Behind the Book – CROAK, Chapter #14


Behind the Book is an ongoing series wherein I tackle a new chapter of Croak each week and give you all of the secret, behind-the-scenes tidbits and trivia that went into writing it. For an archive of past chapters, click here. To read the spoilers, highlight the blank spaces marked with <<hi>>; proceed at your own risk if you haven’t read the entire series. Enjoy!

Chapter 14: The Heimliching

  • The story Lex tells about her sister choking is taken directly from real life. I was at dinner once with a couple of friends, and my friend Allison chowed down on a gigantic hunk of steak. I sat and watched, laughing, as she began to slowly realize she could no longer breathe and stumbled out of the booth. (Before you think me a monster, I did not realize she was choking, because she DID NOT MAKE THE INTERNATIONAL SIGN FOR CHOKING. Also, this is a person who habitually makes wild gesticulations when her life is not on the line, so her uncharacteristic calmness threw me off. Regardless, she likes to remind me to this very day that I sat idly by while she almost died. It’s our thing.) A total stranger sauntered over, gave her the Heimlich, and she did in fact catch the wad of meat right out of the air like a badass. It was awesome.
  • I did not take the piece of meat home with me and later give it to her as a birthday present, but I did take a photo of it next to a sugar packet, to convey to others just how big this bite was. It was bigger than the sugar packet!
  • Allison is also the source of Pandora’s phrase “sweet sassy molassy”. We should just title this chapter Ode to Allison.
  • Lex is so much better at handling conflict than I am. If anyone yelled at me the way Heloise and Norwood yell at her, I’d cower so far into a corner I’d become part of the wall. Not sure what the lesson is here, other than: Writing for me is a fantasy land in which I always have the correct comeback at the ready.
  • I wish I’d written more about Afterlife Emily Dickinson. Fun fact: she and her Afterlife buddy, Dr. Seuss, both lived in Western Massachusetts – where I now live – and both have museums here. I will visit them soon and report back.
  • I wonder if Poe would like the new statue of him that was erected in Boston. Probably not, as he notoriously had a lot of unkind words to say about Boston. But I love it. And Quoth is there too!2014-10-15 13.21.41

Got any questions about Chapter 14? Post them below!



  1. I’d imagine Ed would think the windswept look of the statue makes him look undignified. Though, he’d be wrong―I think that statue looks awesome!

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