I remember when I was the person on this jetty, the girl who was happiest when she was mute and terrified of reading aloud in class. I remember going to my first speech therapist when I was five and my last speech therapist when I was in my forties. The girl on the jetty will be a part of me as I read passages from The Ninth Day at the Oregon Jewish Museum on November 12th and at Powell’s Cedar Hills Crossing on November 15th, passages in which a stuttering teen struggles to spit out a coherent sentence. I wish that I could have told the girl on the jetty so many years ago that one day she’d feel eager and honored to read aloud. And yet, if I hadn’t been that girl, I doubt that I could have written The Ninth Day. I certainly would not have felt competent to make Miriam Hope Friis my main character. Hope is not me. I can’t sing well, and never painted dreidels, and my siblings were nothing like hers. Still, she and I share a problem that affects millions. Hope found her voice before I found mine.