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Posted on Jan 28, 2020 in Blog, Lego, Portugal, Writing

Life Imitates Art and a Broken Leg Foreshadowed

Life Imitates Art and a Broken Leg Foreshadowed

Five years ago, when my elaborate Lego buildings and mediocre Lego photography were Instagram fixtures, I joined a group of collaborative storytellers from around the world who took part in a giant soap opera set in “Brickland.” The chief writer was a man in the UK named Courtney who went by the handle @thecourtous. My character, Lyn, was a hippieish flower vendor who early on in the series was struck by a runaway car driven by one of Brickland’s villains. For about a week, we didn’t know if Lyn or any of the other victims would survive. She did, though with a broken right leg, which she dragged around Portugal that spring.

Signing my sigfig’s cast after her return from Brickland and her accident there.

Well, it turns out that the ankle I thought I sprained last week slipping on the ice was in fact broken. In three places. I only found out after I’d been walking around on it for six days, putting more and more weight on it. Friday afternoon it buckled, and I fell again. After a trip to the walk-in clinic and seven hours in the emergency room, I now have a cast on my right leg just like my Lego sigfig (signature figure). Life imitated art.

Sometimes I worry that if I make a bad thing happen to one of my characters, that bad thing is going to happen to me as well one day. But in this case, Courtney foretold my broken leg, though under different circumstances. Thanks, Courtney. Unlike my Lego sigfig, no one has signed my cast, and it’s not long for my leg anyway, because I have surgery this Friday, where they’ll attach the broken bones to a metal plate so the ankle is stable in the future and I’ll set off TSA metal detectors every time I fly.

At the Chapel of Bones in √Čvora, Portugal, my sigfig contemplates what could have happened.

It’s no fun to erase all the events in my calendar and replace them with doctor’s appointments. I’ve spent the past few days cancelling or relocating get-togethers with friends, and my much-anticipated attendance at the New York Times Travel Show never happened. Nor was I able to attend Abigail Hing Wen’s book signing of her debut Loveboat, Taipei, though I reviewed the book for The Pirate Tree already and plan to blog about it soon. By the way, Abby is much smarter than I am and thus hasn’t tempted fate. The only thing broken in that novel are hearts.

Still, I’m making the best of my enforced immobility. My writing partner broke her leg in August, so we’re now the Broken Leg Writing Club. She loaned me her crutches after the initial mishap, which I returned to her five days later when I thought I was on the mend. (Now I have new crutches in my size.) She has also advised me on the recovery process and what to expect. Realizing that I suffer from a dangerous combination of clumsy, reckless, and stupid, with a long history of mishaps, I’m looking into physical/occupational therapy to improve my balance and mindfulness. Many autistic people have challenges related to balance and proprioception (awareness of the body’s position and movement), something that should have been evident when I was six and my mother put me in a ballet class with four-year-olds — and I still couldn’t keep up with them. Lagging behind my younger peers, I became disruptive and was asked to leave after some months. I’ve also made inroads into my pile of books to read and expect to have them finished by the time I can put weight on my right leg again. I will no longer miss my review deadlines. And I should easily make my deadline for my part of the draft of MOONWALKING, due in April.

My sigfig, her leg fully healed, enjoys a rooftop concert with friends.

The doctor told me today that I’ll still be hobbling when I go to Portugal in May, though the cast will be long gone. Still, as I travel through the streets with my ankle brace and cane, I’ll constantly be reminded of my sigfig Lyn, who despite her painful mishap, greeted each new day with a smile.


  1. Oh Lyn. I’m so sorry!

    • Yes, this situation is getting more serious by the week. Looking for the surgery on Friday to reverse the trend.

  2. Hi, Lyn–

    You have that rare talent of turning everything into an adventure, so I was happy to hear about your and your sigfig’s new adventures. In case you have nothing to do and get bored, here are four ideas for titles of your next book projects:

    for children: “A Trip to the Walk-In Clinic”

    for MGs: “I’m no Pushover”

    for YAs: “Clumsy, Reckless, and Stupid, with a Long Series of Mishaps”

    for self-help book: “Reversing the Trend”

    • Haha! Great titles. My daughter, the first grade teacher, should also write one titled, “Mommy’s Mishaps.” Or not, because it would be too long for a picture book.

  3. Wishing you a speedy recovery Lynn. Embrace the quiet time! You will be mobile before you know it.

    • Thank you, Tess! I’ve heard it’s six weeks from the date of my surgery. I’ll be crossing those days off like kids awaiting their birthdays.

  4. Lyn! Warm wishes for a speedy recovery. I agree with Beverly above. This was a joy (for me, not you) to read. Such an adventure–it’s not surprising with your talent for creating tone and mood and capturing an audience. Your writing skills shine. xoxoxo

    • Thank you! I’m counting the days until I can run around the city again, promising myself I’ll be more careful this time.


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