All of the events in this post true are based on real-life events. Consider this a warning of an absurdly longer than usual post, and apologize for the delay as promised in an earlier post.
While yesterday I felt as thought I was literally driving sideways, combating 54 mph wind gusts that would also modify our glorious spring temperatures back to frigid (windchill of -9 degrees), this post is actually to give you a BOOK CLUB update and real life interpretation of the book.
Our March selection for book club was in fact: Driving Sideways by author Jess Riley. Let me provide you with some brief history. I first heard of Jess in a previous job when she was hired to work on a grant proposal. Months later I received a random email regarding her upcoming book which was in the process of being published. Hmm, the things you learn when you least expect them. I filed the thought somewhere deep in the crevices of my brain until a later date which happened to be in December of last year. Jess’ face started popping up in and around convenient places of my life. The reminder of her face kept intriguing me to buy her now released book. Coincidentally at our December book club meeting, a fellow book clubber noted that a local author would come to our book club if we read her book. Well, the only local author I know is Jess Riley…..and somehow I recalled her book Driving Sideways. (Want to see our stellar selction of reads for 2009?)
I finally got around to finding out what her book was about…and let’s just say she had me at “Road Trip.” While I ganderred over the synopsis of the book…oh here let me enlighten you…
Driving Sideways tells the story of Leigh Fielding, a twenty-eight year-old kidney transplant recipient who—six years, hundreds of dialysis sessions, and a million bad poems after being diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease—finally feels strong enough to pursue a few lofty goals she’s been mulling for years: find herself, her kidney donor’s family, and the mother that abandoned her over twenty years ago. And what better way to do just that than a solitary road trip across the country? Well, maybe not entirely solitary, because Leigh suspects she may have inherited more than just an organ from her deceased donor. It’s this sneaking suspicion that takes her trip down some unexpected detours—and the juvenile delinquent who blackmails Leigh into giving her a ride is only the beginning.
It didn’t take long to find myself submerged in the book, recollecting fond old college memories. The randomness and event filled sarcasm made me ponder the days of road trip bliss. My partner in crime may not have been a juvenile delinquent who bribed me for comradery, but rather my best friend (Meg’s for those who are familiar). And while I may not have sported a new kidney or kayak…we were fully equipped with a bobble-head-iguana to provide his keen sense of direction (Note: this was before the modern technology of GPS an maps apparently). The bobble-head-iguana may have been christened many names through the years, but began his navigational career known as “York.” We’d ask York if we should turn at this exit? If he jammed out with an up-and-down bobble of the head we followed his cue. Unlike little naive Leigh, I was not embraced by finding a gun en tow by my passenger; Rather a miniature sized Louisville Slugger bat, measuring all of 12 inches and 1/2 inch diameter. I was informed it was meant to “keep the elderly rapists away.” We continued on…ho-hum. Along the way we were graced with rancid smells of dead bodies…conveniently we covered our top lip and nose with the only thing we could find to offer a scent better than decaying human matter (or swampy landmass)…Lubriderm Lotion. Okay- are you picturing this, Lubriderm Lotion enmass covering the top lip of several college chics! It was a sight that sent our guts into curdled mass of laughter still leaving others to wonder WTF (that is What the Fu*k for the Text abbreviation illiterate)?Alas we reach our destination, and acquired some amazing artifacts of our existence. Only in Lawton, Oklahoma can you walk into a random bar across from our hotel and have them spend hours finding gifts to give you because they love the Packers (ie- tshirts, beads, a neon Miller-Lite bar sign). Our adventures may included a few signs to fellow-passers-by notifying them of eager blinker remaining equipped. And while didn’t have fortunate experience to exclaim Leigh’s notorious quote: “Go ahead fucker, make your day!” we were able to log a few other remarkable quotes: “I want to see some fucking Amish,” “(Gasp) That’s a real-live hitch-hiker, I’ve never seen a real-live hitch-hiker.” Sigh…such fond memories. As you can see this book was meant for me!
Perhaps you could sense my urgency to meet the real-life author….literally, I needed a diaper. I was so enthralled, to hear how many of the events in the book were true. She really did have a friend who sat down in a vitamin store all yoga-like, pull out her crystal pendent to determine which vitamins to buy. Not to mentioned she came equipped with angel juice to deter the evil spirits. Whoa! This was getting even better and better. The stories of not-so-celebrity author status and woes of publishing a book still kept me interested in the process. As the night digressed I realized it was time for me to make my way back through he foggy roads and attend to snuggly sweet nothings in my dreams.
On my 20 minute drive home, As I pondered the read, and the real-life-author-meeting-experience I realized it was the perfect twist of fate I needed. It would be time for me to return to my creative outlet which I once began several years ago. Much to my lack of motivation or belief in my writing abilities, I turned to blogging in recent years to fill the void. I had, however, started a manuscript several years ago. I thought perhaps it was time for me to return to the idea of writing a book. Or at least blogging!
Moments later my decision established in concrete, while I cruised passed a man doned in a hooded-sweatshirt aside the road with an outstretched arm and extended thumb. Gasp ” a real-life hitch-hiker-in Wisonsin.” The statement promted a speed-dial to Megs, who I’m sure was fast asleep in the comfort of her New York bed. Who knew I’d experience a rel-life-author encounter, and a real-life-Wisconsin-hitch-hiker all in one night. I guess it’s a sign!