Afternoon is not morning and I’m late to this little discipline I’ve assumed. I was upright early enough, just sidetracked. But here I am, before the day wanes, and after I’ve slipped into several chapters of Mandy’s book, Secrets in Big Sky Country, a memoir, published by shewritespress.
I was privileged early on to participated in an online essay writing class, where I met several memorable writers. I stayed in that class, writing four essays a month, for nearly four years. Believe me when I tell you it’s a great place for encouragement, instruction, support, great suggestions, and camaraderie under the direction of Sheila Bender of Writing It Real. It was a nursery for me, nurturing my skills, marshalling my thoughts, my story, and those of others. Mandy Smith was one of those. I am so happy to hold her book in my hands, recalling the shaping of some parts of this story, alive now between covers.
What she has written highlights, for me and others, the enormity of the predatory nature of males in many cultures, as they prey on little children across the nation. Sexual abuse seems to me to be epidemic in proportion.
Mandy’s story is a gut punch. She puts into words the grief and despair a child experiences without relief at the hands of her predator, with total abandonment, no one to turn to, alone with no way out. Worse, she, like countless other kids, suffers in enforced silence. The mental picture is essentially of a child hog tied and mouth taped, and totally vulnerable to her tormentor. Kept in such a condition, while outwardly appearing for all the world like a normal happy child, countless little kids are quietly and brutally broken right in front of our eyes, harboring secrets too terrible to be born. And rarely spoken aloud, ever, to anyone.
Hard enough to rise above such abuse, Mandy goes further. With amazing courage, she finds her resilient inner core, and turns beyond survival to triumph and finds a way to shine the necessary bright light on this most disturbing abhorrence. To face this misery, and then to write it in a way that lets the reader right into her experience, brings the horror up front and personal. Bravo, my girl, bravo.