|First ThrillerFest, 2006, Scottsdale, AZ|
by Gayle Lynds
While many of my author friends are in New York this week enjoying the fun, the books, and the writerly wisdom of ThrillerFest, I’m at home in Maine nursing a bonked head. In fact, I probably have a mild concussion. More about that soon.
What do I look like? The deep purple on the right side of my face is resolving into bilious yellow as gravity drags the bruising south toward my jaw and, soon, into my neck. Oh, yes, I’m not a thing of beauty. No, that’s not me today on the right. Sigh.
|First Thriller awards, 2006|
(Left: Gayle Lynds, David Morrell, Phoenix mayor, Gregg Hurwitz, & James Rollins.)
So what happened? I’m not exactly sure. It all went down so fast – especially me. It was about 10:00 pm and we were leaving the grand July 4th fireworks display overlooking Casco Bay, heading toward the narrow-gauge railroad that would take us back to the parking lot.
|The great Lisa Gardner interviewing me, TFest 2010|
|Me interviewing the fab CJ Box at TFest|
We were far from alone … there were tens of thousands of us plowing through the starlit night. Suddenly there was a herd surge, and I tripped.
My hip (the replacement hip, naturally) went down, my thumb gallantly tried to save me and in the process did a sharp twist into the gravel, and my head landed with a thunk on a railroad tie.
Those rail ties are hard.
I yelled. Truthfully, I might’ve screamed. My head hurt like hell. Only later did I notice the pain in my hip and thumb.
Long story short, at the Emergency Room I learned nothing was broken – hooray! But as it turned out, I had a wee bit of memory loss and was unsteady. Also, I was really pissed off, but trying not to show it.
I know better than to trip and fall. Shame on me. Is that thinking logical? No. And irrationality can be a symptom.
It appears I had a slight concussion or mild traumatic brain injury. The Mayo Clinic and other sources explain they’re caused by “a mild blow to the head, either with or without loss of consciousness, that leads to temporary cognitive symptoms like headache, confusion, lack of coordination, memory loss, irritability, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, ringing in the ears, sleepiness, and excessive fatigue.”
|Annual dinner at TFest|
(Right: Small annual ThrillerFest dinner, L-R around the table: RL Stine, Steve Berry, MJ Rose, Liz Berry, Lee Child, Jon Land, Kathie Antrim, David Morrell, me, & my husband & collaborator John C Sheldon)
And mild brain injuries are common – more than 3 million people a year have them. I’m far from alone, which is comforting.
Have you had one, too? I hope not!
More info that’s hopeful: They’re “usually self-diagnosable and treatable by a medical professional.” There’s no specific cure for concussion, and you should “consult a doctor for medical advice.”
Treatment includes giving the brain time to recover by resting and cutting back on fun stuff like exercising, sports, video games, TV, computer screen time, or too much socializing.
Stay off your cell phone!
|Hank Phillippi Ryan, Andrew Grant, & me|
Swell. One of the reasons I love ThrillerFest is, it’s like an aerobic workout of the body, the soul, and the brain, all wrapped up in a cloud of happiness and smiling faces. Which effervescent activity is why I’m not there this week, and longing for it.
I’m grateful to my author friends who stepped in to replace me, particularly Rogue Chris Goff who took over teaching my all-day Master Class, which is always a lot of work but such a joy. And to TFest Exec Director and Rogue KJ Howe who rejiggered our panels, the workshop, and my CraftFest class.
And then there are the meetings I won’t have with my fab literary agent Lisa Erbach Vance, editor Keith Kahla, media folks, and fellow authors like Jeff Ayers, Karna Small Bodman, Kyle Steele, and many many others. I apologize to those I’m forgetting. (Symptom, symptom.)
|Barry Eisler, David Montgomery, me|
The prognosis: I find that I’m better every day – stronger, better balanced, less nausea, less headache, and better able to control my occasional irritability.
Once a year I wallow in the blessings of ThrillerFest, a true busman’s holiday. The photos on this page are just a few of my cherished memories.
Although I won’t attend this time, I’m already planning for next year. I hope to see you there!
|My great friends at the first Rogue TFest panel, 2016. From left, Chris Goff, Francine Mathews, Jamie Freveletti, Karna Small Bodman, KJ Howe, me, S Lee Manning, and Sonja Stone