clark for serving as video tech ….

Okay, this one just makes me laugh. Unless “video tech” means I can dial up The Netflix.

Christian Today — Becky Clark, the Church of England’s Director of Churches and Cathedrals, said, “Creating positive and lasting change for people and communities is….

Doesn’t it seem that the Church of England’s Director of Churches and Cathedrals should at least be a Rebecca? Or maybe Rebecca Pemberton-Coggin Fitz-Lloyd Clarkingham of Sussex?

Paducah Sun — Co-owned by mother-daughter duo Becky Clark and Sarah Farris, the creative space is billed as a “walk-in, mess-making, fun art studio” for folks of all ages ….

I check five out of six of these boxes: I have a daughter. I walk. I make messes. I enjoy fun. And I possess age. But my daughter’s name is Prunella Pemberton-Coggin Fitz-Lloyd Clarkingham of Sussex.

Idyllwild Town Crier — … I appreciate you, Becky Clark, for all the fantastic hard work you keep doing. I wish you great ….

Seems like me, what with all the fantastic, hard work I keep reminding people I do, but no.

Next City — Becky Clark is one of just a few hundred female butchers in the United States. “My dad hunts, so I grew up butchering deer with him,” she says.

Nope. I can’t even find any pork in the freezer.

UI The Daily Iowan — Becky Clark, 52, was charged with first-offense OWI….

I’m often offensive, but not like that.

ECM Publishers — Rush City resident Becky Clark told the council she moved to Rush City in October and wanted to know the process to have a few chickens. She said….

This is obviously not me because I know the process:

  1. Drive to grocery store
  2. Get a few chickens
  3. Have them

Lexington Dispatch — What’s new at the Lexington Library? “Foul Play on Words” by Becky Clark

And this one can’t be—hey, wait!


Readers, do you have a common name? Does it ever cause trouble for you? Do you use Google Alerts? Do you find it helpful? Do you think I should try to sneak in and be the Church of England’s Director of Churches and Cathedrals? Or a butcher?



28 thoughts on “Who Am I Anyway?

  1. Dear Becky,

    What a great and fun list; you really made me smile. Nope, even though I worked in an IT department, your skills are beyond mine. And, I’m not sure I want to know if there’s anything listed about me in the wide wide world! Ruth

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Aw, thanks, Ruth. I know what you mean about not wanting to know. I remember when Facebook was brand-new I posted a photo of me helping a college pal with his toga for a fraternity party. Horrified, he said, “Good god, woman! don’t you know this is the INTERNET??” It was my first inkling that I would skip happily down the path of oversharing!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. There’s a reason I use my (real) middle initial “Q” in my author name, folks. Google Lisa Matthews (with 2 “t”s) and you’ll see that she’s listed as an actress: “5’9”, busty, blonde and shapely.” She was also Playmate Of the Year in 1993. Google alerts? No thanks. What’s the point, sigh.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Yay to the shout out from the Lexington Library! Fun post, Becky! (I think you should at least consider having a few chickens for Nala to guard!)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re absolutely right about Nala and chickens. When she lived in Guam, she had no fence and free-range chickens everywhere. I’m sure they were each other’s playthings.


  4. Mark Baker. You can understand why I NEVER set up google alerts for myself. And it’s also why I came up with Carstairs as an internet user name (stolen shamelessly from the Mrs. Pollifax series). After just a couple years on the internet in the 90’s, I was already having trouble coming up with user names that were combinations of my name. And there’s no way I would have remembered which ones I was using where.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Yes, you feel my pain, Mark! At least the titles of my books are unique enough that those are always valid. I mean, how often do people use BANANA BAMBOOZLE, MARSHMALLOW MAYHEM, FICTION CAN BE MURDER, or FOUL PLAY ON WORDS in a sentence that doesn’t involve my book? Not many. I can attest. My LAZY LOW CAL COOKBOOK, on the other hand, gets hits whenever anyone talks about being lazy in the kitchen. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Laugh out loud funny, Becky. Thanks so much! I set up a Google alert for my debut cozy, “A Literal Mess.” Alas, the only alerts I get tend to involve news reports of an accident that involved a big spill or some other messy event. Close, but no cigar!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. You’re welcome, JC! Always happy to give someone a grin. Sometimes I look at titles of other books and think, “oooh, they’re gonna get so many wrong alerts!” Hank Phillippi Ryan’s TRUST ME or Lori Rader-Day’s UNDER A DARK SKY, for instance.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This was great! I giggled through the entire read! And it reminded me of my old google email account which I have deactivated since I received so many unsavory emails to male “CTolberts”. The women who share my name seem to be fine upstanding citizens. But the men?? Some of them at least are up to no good!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thanks, Cynthia! I was looking at “ctolberts” to find the hidden word inside, which is where I thought you were going with your comment. It reminded me how much I laugh when I see the website for an art studio near me that refuses to capitalize the words in their name …. “schoolofart.”

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ha ha! This is hilarious, Becky!! I vote that you should act as the Church of England’s Director of Churches and Cathedrals–then post about it on Facebook.

    I’ve never set a Google alert for myself. Truth be told, I didn’t know I could! When my last name was Melkonian, name mix-ups were never a problem. Now–boy are they ever. (It’s actually what I planned to post about later this month! We’re on a wavelength!!)

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Well, if you ever DO decide to open a franchise location of Pork and Pickles, I promise I will come!

    My name’s pretty rare (and generally misspelled and mispronounced, even though ‘Karst’ is about as phonetic as you can get), so you have to go to page five of a Google search for find anyone with that name but me. (There are two on that page, a yoga instructor and a photographer, so we Leslie Karsts are a fun bunch!)

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You made me curious, Leslie, so I googled myself. It’s mostly me on the first page, but page 2 has a bunch of us. The “Has Becky Clark Been Arrested” caught my eye, though.

      How can someone mispronounce Karst??

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Lololol, Becky! I once set up a Google alert for myself but alas, I share a name with a WSJ reporter, which counts for a lot of frustrating mixups in my life. Interestingly, Byron is my professional name. It was my dad’s middle name. Seideman is my birth name and when I wrote for Redbook, there was an editor named Ellen Seideman! I’m doomed to have literary name dopplegangers.

    BTW, when my second book came out, I set up a Google alert for “Body on the Bayou.” That was in 2016. I never disabled the Alert (not sure how to), so to this day, I can tell you where any body in America has been found on or near a bayou.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. LOL! Yeah, you gotta choose those alerts carefully or else you might need to Lysol out your brain!

      That’s so weird … a WSJ reporter and a Redbook editor when neither one of those names is particularly common! I’m happy to share Becky Clark, though, if you want to join this party.

      Liked by 2 people

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