Today I am so excited to participate in the blog tour for Poison by Bridget Zinn. Poison is Bridget’s debut, but she passed away before she could see her book on shelves and in readers’ hands. This tour is being organized by her husband in her memory, and over 100 bloggers and authors are participating. To see the full list of blogs on the tour, check out this post.
Now, I have not finished reading Poison yet (although I’ve started it!), but so far I can tell you that it’s a fresh and fun fantasy adventure. And there’s an enchanted piglet, which means it’s pretty much guaranteed to be worthwhile. I’ll put up a full review once I’ve finished.
But today, for the tour, we’re supposed to talk about firsts. Any first, within the realm of information suitable for the Internet (which, despite what one might deduce from watching Twitter or Tumblr or Facebook, is not EVERYTHING).
So. Because it is late and this is the only semi-interesting “first” story I can think of, you’re going to get the story of the first time I went water skiing. I shall call it:
The River Wild, But Without Kevin Bacon, Meryl Streep, or Rapids
When I was in high school, I had a small but awesome group of friends in my church youth group. And one of these friends had a dad who owned a boat. One beautiful summer day, he took a group of us out on the Schuylkill River (which is not known for its sparkling clarity, but whatever) to learn how to water ski.
His daughter went first, to demonstrate the proper technique. She was a year older than me and about a thousand times more coordinated. She made it look easy. She even dropped one ski and glided around on one leg for a while. Piece of cake, right?
When it was my turn, I jumped in the water, bobbing in my life jacket like a misshapen apple in a barrel, and slipped the skis on. And by “slipped,” I mean fought desperately for several minutes. The skis wanted to be on top of the water. My body did not. This was a problem. The boat circled lazily around me as I flopped and floundered like a dying fish, until finally I had the skis on my feet.
Then came the task of grabbing the rope. The boat circled again, and the rope slithered across the top of the water behind my back. I grabbed at it, but couldn’t seem to maneuver my ski-addled body close enough. So the boat came around again. And again. And again. I flailed and flushed and considered stripping off the life jacket and skis and calling it quits (never mind that I wasn’t sure if I could get them off after the amount of effort it took to get them on, and I would most likely drown trying).
But my stubborn nature took over, and I refused to give up before I’d even attempted the actual skiing part. So after half a dozen boat passes, I finally grabbed the handle at the end of the rope.
Then I was supposed to prop my feet up in front of me, birthing style, and grip the handle between my knees. In case you have never tried to do this while wearing a life jacket and large wooden planks strapped to your feet, while floating in a semi-viscous river and watched by a group of teenage friends who are all at least three levels cooler than you, this is not as easy as it sounds. Oh, also, the rope was attached to the boat, and the boat was still moving. Which means I’m attempting to do this while being dragged slowly down the river.
Not awesome, people. Not. Awesome.
Finally — finally — I was in position. “Ready?” my friend’s dad called, and I gave a thumbs-up like everything I had done was totally cool and not at all painfully awkward. The motor grumbled and the boat surged, and I lifted up out of the water — HUZZAH! — and then pitched forward and fell flat on my face. I was upright for maybe half a second. Maybe.
That’s no problem, my friends called. That’s totally normal. No one gets up the first time. So I tried again. More flailing, more near-drowning, more stubborn pride, more face-planting. This went on for upwards of an hour.
Finally, I dragged myself back onto the boat, all spaghetti-armed and pathetic, having never actually water skied during my turn to water ski.
Other friends took turns, to varying degrees of success. We took a break for lunch. I ate a sandwich that tasted like failure. “You know,” my friend’s dad said, “you should try again after lunch. Sometimes it just takes your subconscious a little while to process what went wrong. I’ll bet if you try again, you’ll be able to do it.”
Yes. Because if at first you fail miserably at a water sport, you should try it again immediately after eating. This sounds like excellent logic.
But even though I was sure I could never do it, I agreed to try again. Never mind that I was fairly certain my subconscious had been focused mostly on how to create a portal through the dock back to my bedroom at home, where I could hide forever until everyone forgot I had ever attempted this, and not on what went wrong water skiing. I was 100% certain I was about to fall on my face again, make a fool of myself, and possibly die.
But then something miraculous happened.
I did it.
I did it.
I pulled myself up out of the water…and I didn’t fall. I rode the wake behind the boat, the wind whipped through my hair, and I was water skiing.
And in that moment, I didn’t care about all the failures and embarrassments of the morning. I didn’t care that I snorted water up my nose. I didn’t care that the force of the water around my body as I was pulled out of the water did very uncomfortable things to the back of my bathing suit. And I didn’t care that my form was probably less water sprite and a little more hippo ballerina. I had done it. I had accomplished the thing I was sure I would never accomplish, and what’s more — I loved it.
After that, I didn’t go water skiing often, but when I did, getting up out of the water was never a problem. My brain had conquered whatever that mystical thing is that brains do, and had figured out a way around my glitch. And every time I went, I felt exhilarated, empowered, and proud. My family went to Aruba a couple years later and my brother and I went water skiing in the ocean. The guys on the boat were impressed that the waves didn’t trip us up.
The truth is, those waves couldn’t come close to competing with that first obstacle: the part of me that was sure I couldn’t do it, ever, no matter how hard I tried. Once I was able to overcome that, the Atlantic Ocean didn’t seem like such a big deal.
So, there’s my “first” story. What about you? Any big “firsts” in your life that you’d like to share?
And congratulations to Bridget, and her friends and family, on this momentous “first.”
Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend. But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.
Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?About Bridget Zinn
Bridget grew up in Wisconsin. She went to the county fair where she met the love of her life, Barrett Dowell. They got married right before she went in for exploratory surgery which revealed she had colon cancer. They christened that summer the “summer of love” and the two celebrated with several more weddings. Bridget continued to read and write until the day she died. Her last tweet was “Sunshine and a brand new book. Perfect.”
Bridget wanted to make people laugh and hoped readers would enjoy spending time with the characters she created. As a librarian/writer she loved books with strong young women with aspirations. She also felt teens needed more humorous reads. She really wanted to write a book with pockets of warmth and happiness and hoped that her readers’ copies would show the watermarks of many bath time reads.
Purchase your copy of Poison
Thank you for sharing your fabulous first time water skiing story – huzzah you did it. I also want to thank you for sharing Bridget’s book POISON with readers. Your help means so much to me and her family.