In some scenarios I am handing my 16-year-old self a list of bullet points. I make a lot of lists, you know. I like to arrange my thoughts in columns. Dashes waving like tails. And this list I pass hand-to-hand to the befuddled long-haired Self with bad clothes and a very large forehead is one enumerating the next decade of my life. These are the things you will do. From me to me. A gift. Enjoy! Here is the next ten years named and numbered, built on the page, sturdy architecture.
Self will look at Self. And the 16-year-old me will be wide-eyed. Marbles in her head. Stupefied. Baffled. Flabbergasted. Horrified? Electrified. 16 will let her jaw drop open - we will really do these things? 16 will look at 26. She won’t know if 26 is looking back. I’ll be wearing my sunglasses. She can only see two shadowed reflections of her own face – two wide foreheads. And she will know in her heart she is a mad woman.
26 will turn and leave and drive her Truck back to the future. 16 will keep the list forever. Or burn it. 16 may actually just stand in the same spot through wind, rain, years and snow until gravity releases her, paper list of life eventually fusing with her skin over time.
26 will wait by the river in the future until 36 arrives.
Life is good drama. List all the strange things you’ve done and you sound certifiable. Bonkers. Bullet points of crazy condensed.
Drama should unfold, though, really. Blossom. Cascade off the page. 26 should hand 16 a book of short stories instead. 26 should hand 16 a book and say to her: “Nothing I write is fiction. Everything I do is contrived.” It would be a good scene.
Here’s another scene that can deliver the drama:
Meanwhile, at Carmichael’s …
Starting at 7pm tonight the fine folks at the Frankfort Avenue branch will welcome the teen novelistas Katie McGarry and Bethany Griffin as the pair serves up signatures and snippets of their newest releases, Dare You To and Dance of the Red Death.
Both Kentucky ladies, McGarry and Griffin are also both adding to chapters to their respective young adult sagas. McGarry, author of 2012’s Pushing the Limits, now introduces Dare You Two, a story of teen lovers – shadowy outcast, Beth and golden-boy, Ryan – as they struggle to navigate their opposing worlds as well as the white-cap rapids of desire and love. Griffin will offer readers Dance of the Red Death, sequel to Masque of the Red Death, and bring the Poe-inspired tragic tale of Araby Worth to its dramatic end. Copies of the books are available in hardcover for $17.99.
And these are whole books. Not lists. No dashes. No Corinthian columns of words stacked on a page. And no 16-year-old girls left to grow roots in the Earth – startled by the ten years of drama waiting if she starts walking. She’s holding the proof right there in her hand. Bullet-pointed, shot out of a gun – now in her hand – a piece of paper rustling with the wind. A leaf on the tree she becomes in that spot. And 26 is still down by the river waiting and wearing her sunglasses.
Carmichael’s Bookstore has two area locations: 1295 Bardstown Road and 2720 Frankfort Avenue. For more information, visit the event page  or call the Frankfort Avenue store at (502) 896-6950.
Image: Courtesy of Carmichael’s Bookstore website www.carmichaelsbookstore.com