Something extraordinary happened to me today.

For the first time in my life, I went to look something up in the library catalogue at my university (it was a pretty general search - "Contemporary British Drama") and the first item that came up was my own name.

What the ...?, I thought, before being suffused with delight.

The oddest thing was this: this "other I" had two entries under her name, while I have only ever published one thing.  Odd.  My alter ego apparently has a publishing life twice as active as my own.  Either that or I have been publishing articles in my sleep.

For a moment I felt like the hero of Gogol's "The Nose," who is deeply unsettled when he awakes one morning to find that he no longer has a crucial part of his face, and even more unnerved when he sees his own nose wandering down the street later that day.  But all of this pales in comparison to his feelings of unease when he looks at the Nose's uniform and realizes that his own nose holds a higher rank than he does.

Or perhaps I felt like David Soyer, the original cellist for the Guarneri Quartet, as he did in a story told by one of the quartet's violinists, Arnie Steinhardt, in his book Indivisible by Four.  When cellists tour, they often pay for an extra airplane seat to hold their human-proportioned instrument safely.  Soyer did what a number of other cellists apparently do, which is arrange for his cello to be issued with its own frequent flyer number.  Imagine his surprise when he receives the statements one fine week, and finds that his cello has more frequent flyer miles than he himself does.  What has his cello been up to?  Has it been flying through the skies without him?

But, as it turned out, my catalogue doppelganger was not doppeling my output: the library simply has two different databases that carry my article.  That's a relief.

Although it would be nice if I would produce some research while I slept.

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