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

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Can Of Worms

I wake today with the usual stomach pain and nausea that plague me every morning now.  I do not like taking Imuran because of this, but it has been a miracle drug for me.  I have no more lupus flares, and my kidneys--which unfortunately do not recover from damage--have at least stabilized.  Still, if they continue to spill blood, I will have to have a kidney biopsy, and I am trying to avoid that. I am in bed right now with a heating pad on my tummy, and probably will get some sort of antinausea drug tomorrow.  I did not sleep well last night.  Well--at least my back problems are better!  :)

I had a bout of anxiety last night, the usual case of the "what if-s" around a new project. I know I will likely have opened up a real can of worms with this book: the Asha Veil murder tore apart this community and in some ways, the scars have never healed.  I'm reclusive by nature, and was going to avoid Ben Lomond entirely when I was warned by a mutual friend, a colleague who is very kind to me, that the person in question might be participating in a show at the Park Hall and rehearsing for some time.  I was going to avoid the entire place for the duration, and longer: I never go there except to get my hair trimmed. Yet now, I have research to do and people to interview.  God.  Just what I need: the possibility of being informed in the coffeeshop that I am a bipolar crazy, or whatever while I am conducting an interview. Still, it's not something I would tolerate, ever.  But this book is not about me, or my sad situation. right now.

And btw, this is not "being a victim".  The three men who dared to call me this have had a LOT of really, really negative things to hide, and deflecting attention or smokescreening by calling the one who knows about it mentally ill, wanting to be a victim, etc., never flies with reasonable people who hear these things.  Even my rapist never called me that, and he was the most deviant person I have ever come across in my life.

Most of the people who have things to hide like this have their actions come to light eventually, no matter how assiduously they try to deflect the focus from themselves.  I never have to do a single thing; they bring it on themselves.  Better to put that assiduousness to use in getting help for themselves than putting effort to call someone a victim.  Only one person I know has turned his life around significantly, an act I consider really admirable.  He no longer calls me a victim, or anything else, and his goodness is the thing I see and know.  None of us are perfect, but all of us have our crosses to bear and our things to improve on, in ourselves. God knows I have much to do myself on that regard.

I wonder if the killer called Asha a victim somehow.  I wonder if he called the woman he raped a victim.  When he stood up at his murder sentencing to give a statement, he said, "I am the victim here." Really?  McClish is alive; no one ended his life and tossed him away like trash.  Soledad Prison is not a picnic, but he gets cable TV there, and exercise, a bed, yoga classes, etc.  Asha and her little girl have none of these things.

I have to keep in mind that this book is for and about Asha and her unborn daughter (and Asha's loved ones, including her husband, who loved her no matter what). I think it is important to keep foremost in my mind that everyone I will write about was, or is, a real person, not a character. I do not want her and Anina to be lost in the river of time. How easily my children and I could have met a similar fate still frightens me.

Asha died in 2006, and her killer was sentenced in December, 2011.  Pictures of her are beginning to fade from the Internet: there used to be so many more.  There are a few photos of her husband at the time of the abduction and murder...his obvious grief and sadness suffuse his face.

There are many pictures of Michael McClish, the killer. In all fairness, most of his photos radiate uber-creepy hostility. His arrest mugshot is chilling, frankly, yet he was, in real life, often cheerful and amiable at the store where he was the manager.  I saw him and talked to him many, many times; in some ways, more than Asha.  BTW, she was the one checker who never got a bitchy, sour look on her face when I paid with my food stamp card.  I will never forget that.

There is still controversy over whether McClish did it or not, or was framed in some way; one ridiculous theory, still floating around, is that jealous women killed Asha. Sorry, not so; her blood was found in his truck.  He was convicted of a violent rape before his murder conviction