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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Having an Ounce of Faith

I did not know that one of my favorite books, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, is considered true crime.

This is an interesting, yet difficult genre with quite a history.  I think it's important to elevate this book well above the luridity of many books in the genre and go for the best writing I can do. There is very little advice to go on, Internet-wise, about how to write in this subject.  I'm neither Mailer nor Capote. Ann Rule is about the best person to read in terms of process, being sensitive to the subject matter and to the people closest to the crime.  She rarely inserts anything about her own life in these books, EXCEPT for the book I still consider her finest, The Stranger Beside Me.  She was a struggling young mother when she wrote that book--and speaks of Bundy, a serial murder, and his empathy for her in her own life situation.  This was the conundrum of Theodore Bundy--when he wanted to feign compassion, he could do it.

Someone said, "If you don't tell her story, who will?"  I don't want Asha to be forgotten, as so many victims of domestic violence--even this extreme form--are.  I remember her; I identify with her; I have never heard anything bad said about her at all, not in the press, not from people who knew her, no one.  How many people can live a life and have not one negative thing said about them?  I think that is the most amazing part of her life.

I think the only "flaw"--which is not a flaw; it is the fault of negative human beings around them--is that she may have attracted McClish because something in him saw the light of her being, her soul as it were, and wanted to eliminate it. It is as if she had too much light for this world with such evil in it. I don't know why people with criminal minds want to do this.  It's as if they are malignantly jealous, that they just want to bulldoze all the good in the world, or they just hurt the people who care about them.  Asha was a loving, caring soul--that much I did know about her.  I admire her bravery and honesty; I was so timid at her age, and in some ways, still am at 55.  There are places I want to move forward in my own life, and decision-making is incredibly hard for me.

McClish's story has tragic elements, too--he was adopted out of bad circumstances and I can't seem to find any information on this.  I think some of the people who knew him, particularly those at the market who employed him probably out of sympathy, saw the little boy he was, and not the violent man he grew into, for whatever reason. I know a lot of adoptees who are taken out of horrible circumstances and they do not become criminals.  I know his family loved him...I think part of this book might explore the relative mystery of this, WITHOUT sympathy towards what he did.

Well, to get all this out of my mind for a little while, I am going to go sing with my group, the Voice Weavers.  I know they will be happy to see me--I was absent for the last two weeks.

Back from Voice Weavers--amazing night.  Sometimes I still feel sad when I sing, but that is going away.