Girls Write Out
Friday, April 05, 2013

We have a dear friend who wanted to write a novel about a character with face blindness. She thought it would be a great suspense novel. Unfortunately, the editor she communicated with was not as well-versed in the ailments of the day as we novelists typically are, and she rejected the idea. So I'm here to tell my readers everywhere (all three of you) that faceblindness is alive and well right here in Southwest Missouri. See this guy? He's face blind even when his eyes are open.

We were watching television last night. Eureka, I believe it was. One of the characters, a tough deputy sheriff named Jo, got out of uniform and into a nice black dress and let her hair down. Not only was this NOT the first time last night that we'd seen her out of uniform, but her face was right there, dark brown eyes and all! Mel said, "Sweetheart, is this a new character? Where'd she come from? What kind of writing is this?"

I said, "Honey, this is Jo. You know Jo. She pulled a gun on the sheriff in the last episode."

"Naw, that can't be her. This woman's got dark skin, dark hair. What do you think she is, Native American?"

"Mel, you know who Jo is! She's been in the show since the beginning, she's just not wearing her uniform. She has her hair down."

"I don't believe it! It can't be her."

"Just because she isn't wearing that tight bun doesn't mean she's a different person, honey. That's Jo. Trust me. I know."

He gave me a suspicious look, as if I might be trying to pull a trick on him.


Mel has face blindness. It does make things difficult when he lives in a small town and everyone expects him to know them if he's seen them in the clinic. That can get dicey. And as for church? Mel shakes hands with everyone, calls everyone the wrong name. We've gone to church, and often ended up in the same Sunday school class with an optometrist Mel has referred patients to for nearly twenty years. But Mel doesn't even know Greg when he walks into the classroom.

I can do you one better. A couple of years ago (yes, I know I've told you this, but it definitely bears repeating) I got my hair lightened and cut, and then went to a local restaurant to meet Mel for lunch. I was already seated when he arrived. I smiled and waited for him to walk back to me. He walked right past me to the back of the room, all the time, looking for his dark-haired darling. He had to be led to the right table by a server. THAT is how face blind he is. Our friend who wants to write about face blindness should just go ahead and write the book. I know there will be an editor wise enough to realize that there really is such a kind of person, and the affliction is real, and there could be some really scary scenes in a book like that. You should have seen how scared Mel was when he discovered I was his wife, sitting there all pretty with blond hair.

Yep, face blindness exists. My husband is living proof.

Hannah Alexander  
posted at 4:54 AM  
  Comments (7)
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At 8:40 AM, Blogger Sandie said...

When I first read "face blindness" I thought you would be talking about that condition where the face is actually obliterated in the view of the person looking. I don't know what that's called but I've heard about it. This, however, is I am sure frustrating, but I had to laugh at the restaurant story. Poor Mel. On the other hand, perhaps there is some advantage to his not recognizing you? *taps finger* I'm sure there must be. LOL

At 9:27 AM, Blogger SheilaG @ Plum Doodles said...

I can't imagine living with such a condition- I would feel so insecure not knowing if the people around me are friends or strangers.
There was a movie a couple of years ago that involved this condition, apparently not that great since it has poor reviews.

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Yeah, Sandie, if you can think of a good side of my own husband not recognizing me, let me know. LOL!

Sheila, thanks for telling me this. I'll let our friend know the movie didn't go over well, so maybe the editor was right. On the other hand, it might work better in a novel, where the lack of recognition could be described so much better than in a movie.

Mel and I work well together. I remember faces and Mel remembers names, so we work together.

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

And then there are those of us who, when we change our hairdos, look so different, people question our ID.

Yep. That's me. I have to tell them to look at the chin, the nose, the eyes ... and we're not talking hair color, either. It's weird. But rather hilarious. So tell Mel I sympathize. ;o)

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Mel does have that experience, too, Ane. When he's not wearing his scrubs and he actually does recognize a patient on the street, they'll inevitably say something like, "Hi, Dr. Hodde, I didn't recognize you with clothes on." It never fails to embarrass him, but at least now his beard covers his blush.

At 7:50 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

LOL, Cheryl! I love this post! My husband suffers from the same thing!

At 11:44 AM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

I knew he and Mel had a lot in common!


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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