The Best Night of Melissa Walker’s (Pathetic) Life

By Tara / August, 27, 2012

Melissa Walker is one of those women who makes me believe that you really can have it all! A great career. Great style. And a totally adorable family. How she manages to do all of her magazine writing and blogging and webby things while also turning out books of such a high quality as Unbreak My Heart and Small-Town Sinners—not to mention always turning up places in the sort of cute dresses that never seem to cross my path—is beyond me. Her wedding pictures, which I’ve had the pleasure of seeing on Facebook, make me want to weep they’re so cool. And her books make me all swoony and angsty in a way that actually leaves me aching for the drama of adolescent love and loss—all that stuff we old married folk are supposed to be happy to have left behind.

When we last left the YA author scav hunt, Beth Kephart was in the lead, having upset Lauren Myracle and leaving everybody else in the dust. Melissa strikes me as pretty adventurous and I think she’ll make a topnotch scav-hunter. Let’s see if I’m right.

TA: Have you ever…trespassed?

MW: Oh, sure. Not in a crazy jumping-over-electrified-fences way, but in a “not really supposed to be here” way? All the time! One favorite spot in high school was Gimghoul Castle… http://carrboro.com/gimghoulcastle.html …that caretaker did NOT like me and my friends.

TA: Man, that place looks creepy. Who wouldn’t want to trespass there? …skinny dipped? If so, where (lake, pool, ocean, swamp) and with whom?

MW: Yes! In the ocean with co-workers. That sounds so weird but I worked at a teen magazine and we were all girls on a work retreat in Montauk.

TA: Too cute! …stolen (or “borrowed) something? What was it?

MW: Okay, yes, I took a “High Water” street sign from a flooded road, for a Scavenger Hunt! I felt guilty about it for weeks, wondering if someone got stuck in a big puddle. But seriously, it wasn’t life or death… just some extra water on a very small road.

TA: That was you??? I was stranded there for weeks! {dials authorities}…kept a secret from your best friend? Explain yourself!

MW: Uh, I’m keeping this secret from YOU. But yes, I have done that.

TA: Pretty sneaky, sis. Do you know what an isocahedron is without Googling? If not, give us your best guess.

MW: No! But I’d guess it’s a form or a shape that has lots of sides. Like way more than I can picture. Honeycomb-ish?

TA: Good guess work! How many of the following items from the scav hunt list in The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life could you scare up in your own home?

A snow globe? Yes. (20)

An American flag? Yes. (25)

A music box? If so, what song does it play? Yes. “Frere Jacques” (TA: Oy. I should deduct points for putting that song in my head, but, well: 40)

A ticket stub from a Twilight series movie? Yes. (75)

A wedding invitation Yes. (80)

A plant that falls into the category of “succulent”? Yes. (50)

An unopened box of Kleenex? Yes. (20)

A red and black screwdriver? Yes. (TA: You seem to be on a roll: 50)

A Bundt pan? No. (TA: I jinxed you! Sorry! This actually surprises me! But it makes me happy in a twisted way that maybe you are not also some crazy amazing baker! You’re out 30 on this.)

A stretched penny? Yes. (50)

A divided dinner plate? Yes. (TA: Awesome: 10)

An unopened cable bill? No. (TA: You’re out 50 but I am not sure you’ll need them…this is looking to be big!!! A possible upset, I think?)

A brick? Yes. (5)

An orchid? Yes. (20)

TA: That gives you…drumroll please…a whopping 445 points! Which puts you solidly in first place ahead of all previous YA author competitors by 30 points in a victory predicted by one Beth Kephart. Sorry, Kephart, your glory days are over! And, if I might add, Melissa, you made that look effortless! Before you go, how many goldfish have you loved and lost in your life?

MW: Three that I remember (though the true count is more–sad!)

TA: Can’t help but wonder what those three particular goldfish did to make an impression! Could they talk? Do backflips? And lastly, tell us about one of the best nights of your (pathetic) life:

MW: Putting aside wedding night and baby-being-born nights, I’ll say that one of the best was one summer evening when I first moved to New York. I went to a party with college friends, met up with a guy I liked, told stories waaay too late into the night and ended up at a diner drinking milkshakes at 5am with said guy. Then came the kissing. Super fun.

TA: Super fun, indeed. As was this! Thanks for hunting, Melissa! This week you’ll face down Siobhan Vivian and David Levithan and the final victor will be named!