Go get lost! You’ll find more than you ever imagined.
Thank you so much to the wonderful ladies at Good Choice Reading for lending me this space to share a story about being lost, and being rescued.
Zee, the heroine in my debut novel, What Kills Me, gets lost in Rome and ends up, well, dying. I can relate. Well, not to the dying part; but I am always getting lost in foreign places. (I think I need to start taping maps to my travel companion’s back.)
When I was in university, I visited my best friend who was living in Japan. We wandered around Kyoto, playing video games, singing karaoke, drinking sake and catching glimpses of geisha tiptoeing through the narrow streets. It was a good night.
At about 3 a.m., we took the subway back to our hostel, except we got off at the wrong stop. We stood in the street, asking for directions (miming actually, because no one spoke English). We had left the address of our hostel in our bags...in our room. Great, I thought. How do you ask someone in another language where you are going when you don’t know where you are going?
I can be pretty calm under pressure but I was starting to fray at the seams.
Finally, an elderly man offered to help us. He kept waving at us to follow him. We had no clue where we were going. He could be psycho. He could stuff us and mount our heads on his wall.
For 15 minutes, he lead us through the dark streets to a squat, windowless office building with yellow lighting. Then he stood at the door and bowed several times, before waving down a taxi. My best friend and I offered him money for his cab but he just put his hand on his chest and said, “Heart.”
We were at a police station. It took no fewer than seven police officers hunched over several maps and phone books to find our hostel. They loaded us into a van with steel bars — my first (and hopefully last) ride in the back of a police vehicle — and dropped us off at the hostel. We trudged into our room exhausted and embarrassed.
Yes, I was grateful for that man’s heart. In the morning, the hostel staff said a man called the front desk to ask if two girls had gotten in all right. This stranger found us, these two silly girls from Canada, lost and teary, and he helped us find our way. His kindness touched us. We will never forget it.
I obviously didn’t learn my lesson because I’ve gotten lost many more times after this all over the world, sometimes on purpose. And I’ve discovered the most amazing things, found delightful cafes, and met wonderful friends.
When Zee forgets the address of her home-stay and cannot find her way back, a stranger finds her. He, unlike the Japanese man, has no heart. He only wants to harm Zee. But she’s a brave, strong girl with the will to survive and endure.
But even still, I say, go get lost. May you find adventures like mine. And if you get into trouble, may you have courage like Zee.
Ever been ridiculously lost? Write or Tweet Wynne to tell her about it!
What Kills Me Links
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About the book: An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race. So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive. How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?
About Wynne: Wynne Channing is a national newspaper reporter and young adult novelist. Wynne loves telling stories and as a journalist, she has interviewed everyone from Daniel Radcliffe and Hugh Jackman to the president of the Maldives and Duchess Sarah Ferguson. The closest she has come to interviewing a vampire is sitting down with True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard (he didn’t bite). She briefly considered calling her debut novel “Well” so then everyone would say: “Well written by Wynne Channing.”
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