October 12th, 2009

One year later

A year ago, it was a beautiful October Saturday. Teen and I went to the skateboard park early, so we could get there before any boys. [At least where we live, there are very few female skateboarders, and most of them tend to sit on their boards and watch their boyfriends.]

Afterward, I headed out for a run. One edge of the sidewalk had lifted up, and I caught my toe. I have never fallen so hard in my life. I cracked the bridge of nose and had deep scrapes from my forehead to my chin. My front two teeth hit the sidewalk, wavered, and decided to stay put.

I was very lucky the damage was cosmetic. Although it was hard going through the next month with two black eyes, numerous Band-aids, and scabs. People either stared or made a point of looking away.

This photo was taken by Teen two days after the accident. Teen's BFF struck a cinematic pose in the background.

A year later, I have three small scars on the bridge of my nose that you can only see if I raise my eyebrows. And there's still a part of my forehead that is flatter than the rest.

But you would have to be me to see those things.

I still try not to think of the feeling I had when I was falling. But I might give it to a character someday.

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In which Sherman Alexie and I are played by poor facsimiles of ourselves

[photo credit: Jacquelyn Mitchard]

Okay, it's a blurry photo. [Full disclosure: and no matter what the photo seems to reveal, I do not have a tiny second head sprouting out of my right shoulder.] But hey, it was taken by Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of the Oprah Pick The Deep End of the Ocean . She was the last person to touch my phone! I'm never going to wash it again.

Wordstock was glorious. Readers and writers. It was my people! Sprawled on the carpet outside the exhibition hall, reading books! Turning out by the dozens or sometimes the hundreds to listen to authors talk and to ask questions. [Full disclosure: Sometimes really, really crazy questions. Like one woman said to James Ellroy, "I am a psychic and talk to the spirits daily. And you need to know that the Black Dahlia is really, really pissed." I did not hear his reply, sadly.]

For me, some of the highlights were
- Meeting and talking with Dan Chaon and Michelle Huneven and then hearing them read. I already had planned on buying Await Your Reply, but when I heard Michelle Huneven read the first few pages of Blame, I had to buy it, too.

- Realizing that even big-name authors are big readers too. At Dan's and Michelle's reading, Joyce Maynard was in attendance. She asked several good questions that made it clear she was familiar with their work.

- And this was the coolest - Katherine Dunn - who wrote Geek Lovel, told me she had long been an admirer of my work. Now, true, she could have just meant my newspaper reviews, but I seriously felt that if I had keeled over right then, I would have died happy.

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