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

ashaveilbook.blogspot.com


Monday, October 06, 2014

Pondering

As I start to shape this book, I found myself writing a line to everyone who knew Asha, that I am trying to show who she was, to re-build her out of memory, my own, and those of everyone who loved her, but writers can never really reconstruct a person entirely, and perfectly, though we strive to.  I don't think even someone with the prowess of Truman Capote can do this.

I think these late-night questionings fall along the lines of:

1) Am I some sort of ghoul for wanting to write this?  Do I really want to tear open old wounds for the people who loved this woman?  Then I tell myself, to the best of my ability as a human being, I will listen to anyone who knew her who wants to talk to me, and if all I can do is be a witness to their pain, that is my real purpose, beyond and above this book: to be a shoulder to cry on, to laugh with, to remember.  I will try to hold what is offered and not try to "interview" people, just hold in my hands and heart what they offer, to listen with a full and loving heart, and do with that what I can, and connect with people on a heart level because that is just what I am like as a human being and a fellow person, and I will honor them for being willing to go to the hardest place imaginable to tell me about their loved one...and to listen NOT because I am writing a book, but because I care about people.

2) Does the world need another book like this?  Yes, because these crimes against women and children never end.  Maybe, as I have said, I can light a small candle in a vast, encroaching dark.  I have come to believe there is evil in the world.  Perhaps by showing this woman's light and the loss to the world, I can push the evil back just a little.

3) Do I have the courage to do this?  I have to find it.  Every day, I question myself as a writer.  Every day, I put my heart back into it.

4) Do I have the skill to do this?  Well, I can only do the best I can.  I remember that my intent is to honor a beautiful and incredibly courageous life--what courage Asha had!!--and to illuminate something about our society.

This is what I think about late at night.  Writing about such a subject brings up all sorts of moral, ethical, even spiritual questioning, but I think that is good, as it helps me focus on what is good and true, re-commit to try not to re-hurt the people who knew her, and ultimately try to write this well in honor of a truly good person.

And Asha...sweet Asha, I am so sorry that you came to America, this country I was born in, this country my great-grandparents came to for a better life, and this is what happened to you.  This is another sorrow in my heart for you who came here giving and seeking only happiness.  I am ashamed we did not protect you here.