April 22md approcheth, and with it the brooding sense of dread that accompanies it every year. I have written hundreds of pages about it. It’s the centerpiece of my memoir, since my life changed profoundly on that day.
I don’t know what to do with any of this. On one hand, I feel that it would be good to share it: perhaps one person might be helped, might not feel so all alone. On the other hand, I don’t want to contribute to the gross sensationalism that feeds off of any seeming misfortune, if it is shocking enough.
The extremely short version: on April 22, 1970, which was the very first Earth Day, I was drugged, abducted, and brutally raped in a dark basement by an older man whom I knew slightly. I was sixteen, and a virgin.
I never told anyone. The physical damage required two surgeries to repair. The damage to my soul is much more complicated.
I ran away from home shortly afterward, and lived the life of a vagrant. Pretty sixteen year old girls who live on the streets get raped a lot, so that was part of the unpleasant bargain. I soon learned to leave my body when it happened. That was a good survival strategy then, but as one might imagine, it wasn’t a very good thing once I got off the street and began having consensual relationships.
Writing helps. After the first 20 years of denial, after my first marriage failed, I started writing like my life depended on it. And in large part it does. Writing has been the keystone in my recovery process from the monster case of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that I had acquired.
But what to do with the hundreds, maybe thousands by now, of pages that reside on my hard drive, my notebooks, and in every digital device I own? Every resource on publishing tells me that I need to have a completed manuscript before I approach an agent. So I need to get my life together, literally.
This coming Earth Day, I hope to spend some time organizing, going through chapters, beginning to take control and make some order in my life of the page. I feel that what I need is to control “it,” rather than “it” controlling me. What do you think?
Copyright 2012 Laura P. Schulman all rights reserved