I spied this neologism on Twitter last week. What an infectious interjection, Serendipitydoodah!
Sing it out! It’s a cry of exultation. Here’s a rhythmic swirl of awesomeness for ya, my latest book discovery.
Welcome to a series of conversations with crazy talented author H. P. Wood.
WWWW: Tell me about the first ‘work’ you ever wrote, going as far back as your childhood.
H.P. Wood: I wrote my first editorial at age 3 or 4: a picture of a fanged monster titled, “My Mean Mommy.” Not very sophisticated but if “writing = communication,” than I believe I made my point.
WWWW: No doubt you did. So, that leads me to wonder, what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done?
HPW: I’m not sure if this is the strangest, but it has relevance to the book so let’s go with it.
When I was 17, I went to England with my school theater troupe. We performed at schools and stayed with the students. In a suburb about 45 minutes outside London, I happened to really hit it off with the kids I was staying with. Alas, we had to say goodbye and move on to London proper.
But we had a night off and, unlikely as this sounds, the chaperones let us go out on our own. I bailed on my school friends and got on the Tube to attend a party with my new friends. After the party they put me on the last train back to London.
What I learned the hard way was that the Tube shuts down earlier than the commuter trains. So I was stuck in Victoria Station with no way to get back to my hotel. No one from my school knew where the hell I was, and of course this was long before cell phones. I will never forget the mix of terror and excitement of being in that predicament.
I found a bunch of minicab drivers playing cards around a little table near the station, and one of them drove me back. But minicabs aren’t marked like regular cabs—they are more like Uber—so in retrospect it could have been anybody. Tourist guides all tell you to never ever get in the back of these unlicensed minicabs. Not only did I get in, I proceeded to argue with the guy over the fare. It just blows my mind now, that I had the guts/madness to object to being so blatantly overcharged.
I thought about this a lot when I was writing Kitty, the teenager who gets stranded on Coney Island. It’s a blend of “Oh no, I’m completely on my own,” and “Oh wow, I’m completely on my own!!” And even if you should feel grateful for a rescue, it doesn’t mean you do.
PS: At the party I was very sweetly kissed, so. Worth it.
WWWW: Yikes, that’s one guts-up adventure with a fairy-tale ending. The world of Magruder doesn’t seem like a place where a kid would do a lot of reading or writing. Were books part of your childhood?
HPW: Well Toni you know who my mother is, so. Yeah.
When I was a kid, I read everything. I vividly remember the old Harwinton Library—the spooky old building on the hill, not the shiny new one they have now. The librarians used to get mad because I’d sneak into the adult stacks—it was forbidden!! But I did it because I had already read every single book in the tiny children’s section of that Vincent-Price-designed excuse for a library.
WWWW: A voracious reader, I’m not surprised. Let’s veer off topic, for those readers who might be curious, what’s your astrological sign?
HPW: Libra, but I don’t really believe in that stuff.
WWWW: Well, my astrology guru says Libra is an Air sign. Libras like to use their smarts (and talk) to get to know others better. Yes, knowledge about people is where it’s at for Libras. They’re inspired by good books, insurmountable discussions, and interesting folks. Just sayin’.
If you could live in any other time and country, tell us when and where. Any stipulations?
HPW: Here are some ideas, but I want to be clear that I would only go if I could be wealthy. If I had to be as broke as I am now, I ain’t going nowhere.
Greece, around 400 BC
Mexico, around 500 AD
Stratford Upon Avon, late 1500s.
WWWW: Wow, those are some time-warping trips. Settings for future novels, maybe?
I’ll be asking that question (more enlightenment ahead, Readers) later in our interview.
Part 2, here tomorrow.