THIS IS FOR THE TEENS ON THE FRINGES OF SOCIETY I'M HONORED TO TREAT...
The characters of Jaya & Rasa are amalgams of some diverse LGBTQ teens I’ve treated, ones facing horrific situations (sex trafficked, physically/emotionally/sexually abused, bullied, and/or suffering from untreated mental health issues including suicidal thoughts and attempts). I’m grateful my version of their struggles and triumphs has been included on the 2019 In the Margins Recommended Fiction Book List!
“In the Margins strives to find the best books for teens living in poverty, on the streets, in custody - or a cycle of all three. Our charge is to seek out and highlight the best fiction and non-fiction titles (Pre-K through adult) of high-interest appeal to youth ages 9-21 living in poverty, on the streets, or in custody...Youth feedback is a critical factor in both book nomination and selection.” —In the Margins Selection Committee
A photo collage of a bit of my BLOODY SEOUL journey.
Top row: Left- Cover lettering, Right- how I see the main character, Yi Kyung-seok (aka Rocky), in my mind's eye
Middle row: Left to right- I don't smoke, but Rocky does. Rocky wears fly, expensive suits like his dad (who happens to be the most notorious gangster in Seoul), always carries his knife, and always, always dresses sharp.
Bottom row: Rocky drinks soju with his boys, visits the Han River often, likes to make the yolk in his bibimbap "cry" (just like his mom taught him), and loves opera (Pavarotti is his favorite).
I know what it's like to be falling. Now that I'm on solid ground, I can't stop, won't stop, trying to lift others up.
It took decades to escape the prison
Of Indian & American patriarchy and I’m newly arisen
Sober from the narcosis of Bollywood heroin: to be a heroine-
long-haired, buxom woman in need of a male “good samaritan”
To save her. To validate her worthiness.
Not so anymore. These days I am my own hero, impervious
To misogynistic fog, walking tall in my Timberlands
Stomping over narrow-minded hoopla, ready to withstand
The negativity that keeps coming when I’m brave & use my well-intentioned voice
To help others discover their truth and choices.
Free from the shackles of giving a fuck what you think
Cuz you haven’t lived in my skin or been on my brink.