To read an excerpt from the book, please click on the following link:

Friday, March 21, 2014

As Long as We Live

CG said something so kind yesterday--we were drinking tea at the kitchen table and I was telling him some things.  He looked at me and promised that, for as long as he lives, he will never talk badly, cruelly, or unfairly behind my back, and I promised him that I would try with all my heart to do the same.  I am sure both of us will falter in that, however unwittingly, but it was a good promise.  CG keeps his promises as best he can.

I am writing the scene in my book where the main character reveals that she has been sexually assaulted and that her husband rejected her afterwards, saying she was to blame for the attack.  He refuses to be intimate with her again and ultimately leaves her in the middle of the night, pretty much for no reason except that she "holds him back" or some other excuse.  I think, sadly, that more men are like this than not, when the real stuff happens; I doubt women are so uninformed and callous if a partner is sexually assaulted.

Anyways, the goal of this chapter is to affirm, once and for all, that people who are sexually abused in any way are not dirty, unlovable, damaged forever, crazy, asked for it, etc.  They did not draw the experience to them or are to blame in anyway.  Anyone who says otherwise is unenlighted and living in the Stone Age.  People can heal, repair, and progress from these experiences.  My therapist said that if I'd had the proper support and attention after either of my sexual assaults, I would not have had a breakdown.  I concur with her 100 percent.  In my book, someone does listen to the character who relates her story, and she is treated with respect and kindness, and she is told she did not draw the abuser to herself--she was, unknowingly, simply in the wrong place and time.

I wrote a poem about all this once, long ago.  It was the first time I ever wrote about this into a crafted poem.

When I Write What I Know

Every day I attempt it,
the shaping of my life into language.
There is the way my daughter’s hair has darkened,
strands the color of turned earth
overtaking the pliable gold.
There are my baby’s eyes, bright as polished coins
placed for luck and a safe passage to this world.
There are scenes from my childhood,
the beach I walked as a young girl,
its sand wet from a night’s rain
and littered with jellyfish,
each body a globe of blown glass
starred at the center with purple.
Barefoot, I stepped unharmed
between the ribbons of their thin white tendrils.

Lately, when I write what I know,
there is only what cannot be ignored,
what refuses to be forgotten: the man
entering me by force,
his deadweight pressing me down,
the memory like a shadow eclipsing me.
Look closer and you will see more:
a woman in the business of repair.
While my family sleeps and the moon
is a luminous mask in the window,
I sew long unbroken lines across quilts
or stack the kitchen table with clothing, for hours
mend the torn seams.