There is a lot of pressure as we enter 2023 to declare a resolution. I have
made my share of resolutions in the past, most rarely kept and remarkably
unimportant in the landscape of my existence. This year, I am tasked with a new
challenge to remain resolute. As much to my surprise, dismay, and delight, I
have signed a publishing contract for my memoir The Killing Closet.
The book, a story of hiding, will likely be released in the Spring of 2023
and I am nervous. When I shared my state of terror with a dear friend she replied,
“Of course you are afraid. All the nerve-endings are on the outside
now. This is something new. You’re not used to being vulnerable.”
I wrote my memoir in an angry tirade after my adoptive father, Jo died in
2015. A stranger had inherited my childhood home. I was cut from the will. The
inheritor of all my childhood things accused me of abandoning my father. She
dumped our photos in a dumpster and sold the rest of our memories in an estate
sale. As usual, I put pen to paper to prove a point. I wanted to show
all the ways that my father had abandoned and abused my family. I’d show the
After the initial throwing up and bleeding-out of words, I revisited the memoir,
and an unexpected understanding overcame me. I came to understand that I loved
my father despite all the years of hating Jo.
As a savvy reader, you have likely noticed that I have yet to use a pronoun
when referring to my father. This is because my father died a woman. She
transitioned in her 70’s.
While the book shares the horrors my family survived, I hope that it is so much more.
It is a story of adoption and the muddied river of methodologies used by social and private adoption agencies to place infants in the 1960s and 70s.
It is a story of embracing one’s truth and the truths of your
children. A child’s identity is not a parent’s to define or control. Only
nurturing their truest selves will help them to live happy lives.
It is a book about mental and physical abuse. Abuse is the extreme
outcome of control or lack thereof.
It is a book of strength, survival and finding safer ground. We left
our abuser and lived to tell the stories.
It is a book of acceptance. Accepting that we are a world of diverse
needs, wants, genders, sexualities, and identities is the pulse of the story.
My father’s parent’s failed her as did the society of her era.
Finally, it is a book of moving forward from our failures. I failed
my father in her last-ditch effort to show me who she was. She wanted to visit.
I refused her. The harsh judgement of the legions of humans who suffer abandonment and a lack of acceptance is where my fear of publication bubbles up most
For all the evil she delivered, it was my human duty to give her a
final revelation of her truth. My dear friend argued with me on this point,
having witnessed the tumult of my childhood firsthand.
While it is my truth, and I cannot change my past, the real meaning of The Killing Closet will ultimately be defined by readers.
So, I march forth into 2023 ready for the revelations it brings while shaking in my writer boots! Happy New Year lovely readers, and friends.
With hope and a healthy dose of apprehension,