Saturday, December 5, 2020

Exile In Atlanta

 

That's me, holding up a copy of the book at a Barnes & Noble. It was a proud moment for me to see the book on the shelves.

The next book is coming right along this month. It is a short story collection of more stories from the community where I grew up, New Hope, Georgia in the 1980s and early 1990s. My goal is to have it written, edited and ready for publication by late January 2021. Right now, I am holed up at home writing away and only go out for walks. The pandemic rages on and there are few safe activities at the moment anyway. I have not settled on a title for this book, the writing has not given me one yet. Next, I can get on with the followup novel to Dweller On The Boundary set in the 1990s in Atlanta and Louisville, Kentucky. I am eager to write about the 90s, which was my favorite decade to this point in my life.

I recently learned that some members of my mother's family have read Dweller On The Boundary. Their reactions I am told were rather tight lipped and surprise was expressed that I shared certain details about my childhood. None of my mother's side of my family has reached out to me about the book, which is very much in contrast to my father's side of the family. Most of them have read the book and spent hours and hours discussing it with me. It has also lead to a groundswell of family nostalgia and reminiscing. Though I grew up surrounded by my father's side, I was just as well acquainted and enjoyed just as much time with my mother's side. I have many fond memories with those relatives, though in my adult life none of them speak to me. 

I am unsure why some of them do not speak with me, while others I have chosen not to speak with because of the views they have expressed about homosexuality and their own hypocrisy. Those particular people are in no place to judge me and they should understand that I know more about them and their secrets than they would expect. My mother shared with me plenty of information and her personal feelings prior to her death and my memory is excellent. 

The others that I was once close with growing up and into my early thirties that have closed themselves off from me have done so for unknown reasons. I have the impression that they believe I have done something wrong or some gossip was shared that was inaccurate. Instead of asking me directly, they would whisper like dandelion parachutes in the wind. They cannot claim that they do not know how to reach me. I have had the same phone number for fifteen years, the same primary email address for sixteen years and if they do not know those pieces of information they can surely acquire them from other family members. I am also on Facebook after a year and a half absence and there is this easily found website with my name. I am certainly not hiding. If they cared enough to read the book, I thought that they would be curious to discuss it with me, given much of it was secret to all, but me for decades and is filled with revelations. I expect that I will not hear from any of them which is a shame and a missed opportunity at reunion. Let those dandelion parachutes fly on and thank you for reading, I suppose.

If those relatives do read this, I have one message and that is that I do not see myself as a victim or a survivor - I am a human. That message can apply to anyone that reads Dweller On The Boundary.