New year, new knees

Many years ago when I was traveling semi-regularly between DC and Charlottesville I’d drive past a huge junkyard barely hidden from the highway by a long fence – chain link with strips of green plastic woven through it. I probably would have forgotten about it except for the sign:


Gotta love Leon.

think4photop /

Next week I’m checking into the high-tech medical version of Leon’s – my local hospital – and having both my knees replaced with new parts. I guess my surgeon is the NON-walking person’s friend. I hope so, at least.

I’m psyched, nervous and eagerly looking down the road several months to the return of warm weather and some real walking.

I obviously haven’t been blogging much and my timeline for the JUST DESSERTS: Greed. Lust. Death. Tiramisu. sequel went off the rails with all this body parts stuff. I apologize for leaving Vince, Lizzie, Ernestine and the rest of the Moon Beach crew in the lurch, but they are still alive and kicking and the rest of their story will emerge before too long, I promise. Right now, Vince and Lizzie are having an – uh – adventure in a junkyard somewhere in the rust belt and I suspect Leon was the inspiration for that.

Cathryn Grant wrote a blog post about crows that reminded me of a creepy guy from my distant past. Pretty soon a story idea featuring Creepy Guy and his pet crow started percolating in my head. I can already feel the story expanding to embrace Smoker Man, a creepy guy from the present.

Smoker Man parks his silver sports car in the same spot at the state park marina every day. He leaves his window open about three inches with his cigarette hand dangling out, pulling it back in to inhale every 30 seconds. Sometimes he’ll get out and walk along the shoreline in a dark grey sweatshirt, hood always up. Top’s always up on the car, too, even when it’s nice out. He lights his next cigarette from the last. His eyes are definitely focused Somewhere Else. He’s the only person I’ve seen walking along the beach that I’ve been afraid to talk to, and you know I’ve met some characters.

I’m wondering what impact a couple of days of post-surgery narcotic buzz will have on the story of Creepy Guy and Smoker Man. I’m anxious to see how that will play out. More giant chickens, perhaps?

So I’m gonna be in the hospital and then rehab for a bit. I’ve packed Swamplandia, Death Comes to Pemberley and Boomerang in my suitcase and loaded my laptop with a bunch of books by indie authors. I bought ugly purple gym shorts for physical therapy and an awesome Dragon Lady shirt to scare away evil spirits. And, of course, I packed notebooks and pens for capturing whatever my Muse has to say.

I think I’m set for this new adventure. Catch y’all soon. In the meantime, enjoy this:

Still image: think4photop /

14 comments to New year, new knees

  • What a great video! You can’t do that with eBooks. 😉

    I hope all goes well, my thoughts are with as is the Muse. I can’t wait to see the results of that post-surgery narcotic buzz!

  • I know – I can’t imagine how long it took to put that video together!

    Thanks for the good wishes. Buried by Debt is at the top of my recuperation reading list. I’m in the middle of Unholy Child and liking Madison more and more with every tale! And hopefully I’ll get some good writing insights along with that buzz…

  • I wish you an uneventful surgery and a speedy recovery. 🙂

    I can only imagine what tales you’ll come home with. Creepy Man and Smoker Man sound intriguing.

    And that’s a great video! I always suspected something like that from books.

    • Thanks, Linda. At the start of the Joy of Books video (the still image that I’m looking at now) there’s a rack of Jonathan Franzen (I think) books and the covers from a distance remind me of Brevity. How exciting it will be when we go into bookstores and see racks of our friends’ books! I can’t wait…

  • The nice thing about being a writer is that you don’t use your knees to pick up your pen or hit the keys on your keyboard!! I pray all goes well for you as you get your new knees and I pray you will find inspiration to “dance with words” while your knees are awaiting their turn.


  • Wow,Shaddy! Dance with words is perfect for Ms. Natasha! Wishes for a speedy recovery, and hope you do get inspiration from the haze of chemistry.

    • The haze of chemistry….I’ll have to remember that. If I can remember anything, that is.

      Well, I know someone who had both knees replaced who’s an award-winning salsa dancer, so maybe there’s hope for me. (Of course, he was an award-winning salsa dancer BEFORE his new knees, so there’s that…)

  • I would follow your instincts on Smoker Guy. Mostly because I have a feeling your instincts are pretty spot on when it comes to people.

    I walked into a Target Starbucks once with a friend of mine and couldn’t take my eyes off a what looked like a homeless man sitting in the center table, with a pack of Marboro in front of him. What struck me funny was that he had such an expensive pack of cigarettes yet didn’t appear to have any money. He also wouldn’t stop looking at my friend. I watched him watch her and didn’t want to move, but she sat there writhing in discomfort begging me to leave. Anyway, I guess you had to be there to appreciate it.

    I hope your new knees are fabulous! I want to see pictures of your salsa dancing in 6 months, or at least walking on the beach.

  • Darksculptures

    I’m late to the party — what’s new.

    At this point you are probably already well settled into your new home of chemical induced fuzzy reality. Sometimes I think it’s the best real estate on the planet. Think of it! Where else can you live and watch the wallpaper dance in the shadows without wondering if there are roaches living under the paper and eating the glue?

    Anyway, late to the party or not, I still wish you the best and hope you have a speedy recovery.

  • […] before I went into the hospital, I wrote this blog post in which I told you what books I planned to read in rehab, and what I thought I might write and […]

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