Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 3: Stacy A. Nyikos--True or False?

Our Stacy A. Nyikos, debut author of middle-grade fantasy DRAGON WISHES,can really spin some tall tales. We love having her in class. Cause ya just never know what she'll come up with!

So...which of the following do you thing are true? And which are not?

Numero Uno: I’ve heard some crazy stories from author’s on the road, but the one I’m about to tell happened to me when I was on author tour for my picture book, DIZZY. It was the last day of a grueling two-week stint. I decided to take my girls–who had come along for the whirlwind ten city tour across the Midwest and down the Eastern seaboard–for a hike in the Shenandoah mountains on the last day of the tour. I’d lived nearby at one point in my life and often gone hiking in the mountains. Never saw anything scarier than the next bend in an endless uphill hike. On this particular occasion, however, nature decided to write her own little story with me as the main character. It all began when a water moccasin slithered into the water right next to my youngest daughter’s foot as she crossed a small stream. If I had known what was going on, I’d have called it foreshadowing. Instead, I called it nature. The next, building “incident” were leeches in the waterfall the girls played in. I kept thinking, when in nature expect to see nature. I wasn’t really ready for the black widow that wandered over our pass as we began to make our way back out of the park. But they were all just building to the actual climax – we ran into a black bear. And by ran into, I mean, we were close enough to touch it. We ran one and a half miles uphill out of the park, no stopping. I’ve never been so scared in my life.

Numero Dos: I spent my junior Spring Break re-stitching the linen wing on an old plane. Honest to Pete. Here’s how it happened. My grandfather is a pilot, my father is a pilot, three of my uncles are pilots, and my brother is a pilot. You probably won’t be shocked to learn that I can fly too. I’m not sure I’d have been allowed to leave the house without learning. It was more important than driving. Not only did I learn how to fly, I learned all things air and plane related, including how to rebuild a plane. My father was a crop duster part time. He came across an old linen plane in a barn up in Indiana where I grew up. I think something in his heart went out to that old, beaten up plan. When I was twelve years old, he bought it, and we spent most of my teen years rebuilding it. I learned how to stretch the fabric, apply it to the wings and body, and how to cover the frame so the material wouldn’t be ripped off by the wind either on take off and landing, or, god forbid, while flying through the air. The real test came, though, when we took off for the first time. Everything was going really well until we came up upon a flock of ducks. My dad tried to pull up and out of the flock, but one of the birds got confused and collided with the wing, tearing a huge hole in it. We made an emergency landing. As unbelievable as it sounds, the bird, a mallard, got away more unscathed than the plane. Not me. Or the wing. Which is why I spent Spring Break re-stitching it.

Numero Tres: I think I’ve had one of the most unusual visits to the White House. It all came about when I was on the drive out from Oklahoma to Virginia to start my PhD at the University of Virginia. On the way, I spent the night at a hotel in Tennessee. After a long day of driving, I decided get some exercise, so I headed over to the workout room. I had it all to myself except for one other guy. He was pretty nice. We talked off and on as we worked out. I caught about half of what he said because there was music playing. Before he left, he said I should come out and visit him in Washington, D.C., which is pretty close to the University of Virginia. I was in my mid-twenties and thought he was hitting on me, but I said sure. He left to get his business card. When he gave it to me, my jaw nearly hit the floor of the workout room. He was a secret service agent. I asked him what he was doing in Tennessee? He told me he was there on detail for the Vice President. Then, he repeated his offer. If I was ever in D.C., I should call him up and he’d take me on a backstairs tour of the White House. I did. It was shortly after Christmas, and I asked him, how many people I could bring along? As many as I wanted. This was, I have to admit, pre-911. I showed up with my aunt and uncle, my roommates from grad school, a friend from the navy, and another friend who was in the Marines. We didn’t get to see the president, but we did get to see the Oval Office, the Roosevelt Room, a bunch of other rooms, and the old Executive Offices. Afterwards, we took the secret service agent out to eat at a nearby restaurant where we scrounged our pennies together to pay for his meal. And that’s how I got to see the White House.

So, whaddya think, blogosphere friends? Are any of these true? Are they all true? Or what?

1 comment:

Barrie said...

Uh, none. I don't think any of them are true. Well,than again, maybe they're all true. I don't know. Tell me this weekend when I see you, Stacy!