Sunday, January 22, 2012

Broken Shoulders and Marion Zimmer Bradley

As a teen, I wasn’t much of a reader of novels.  I preferred to keep my head in the real books and spent many hours reading encyclopedias instead of fiction.  I know this is not normal, but it was what I loved to do and at the time the only way to sate my unrelenting curiosity of the world around me.  But, that all changed in 1992 due to an unfortuitous event and a chance meeting that change my life forever.

It was a hot spring day and I had just arrived at the barracks in Cecil Field.  Being that it was Friday and I didn’t have to report to class until Monday, I decided to step outside of my room and take a look around.  I was new there, having just moved from Guam, and I didn’t know anyone (kind of the norm in the military).  My room was on the second floor, so I looked out over the rail to see if anything was going on at the small pavilion that sat between the buildings.  After a few minutes, I was approached by a young man named Billy, who invited me to a party at the pavilion later that evening.

I waited until the party was in full swing then make my way downstairs.  Bill introduced me to his friends.  Not being much of a drinker, I sat on one of the picnic tables and watched everyone else get drunk.   At some point one of the guys thought it would be fun to play chicken and scooped me up on his shoulders.   Wanting to have my feet firmly on the ground I protested and after several minutes he finally did.  He just bent right over and dropped me on my shoulder.

The medical building on base could be seen from the pavilion and I watched as the ambulance pulled out....To this day I am still wondering how the driver got lost it took an hour for him to show up and cart me off to the hospital.  By now you’re beginning to wonder how this has anything to do with books and why I’m now an Author.  But, I really did feel the need to start at the beginning. 

When I did not return to the barracks by the next morning, Dawn the only other girl there that night became concerned, called the hospital then grabbed Billy.  He grabbed one of his duffel bags, went to my barracks room and packed it with the things he thought I might need.  Once at the hospital he walked in my room carrying a blue duffel bag and a stack of books.  I was thankful that someone bothered to check on me.  I would spend the next 10 days in the hospital...My collar bone was shattered and unfixable, my shoulder blade was fractured in multiple locations and now so dislocated it rested against the vertebra of my neck.  It took 7 days for the swelling to go down enough to do surgery. 


During that time Billy visited every day, I read the books he bought for me and found that Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover was the most fascinating world I could have ever imagined.  For the first time in my life, I read something that left me wanting more.  It made me want to become part of that world, so I bought every single Darkover novel I could find and read them too.  Over the years I have read these books so many times some of the pages are starting to fall out and the covers look like they have seen better days.  It would still take me 20 more years to decide to write my own world and like the Darkover books, mine books also blur the line between Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

To this day I still have the 5 inch scar on the front of my shoulder, 3inches missing from my collar bone and Billy still by my side even after knowing me for 20 years.  And had Marion lived longer, I’m certain I would have been her biggest fan.

(photo removed)

What in life has inspired you?  Have you ever read a series that changed your way of thinking?  I would love to hear from you.  And if you have a strange story about how you met your significant other, please share it in the comments too!!!    

C.G. Powell

Author of Spell Checked: Book One of The No Uncertain Logic Series
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  1. As a child I lived in foster care and my life wasn't easy. It was quite difficult, between dealing with being physically abused, sexually abused, and mentally abused in several state certified foster homes. I left an abusive and neglective home, only to go into worse homes with worse people. I was 8 years old when I was actually in a foster home where I wasn't abused! They were an older, religious couple with grown children. They were both well educated and promoted education and reading. When I first moved in, I was given their old storage room, which at one point was their children's playroom. There were dusty old shelves full of books and old toys. The toys were hard to play with (I was a little too old for them anyway), so I read. There was one book I related to because I saw the author's last name was the same as my own. Not having any family, and not "belonging" to anyone, I related to that book. The author's name was Irene Hunt and her book was titled "Up a Road Slowly". When I opened the book, I was stoked to find out the main character's first name was also the same as my own. Another relatable feeling thrilled through me. I devoured the book in a day, reading in the old smoking house (a small shed the foster couple had in their backyard, which was also a farm, that a neighbor used to smoke his pipe in). Little Julie's mother died and she was carted off to an old relative's house to stay because her father couldn't care for her and her brother, Chris. I lived in Julie's world because, while her world wasn't perfect, I could relate to her and those around her. To this day, nearly 23 years later, it is my favorite book and probably always will be.

  2. Wow Julie, thank you for sharing your story. Sometimes it's the little things that mean the most to us in adulthood :-)