Yesterday one of my Donna friends shared with me her impressions of reading Hawai‘i Calling, my first book. Donna loved my stories, especially the style of my storytelling with my explicit descriptive command of words. “Really well done; right up there; an A.” She had one cautionary bit of feedback. “Sometimes I felt that I was reading some intimate personal details that maybe I shouldn’t know.” When I pressed her, she alluded to some of the painful experiences of family. She was sorry that I had to live with those kinds of dynamics.
In reply, I thanked Donna for her honest feedback. (I am learning how rare a gift it can be when a good friend shares a critique or some unsettling detail about my writing.) I assured Donna that there would be more of the same in the second book, An American in Palestine. I cautioned her that she may want to skip book #3 entirely.
In that moment, I realized that I need to write this—that I need to place it in the front of Secrets Unveiled—Stories of Forgotten Memories. Perhaps I need to post what follows on the back cover.
A caution to readers: This book contains graphic and intimate detail. Details of explicit sexual encounters of a gay man. Details of a tangled twisted picture of a family mired in dysfunction and abuse. But above all, naked, soul-searching, lay-it-out-plain details of a man, who is emerging and freeing himself from a seventy-some-year whirlpool of his core psyche.
These pages contain light-hearted stories of joy and pleasure. These pages unveil family secrets buried behind impenetrable masks of happy-face. These pages pull down the veiled curtain, lay bare the myth, and step into the light of healing and wholeness.
I write this book for myself. The eternal optimist, I aim to sail out of the eddy of my whirlpool. I share the book publicly, primarily in the hope that other LGBTQ folks (especially those trapped behind the veil of middle-class normality) might find hope—perhaps even reach for a current at the edge of their personal eddy and make peace with their own “forgotten” memories.
Caution: Only the brave of heart need enter.
4 thoughts on “Prologue to Secrets Unveiled”
I understand how some might be uncomfortable with intimate truths, but some truths must be told, intimate or not. Maybe I’m just too toughened by years of nursing but I certainly didn’t find anything that made me uncomfortable. My thoughts are of admiration for the courage it takes to recognize your own truth & then make yourself so vulnerable by writing about them. Not necessarily about sexual intimacy, but harder I think is revealing your deepest feelings & thoughts. There are those out there who need to hear what you have to say. I know there are young gay men (and women) who need role models. People who will benefit from the full story of the life & adventures of a talented man who is also proudly gay. I look forward to the next installment in the life & times of a man I admire deeply.
Thank you, dear friend, Wendy. Brave, yes, I acknowledge that. The bit of me that clings to my Iowan deliberately cultivated naivete. Honesty in all things. A welcome place at the table for any visiting neighbor. A core belief that life is good and people are good and relationship is good. Oh, it gets me in trouble— a very welcome kind of good trouble. I think this writing thing may be the most freeing and liberating thing I have done in my 72 years. So I trust that sharing da kine will be welcome nourishment for those who need it.
Love you always,
btw–do you know that I’m coming BI next week? Staying in a hippie-kind BnB down South Point Road. I’ll be visiting HOVE daily. See ya soon?
Hi Ric! I know what you mean. I tried to write a short story on the same topic in a very light hearted way. I was merely able to introduce the topic. It’s called – The Confession!
It was out of my comfort zone and I didn’t have any experience to fall back on, so I made it up.
As a writer and a friend I feel that I need to write about it, just like we write about so many other themes.
Goodluck to you on your journey!
Thanks Harshi. It takes courage to write outside of our comfort zone. I’m learning that most of what I write is pushing me outside of that safety boundary. I think that’s part of why I write. I want/ need to speak about those places inside that have hidden in the dark. Light brings understanding, clarity, healing.
I’m at work. I’ll read your The Confession later. Thanks