There have been names thrown out over the years: Arrogant. Enigmatic. Freak. Media Whore. Self-indulgent. Vain. Narcissistic.

All names that suggest I’ve been spotted, seen and made note of. Words that the people closest to me find laughable and would say are totally off base. There is no owners manual for living with these words. I suppose it’s presumed that when these words come into play that you are immune to the effects of them. No self help books to give you perspective, no wisdom or advice for you.

In spite of hearing or reading these things about yourself it is expected that you will move forward through it all. For the most part you do.

I find myself caught in strange moments.

For lack of a less trite expression; moments of existential crisis.

My debut novel features a young protagonist who embarks on a journey to find himself through the exploration and emulation of the art he adores. His world and the experiences that shape him bring him along to one paragraph where he does something that I myself hate doing. This paragraph was added to the story in my final revision of the book. When I read it now I can’t even imagine how the novel even had a point without it.

Caleb Watson faces a challenge that I regularly avoid. The imaginary eighteen year old boy faces the toughest critic any of us ever knows and with genuine acknowledgment they see each other and decide to move forward.

I call it The Mirror Conspiracy.

There are at least a hundred reasons I usually don’t even make eye contact with myself when brushing my teeth, some too personal to get into here.

But, let’s just start with that list of words above.

Arrogant. Not in the least. I face almost everyday from waking until late at night feeling that I’m failing.

Enigmatic. I detest the overuse of this word. Go get a dictionary. I share and reveal a great deal in my writing, nothing mysterious going on there. To use enigmatic in even the most casual passing of reference is a gross misuse of the word.

Freak. Hmm. For the most part I’ve made my peace with this one. Perhaps we need to drop this one from use anyway.

Media Whore. I would like to at some point support myself full-time as a writer. This gig is done for free.

Self Indulgent. On this one I’ll just say that there has never really been an owners manual for being Lance Reynald. I’d prefer Self-Determined.

Vain. Seriously. I can’t stand mirrors. It just happens to be decent genetics and mildly obsessive traits that make the public form of this creature appear before you. Vanity isn’t involved at all.

Narcissistic. I write, thus I spend a lot of time with myself. Every character I write is a part of me, but it is also a part of you. Perhaps the narcissism seen is an act of collaboration.

The tour for Pop Salvation brought me face to face with those dreaded mirrors. I’d have to say that NYC was the only stop that didn’t include one. I was reunited with the greatest love of my life and surrounded by dear friends new and old. My every moment was filled with meeting booksellers, signing stock and getting myself through the first official reading at a Borders mega-store. I don’t think I ever really bothered to look in a mirror once in those twentysomeodd hours. Certainly there was a mirror in the bathroom of my hotel room, but I have no recollection of it.

The rest of the tour wasn’t so easy. Past that first day most of my time was alone. A series of media escorts, bookstores and hotel rooms.

My Seattle accommodations faced me with a curious nemesis. Alone in a city I’m not terribly familiar with, in a lovely suite my publisher kindly paid for I found this beast…

The lighted, magnifying vanity mirror.

After eating the complimentary chocolates and drinking the bottle of Merlot I found myself drawn to the thing like some kind of deranged moth. It was a cruel dance. Every last bit of self doubt crept up on me. Every flaw magnified. Finally, I clicked the light off and tried to crash in the gigantic bed nine floors above the city.

I tossed and turned all night. I’d never in my life felt more alone or more lost. Maybe it was the mirror, maybe the Merlot.

My next stop was Portland, the city that is now my home. A relaxed day without the burden of travel and the only mirror faced being the one I avoid getting a real good look at daily. I should have stopped to take a closer look. I seem to have developed what I guess we might call the Pop Salvation tour uniform, an outfit that I’m comfortable in. A simple ensemble that allows me the comfort of knowing that I look ok, thus freeing my mind to focus on the book and not myself. I broke from that for my Portland appearance, and though the turnout was awesome and the reading went well, I look at the photos overcome with a sense of dread.

Lesson learned; stick to the uniform.

The last city of the tour: San Francisco.

Once again traveling alone, needs attended by the industry standard of a media escort, a hotel room and a bookseller.

If one has even the faintest grasp of metaphysics and life coming full circle the next photo should come as no surprise at all. The Mirror Conspiracy in full horror upon entering my hotel room at The Prescott.

Yeah. Still a bit speechless on that one.

But San Francisco proved to be a great close to the tour. A more intimate event where I had the opportunity to sit and chat with a few readers. Back in the uniform and genuinely comfortable with myself.

I even got flowers.

And though there was an entire wall of mirror in the room, I actually managed to sleep. San Francisco is a lovely town.

Lovely, but not one I recommend visiting alone.


My humblest of thanks to everyone that came out to meet me on my tour. Getting the opportunity to meet and say hello to all of you was the best part of traveling and putting on the Lance Reynald uniform. Can’t wait to get out there with the next one and continue the great conversation we’ve gotten started.

All my best, from all my heart. xoxo.


Born in Texas, raised in Washington, D.C., and self-exiled to Colorado, the world-traveled collector of air miles LANCE REYNALD currently lives in Portland, Oregon, but keeps a bag packed near the door for the moment when wanderlust calls. He has an affinity for vanilla lattes, dirty martinis, the works of Faulkner, Kerouac, and Burroughs, the smell of imported cigarettes in fine woolens, the photography of Doisneau and Brassai, and what some regard as the worst of early 80s Brit Pop.

His first novel, Pop Salvation (Harper Perennial) is now available wherever books are sold.

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