Where have I been?
Around the world, in ninety days.
A research trip for a screenplay that was supposed to be five weeks long where I traveled to Australia and Indonesia turned into so much more. Thanks for your patience while I was away. I’m in the process of understanding all the changes that I’ve been going through and putting words to the experience. Surprisingly I’ve had no jet lag when I returned nearly three weeks ago and am instead working very hard on the screenplay and some film documentaries too. There’s so much to process. The trip was life affirming as well as life changing. You’ve been great supporters of my work and I’m thrilled to have you on this journey with me. One of the places I least expected to go was Mt. Everest, and as fate would have it, while I was there the worst disaster in the history of the storied mountain unfolded. An avalanche took the lives of 16 sherpas. They were family members and friends of the sherpas who trekked with me on the Everest trail. Sometimes stories come to you. This was perhaps the biggest story I’d ever been caught up in and it influenced my entire experience in Nepal, which started off as a humanitarian trip to provide dental care to “yakland” kids (children who live above 10,000 feet) some who are orphaned (due to the ten year civil war there) and some victims of human trafficking. This is but a small a window into one of the unexpected, but wonderful stops on my journey.
I haven’t updated my about page, because I really like the fact that I had written there that one of my dreams was to travel to Indonesia. And it’s so nice when dreams come true. I don’t think I’ll update it with my new dreams yet. It’s nice to savor and celebrate moments like this. *pops the cork off the champagne bottle* *pours you a glass* Now about that stand up comedy routine…
This week for Fun Friday the YA Storytellers are dishing embarrassing moments. There are sooooo many to choose from for me. But the one that just cracks me up is the one that happened to me in Houston. I hadn’t flown very far, it was only a four hour flight. So I can’t blame this on jet leg or even exhaustion, I guess I could try and blame it on what I call travel haze. Overstimulation. Rushing. This thing and that thing on the mind. I was not quite where I needed to be CLEARLY.
See, I had to pee. Yeah. And so I did. Only, as I did, a very deep voice in the stall next to me said in a southern, very gentlemanly accent, “Ma’am, I believe you are in the wrong bathroom.” He must have seen my pink painted toes. You know those moments, the ones where you’re like, REALLY? It sort of hits me between the eyes and the center of my stomach at the same time and I alternate between wanting to laugh and disappear. I didn’t laugh. I remember that because I was so gobsmacked, as a good friend would say–it actually is the perfect word to describe how it felt for me. So I sort of doubled over on my half-naked self and swore silently. Then he added, “I’ll make sure no one else comes in while you are in here.” And my rescuer was a very wonderful man who asked me if I was okay. And I thought I was, but maybe deep down I really wasn’t. Anyway, looking into his deep dark eyes and seeing his white smile made whiter by his chestnut skin, I felt certain he was an angel watching out for me. A perfect stranger’s kindness is usually what meets my embarrassment every time. I guess fast friends are formed in the intimacy of being vulnerable, being human. And for every time I’ve wanted to disappear when I’ve been embarrassed, I’ve been given a measure of magic too.
Ginny, in Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale has an embarrassing moment when she realizes she’s falling for the local axe-murderer…at least that’s what her best friend Lizzy calls him. Of course this happens the day she’s planning to breakup with Bobby, her fiáncee. Here’s the excerpt:
Clyde placed his murdering hand on the doorknob and took his
eyes off me for the very first time. He walked out of the stock room
but something floated in the air behind him and whatever-it-was
caught in the door Lizzy held open. I bent down, and freed the
paper, but it was just an empty toilet paper roll. I tossed it into the
garbage but when it landed on a pile of folded Pampers packing
boxes, I saw what I hadn’t seen when I held it in my hand––ribbons
of blue words.
“What’s that?” Lizzy said pawing my hand.
“Nothing.” I rolled it over in my fingers trying to make sense of the
scribbling. But, it wasn’t scribbling. It was, poetry. Even had a title,
No one loves you like me. Dated the day before.
There’s a circle, a spiral I walk
with dear Ginny
and a wish we’d never part
as we lift over our barbed wire sea
Ginny. Me. Clyde signed his name so hard it indented the
“Let me see,” Lizzy said. But I stuffed the poem in my apron like a
used Kleenex. Like it wasn’t the most enchanting moment of my
life––that a man I’d never spoken to wrote a love poem about me.
And for the first time I didn’t believe the rumors about Clyde.
Lizzy unloaded another box of shampoo and I peeked at the next
The Devil’s rope around my heart
I wanted to know more about Clyde as desperately as I wanted
nothing to do with Bobby.
“Now, you girls get back to work,” Charlie said, all fake mad, his
forehead a sea of wrinkles, his tuffty eyebrows formed a V like a
Muppet. Tie Guy sighed, scribbling on his clipboard again.
“Anna knows where you are. Bobby’ll be here any minute,”
Lizzy whispered in my ear.
I rolled Clyde’s poetry in my fingers, trying to read every word.
“Let me tell Bobby.” Lizzy eyed the poem.
I shook my head, dropped the poem into my apron pocket and
grabbed Lizzy by the hand so we could catch up to Clyde. My cell
vibrated again. I searched up and down every aisle but Clyde had
vanished. The clocks on the new majestic shelves in aisle nine
weren’t running. I stared at them anyway.
“Why are you just standing there?” Lizzy asked.
Clyde walked past empty picture frames and table lamps.
He met me at the frozen clocks and leaned his mop against the
My cell vibrated again, and all I wanted to do was breathe in
Clyde’s big-sky, blue-eyed stare. My stomach sank knowing why.
My heart had Devil’s rope around it too. I held tight to Espy’s
“Lizzy Fairchild, to the register,” Charlie announced over the
Lizzy said, “Keep away from my best friend, Convict.” She threw
Clyde an axe-murdering gaze on her walk down the aisle. She
was a master at axe-murdering gazes.
I’d never really seen Clyde before. And right then he wasn’t just
one of the people on the edges of my life anymore, he was front
“Straddling the fence is the same as straddling the middle of the
road,” Clyde said, like he knew the ripening would seal our fates.
Like he’d been with me when my sleep went thin and I’d straddle
the open road. And there, in aisle nine, I fell for Clyde. It was
wrong. It was lousy timing. But it was real. My heart jack-hammered
and more than anything I wish I had the power to freeze time.
Thanks for stopping by. If you feel like sharing one of your embarrassing moments, feel free to comment and we can have a laugh together. Check out all the fun posts from the other YA Storytellers here. Have a wonderful weekend! *waves* from Indonesia.
Clyde placed his murdering hand on the doorknob and took his
NOTE: I’m thrilled to have Lisa Nowak guest post here on Laurasmagicday. She’s not only a dedicated writer but a lot of fun and a passionate gardener. I’m so happy to have gotten to know her and her fiction over years when my travels took me to the Pacific Northwest. I met an amazing group of authors there and we went on tour, click here to see pics of the fun we had on the “Rain boots required” book tour. I’m very happy to have Lisa talk about her creative process and her latest series. Take it away Lisa!
Almost a year and a half ago, while my husband and I were driving to a friend’s house, he told me about a story he’d read in the Portland Mercury. According to the article, fifty years from now much of the United States will be devastated by climate change. The Pacific Northwest will remain relatively unchanged in comparison, which will result in an influx of climate refugees.
“That sounds like a great set up for a dystopian YA novel,” I said. Within minutes, I had the basic premise outlined. The Pacific Northwest, disgruntled over the population boom, secedes from the United States to form its own country with a closed border. Wealthy Americans want to buy their way in, so poor people begin disappearing off the streets. Naturally, I needed a romantic aspect, but I wanted to give it a twist. I decided my protagonist would be a girl whose family had disappeared, and the love interest would be the boy whose family had displaced hers.
Over the coming weeks, the idea grew to include an existing political movement to form a bioregion called Cascadia, Portland’s major league soccer team and its rowdy band of fans, the Timbers Army, and a rock star-turned-activist who becomes the first president of the new nation. My husband, friends, and fellow writers supplied me with myriad excellent ideas and educated me about the subjects of history, politics, computer science, medicine, and soccer.
Several writers I know have been experimenting with serialized stories, and this idea seemed perfect for that venue. I envision it much like a season of a television series. Each short episode gives you part of the story, with the entire plot-line playing out over a nine-book “season.” I currently have the first three episodes published, (you can buy them individually, or as a box set) and the fourth will be released in early March. If you aren’t sure this is for you, fear not. You can try the first episode absolutely free at any of the retailers listed below.
What if the Pacific Northwest seceded from the United States? In 2063, it has.
The climate change that’s devastated all but the Northwest corner of the U.S. has been around since before Piper Hall was born. She doesn’t spend much time thinking about it, the secession that created Cascadia, or the closed border, erected to keep out climate refugees. All she wants is to get through high school and earn a medical degree so she can pull her family out of poverty. Piper’s sure her little brother’s stories about poor people vanishing are just rumors-until she comes home to an empty house. Losing her future, her family, and her freedom and forced into hiding, Piper has to find a way to get to the bottom of the disappearances. But the only one who can help might be the very boy whose family has displaced her own.
Life is short
too short to make excuses for yourself, or for others
do that thing you’ve always wanted to do
be sure to be there for those that you love
“Mike lived the lyrics of his song To Live, may we do the same:
To love my world,
To give myself,
To live and live and live…” – read more about Mike here.
His songs will live forever listen to them here.