This is my memoir-in-progress about the violent criminal attack on me on a sunny summer afternoon, the most terrible thing ever to have happened to me. Bast Books will publish the finished book; this is a work in progress. After I woke up from three hours of surgery, I received a blazing vision of this book. I wanted to write what I had to say in a month. I worked out an extensive outline with paper and pencil on a clipboard while recuperating in bed. I had my husband bring in and hook up my laptop so I could continue writing, also in bed. As soon as I was barely able, I got out of bed, sat down at my Internet computer, and did much research.
Now it is over a year later, and I’m still sorting out my thoughts, my research, my reactions. Other people’s reactions, too. There are many facts—controversial facts—that figure into my story.
This will be difficult for me. But I’m working the writing out exclusively on Patreon, with introductory blogs on WordPress. When the memoir is finished and polished, I will give you, Patrons on Tier Four, the ebook of the memoir. And then I’ll start something new.
And so….
Sticks & Stones Will Break My Bones
Copyright 2019 by Lisa Mason
The Attack, Part 1
At 5 p.m. on a sunny summer day—July 11, 2018—I was walking around Lake Merritt in Oakland, California as I’ve done just about every day since 1996. Rain or shine, hot or cold, summer or winter. Three and a half miles. When it was raining, I would put on my L.L. Bean hooded rain jacket over my jogging clothes, my British rubber rain boots, and I would go for my lake walk. When it was winter-cold and dark, I put on a sweater over my jogging clothes, my L.L Bean parka, sometimes leather gloves, and I would go for my lake walk. When it was blazing hot, I put on a tank top and linen shorts, and I would go for my lake walk.
I was never afraid, even when I saw mentally disturbed people. I would simply cross the street. Even when in the winter it was dark at five o’clock in the evening, the Art Deco lamps of the Necklace of Lights looked beautiful, made wonderful reflections in the lake’s water.
I was never ever afraid of walking around the lake for twenty-plus years. There was always plenty of traffic on the street, police cars went by, plenty of people exercising or coming home from work.
July 11, 2018 started out as a lovely day. It was the thirty-eighth anniversary of my husband Tom’s and my first date. We first met on July 4th at a party that my neighbors and I held, opening up our penthouse apartments in Noe Valley. (That’s another story).
And I was planning a special anniversary dinner, movies, maybe some romance. I was going to bake homemade pizza.
The dog-walkers, moms with their baby-strollers and babies, bicyclists, joggers were out in full force. I felt mellow and safe. I was walking about halfway around the lake, walking past the complex intersection of Lake Shore Avenue, the newly built bridge over Lake Merritt Boulevard, and East Twelfth Street. A switchback angles around the side of 1200 Lake Shore, a luxury midcentury high-rise apartment building, and leads down to the lake and the jogging path. A gentle slope with flowering vines and bushes lies between the boulevard and the switchback. I often saw Monarchs, painted ladies, tiger swallowtails, birds and hummingbirds sipping the flowers on the slope.
But as I was walking past the slope on Lake Merritt Boulevard, past the pedestrian intersection at East Twelfth, suddenly I heard yelling. Inarticulate yelling. I couldn’t discern words, or a language. It was just hateful, enraged yelling.
Startled, I looked to my left and saw a man standing on the slope, his eyes like white-hot blazing coals. Blazing with pure hatred.
I’d never seen a look in anyone’s eyes like that in my life. I was shocked. For a second, I thought he needed help. I hesitated for that second.
And in that second, he sprinted up the slope and confronted me on the sidewalk.
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