I had heard the Hottest Writing Group would be in Seattle. ”Suzy Vitello & Friends / Adult Bedtime Stories” at Elliot Bay Book Company. Guests were invited to arrive in PJs with a blanket (and get a box of chocolates). I don’t go “in costume”, but I dress up and I had already picked out the slinky blue lace nightie my friends had brought back with them from Paris for my bridal shower (that was 14 years ago), and decided to pair it with fishnets. No flannel or fleece for me, I don’t care that I live in the Pacific Northwest, I prefer to overdress for each and every occasion I can. Lipstick required. Rhinestones too. Fake eyelashes if I have time to apply.
I was nervous. Nervous because the last time I was excited to see an author speak, it was devastating. I should have guessed when the location was a church, but I was ill prepared with certain expectations. I should have realized she would have spent the entire session talking about Jesus. I didn’t pay to see a woman talk about Jesus. His name was mentioned so many times, I was sweating. Where was the discussion about WRITING? Or even Spirituality? Instead it was religion, religion, religion.
Not that I was expecting anything of that sort on this night, but hey, you never, ever know. And Chuck Palahniuk was supposed to be there.
We arrived an hour before, and stood in line. Chuck Palahniuk handed out beach balls and glow sticks. “Make sure they are firm,” he said. “They work better that way.” Many things do I suppose. Once inflated, two glow sticks get inserted into the ball.
The place was packed. People were still blowing up beach balls. And then it started.
I wish you could have been there. It was, hands down, the most awesome author event I’ve been to. Not that I haven’t seen awesome authors, it was just so fun, inspiring, deliciously eclectic. I haven’t heard so many F-Bombs dropped since living in Brooklyn. It was so creative and alive, and so welcome from a Brooklynite now living in Seattle. Everyone on stage was in their PJs, and everyone had something sparkly on.
And, the work, well, I added each to my list of authors to read. Except for Chuck, he’s been on the list since 1996.
And then I finished The Moment Before today. I started it yesterday, and I couldn’t get anything done today until I finished it. I was in the tub, and the water had to get cold before I could get out, and I still wasn’t finished. My kiddo wanted lunch, but I told her to make her own sandwich, I had a book to finish.
Brady and Sabine are sisters and Sabine died in a cheerleading accident. Life is not what it seems, and as a teenager, that can be a harsh reality, especially for Brady, who was not a cheerleader, or popular, and now has to deal with the death of her popular sister, her sister’s friends, and her parents, and ugh, highschool. (But she had some awesome teachers.) I guess when people aren’t around to protect their secrets, discovering them or realizing what they are can be sad and upsetting, even devastating.
It’s times like these, when you are at the age that you turn into an adult, and the secrets those older than you have been keeping, become part of your reality, throwing you into the lake to learn how to float, to swim.
I love Brady, I love her green hair, her art, her ability to know that she should skip school and just be. I love her voice, her relationship with Sabine and her grandparents. I love her honesty. I love Sabine too, and I felt for them both. I felt as though these characters had a lot of depth, unfolding with each chapter and truth.
I know the characters on these pages, I went to high school, college, I have even worked with them. Struggling with death and fitting in, isn’t prone to just high school, it just seems that’s where most of us encounter it first. And it can go so many ways. Like the Dad who can’t deal and strikes out. The mom who steps in to control everything that’s out of control. The friend who has more than you who wants you to be happy, with her. The other friend who helps you discover the truth, and brings you donuts.
It’s been 4 hours since I finished the book, I’m still carrying it around with me, looking up passages that haven’t left me yet. I’ll recommend this book, but it will be a while before I can lend out my copy.
Thanks Suzy Vitello, I want to read more.