What started as a memoir account of my time in South Korea unfolded into a journey to reveal my own truths, that conflicted with what people thought they knew about me. The careful image of unseen words and the reveal of my childhood, as told through journals entries and a reader of those words. Through this journey, family and friends came to support my efforts, a fulfillment of a promise made to my mother to finally write the book that has taken me decades to fully understand. Through it all, I needed only to be exactly who I am. There was no need to reinvent the original. It was my life.
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An Appearance of Glass Preview
Written during the fall of 2009, during a compressed time, I set for to just simply write about my time in South Korea, which evolved into a much more painful and revealing look into my own life. Over the years, I had made many attempts to try to put into words what I lived through without glorifying the pain and suffering, and not wanting to sensationalize the horror.
This was a journey through not just a place, or time, but a journey to show that it just doesn't all get better over night. If I has written this work 20 years ago, it would have been a different story. I would have churned out another victim's tale. I possibly would have been locked into my own rendering and never would have gone into the directions I chose in my life.
I had to learn, what it meant to get through. Along the way I rediscovered my family. A brother who had been given up for adoption, an uncle who I had only seen as an adult once in my life, and a cousin I had never met helped to put together the complicated history of my life.
As stories go, we often get only a tunnel view, and I wanted to expand the view as much as possible, and leave my siblings as protected as possible. I am a flawed imperfect creature. I don't pretend to be perfect, though at times I am driven in pursuit of being perfect.
I wrote this also for those who cannot speak for themselves. For the ones who have been through hell. For those who are going through worse than I describe...it isn't about comparing wounds.
It's just a story to let you know not just that you aren't alone, but it is possible to have the life you want.
It's up to you.
'I had only one doll, only one, my baby doll without a name. The eyes would open and close and often I would play with the eyes, feeling the coarse eyelashes with my chubby toddler fingers. I would stare into the eyes, wanting them to stare back. They seemed alive but they did not have the life of my baby sister, whose tiny fragile premature body struggled to grow. It seemed odd that I was strong and she was perpetually weak, a curiosity for me to behold in her crib. She grabbed my attention more than any doll could. I wanted to play with her, but all I had was the baby doll.
The doll with blond plugs for hair, a pouting mouth was always ready to receive its bottle. Though I patiently waited for my sister to grow, the doll was a poor substitute. I would complain to my mother that my doll was not alive like my sister was and could not play with me. Often I threw the doll in disgust, only to retrieve it dutifully, to practice being a big sister. As my sister grew and was able to toddle along with me, my doll lay forgotten, her hair matted, the clothes dirty, and her eyes remained closed until one day I opened them again out of grief.
My sister and I were jumping on the bed and tragically she fell off and broke her leg. I was crushed with guilt over my sister's injury and it left me inconsolable. While my sister laid in a cast to immobilize her body so she would heal properly I was demoted to carrying around my doll. I fixed her hair, demanded a cleaning for her and then I shocked my parents by removing her leg. I gave her my sister's name, Victoria, and kept her by my side while my sister recovered. I used the doll to learn how to be a better big sister. Once my sister was whole again I had the leg on the doll restored and gave the doll to my sister. I no longer needed the doll, I had her back again.
It was only a few years later that the doll, Victoria, died in a house fire, yet my entire family survived and we left her behind.'