Wonderfully Awful: Writers I Know on Skates [BOOK WEEK]


a blogumn by Robin Rosenzweig

Don't worry after taking this hit, Maggie Mayhem went on to write the awesome book WHIP IT! Photo Credit: Dan Hendricks

I know people who write books. And I think that makes me pretty special. Sure, I didn’t do anything in particular to have anyone look upon me with any sort of admiration. But I know people who write books. I can introduce you to those people and say, “Hey, have you met my friend? She has a book coming out!” And you’d think, wow, that’s pretty cool. And I’d be standing next to you both, feeling all awesome because I created that little moment.

Do you want to meet the people I know who write books? I think you do.

Meet Shauna Cross. She wrote a young adult novel which was then turned into a movie called Whip It directed by Drew Barrymore and starring Ellen Page. She wrote the screenplay, too. It’s a coming-of-age story about a small town Texas teen who finds a place she can truly belong within the world and culture of roller derby. I know Shauna from the time she spent as a roller derby skater with the L.A. Derby Dolls, and many story elements in both the book and movie were taken from the early history of the league. I like to think of the story as my own life story. You know, if you replaced the Texas teen with a 29-year old from California. Same diff, right?

Meet Pamela Ribon: derby skater, blogger, and published author. Her latest novel, Going in Circles, tells the story of a woman facing the emotional aftermath of the breakdown of her marriage, and finding new strength via the world and culture of roller derby. Sure, it’s a familiar topic, at least in the context of this particular blog. But as someone who plays the sport and knows the culture, I can say that it’s a very real topic. I like to think of this as my life story. You know, if you replaced a woman dealing with divorce with a woman, um, not dealing with divorce. By the by, this is not Pamela’s first book. She has two other books available for your reading pleasure, including Why Girls are Weird and Why Moms Are Weird. That’s right – I know someone who wrote THREE books! Aren’t I cool?

Meet Alex Cohen and Jennifer Barbee – or as I like to call them, my original roller derby team co-captain and the person who introduced me to the man I’m about to marry. Although they, too, wrote a book about roller derby, Down and Derby: The Insiders Guide to Roller Derby is a nonfiction tome, covering the history of the current revival of the sport. Having been in it since the early days of modern day derby (which started in 2001 with a lone league in Austin, Texas and now boasts hundreds of leagues worldwide), these ladies know their roller derby history. And since I’ve been playing derby since the early days, I like to think of this as my life story. Or at least some of it is.

Oh, and have you met Ernessa T. Carter? She wrote a little book called 32 Candles. You may have read about it once or twice on FaN. I think it’s about a young African-American girl who finds her place in the world of roller derby. Just kidding – this one doesn’t have anything to do with roller derby. But Ernessa was one of my original roller derby teammates, and I know her. Come to think of it, you all know her, too.

Isn’t it cool to know people who write books?