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.