Most of my writing conveys the high degree of awareness I had, even as a young child, about society’s disenfranchised – especially un-assimilated immigrants and economically under-privileged. Those two characteristics seem intertwined so much of the time. In large part, I think I’m exceptionally qualified to write about experiences from that world because I’ve actually lived in it until, when I was a young teen, my family moved to the USA. Truthfully, my stories and experience aren’t entirely unique.
There are so many stories, essays and books in this genre out there – those written by other children of survivors. But two obvious characteristics differentiate my work from that of others in my cohort. First, too many writers in the genre try to make light of the nature of secondary post-traumatic stress and its associated loss through the use of humor. Secondly, other writers convey tremendous bitterness and it saturates their work. In my opinion, neither approach works particularly well. Sure, of course I’m angered and saddened by all the suffering and loss that was inflicted on my parents. How could I not be? Who wouldn’t be? The fallout of their altered personalities had a huge impact on me and continues to do so in surprising and strange ways daily, especially when I least expect it.
On the positive side, it’s precisely these observations and experiences that have proven incredibly conducive to my writing process. Ultimately, they benefit readers. I also feel fortunate to have heard my parents’ first-hand accounts, gained tremendous insights from their stamina, then found a medium though which to convey those stories to a larger population. In a sense, my parents’ stories and mine meld together and in doing so they have an opportunity to become a part of the public record.