There are many things that happen in my new book The Other Way Around that have never happened to me.
- I am not, nor have I ever been, a 16 year old boy.
- I have never attended an all-girls school.
- I never had a teacher meeting for bad behavior (though I did behave poorly on occasion -I guess it just never got that far.)
- I never ran away with a group of street performers.
There are several part’s of Andrew West’s story that are based on feelings I’ve felt and a few instances of things I experienced. My favorite example of this is the scene where Andrew’s new friends cover him with body paint and the lot of them run around a suburban neighborhood pool-hopping and generally wreaking havoc. If you don’t believe I ever did this, please see photo below.
This is Harkness Cooperative at Oberlin College circa 1995. The guy sitting next to me who was also covered in paint was my Resident Adviser. Me and my roommate Carrie were the preppiest people living there by a long shot. If you don’t believe me, look closely at my hair -that’s a scrunchy. Carrie was the Cleanliness Coordinator (it was a real job). It was a very interesting year.
There’s a part of me that wanted to use this as my author photo. Because really, have I changed that much? But in the end I was persuaded to go with something slightly less controversial which my brother-in-law, the talented Travis Gray, was able to provide.