Last week, Fierce Solidarity was published. The anxiety of publishing a book is fairly specific, and I'm not even going to try to explain it. What I will say is that this book is exactly what I intended to write. Four years ago I had a vision of a book that would be accessible, heart-driven, and grounded. It would act as a window to the real possibilities of relationship abuse for those who had not been exposed, it would shed some light on practical ways to prevent long term relationship abuse, and it would offer some gentleness and healing to those who have already suffered. It would be a beginning woman book. A resting spot on the way toward womanhood where teens and young women could arm themselves with some knowledge and encouragement for the journey ahead.
I set some firm boundaries at the outset. I was only going to write what my experience has informed, and I wasn't going to hold any worthwhile truth back. I was not going to ask for permission from anyone. I would not be swayed from my original vision. I was not going to rely on research, which is worthy, needed, and useful, but really can only take us so far. The researchers have been standing up and speaking out, and so have the writers of memoirs, the counselors, the mental health professionals. And yet, the statistics are still ugly as ever.
There was a gap that I felt rather than saw. I did, literally, no research at the beginning of this project. I didn't look to see if something like Fierce was already out there. I just started gathering stories and writing. Later, I was encouraged to look at the field. There are multitudes of books on relationship violence. Scads. Hoards. Masses. Most of them are written by people who are far more educated than I. Most of these people have counseled countless families and individuals in crisis. I read a few. They confirmed that I was sniffing out the right trail. Their value was real, but still, Fierce was gnawing me from the inside out. I had to get it out of me. Also gnawing was the thought that the books I read would not reach the most at risk population: teens and the youngest women.
Some books that are geared toward the same audience as Fierce have been brought to my attention. But, seriously, a handful of books directed toward the most at risk population in a sea of books on relationship violence? We need more.
I'm so proud to have added my voice to the mix. I hope many, many other writers will do so as well. No one speaks in a way that reaches all people, so the more of us there are, the better.
The first purchased copies of Fierce are landing on doorsteps today. The work is just beginning, and I could not be more hopeful that someone, somewhere will be well served by this book.