It begins with an unsolicited memory: I am three years old and it hurts to pee. Now a middle-aged scientist, I am incredulous. My family may have been eccentric but it was loving, surely not supportive of sexual abuse. But, as cracks in a levee precede a flood, the memories keep coming. My father’s affairs, his self-indulgence, his temper. My mother’s passivity. The signs are plain. A succession of body memories sends me into a fog of dissociation. In an eerie echo of the abuse, an anonymous harasser pesters me with obscene letters. My mother is dying and I must decide whether to confront her. In the end I transcend the past through an intense relationship with a gifted therapist and a dramatic reunion with split-off parts of self.
My completed memoir (83,000 words) reaches Beyond Memory to the sensations and revelations of child sexual abuse as they are uncovered, one by one, like clues in an unsolved mystery. It also goes beyond memories to healing integration.
Well, friends, I sent my query letter with this description to seven literary agents today. Wish me luck!