“This is not the book I thought I was going to write. I spent some time online beforehand, downloaded a basic template for a nice self-help book, and wrote a three-hundred or so page summary of my story. I included quite a bit of information on how I got sober and how I live my life today… coming in the next book 🙂
I’d recently seen a guy, Mike Robbins, (now a friend) speak at a conference and liked his message and the new book he had out at the time. I hit him up a while later and asked who his editor was.
I contacted Melanie Bates a few days later and had a brief conversation before wrapping up the manuscript. “Send it on over,” she said. So I did…and waited impatiently for her reply.
I was out-of-my-skin excited for our call the following week. She answered and we dove right in. “I only read the first few chapters.” Silence. “It was good.” Silence. “This is not the book you are supposed to write.”
And so, my relationship with the Book Shaman began.
I don’t remember what I said…probably “Okay. What?” or something like that. She proceeded to explain that she thought my writing style and my story would be better served in a memoir. “Show them…don’t tell them.”
Mel changed my life. Not just with her insight into the best way to convey my story…but by getting to know me, trusting me, gaining my trust, and being brutally honest with me during the process. It was no picnic!
I’ve talked to a lot of people about my past, but she was able to coax bits and pieces of the story from some darker parts of my memory. Not by asking directly, but by asking for “A little more here.” or “A little bit of clarity.” Or “You’re talking about the weather a lot here…what are you needing to say?”
I wrote. She offered edits. I wrote more. We talked. We laughed. We cried. We became family during the process.
Writing this book with Mel’s help has been one of the most profound experiences in my adult life. It wasn’t easy. She persuaded me back into seven-year-old me’s skin. She helped me get back in character. She taught me how to show my story through my words instead of just telling it.
I realize now, after hearing from so many of you, that being in my skin while you read the story helped you understand what sexual abuse does to a child. How it confuses our thoughts. How it taints our view of ourselves and the world around us. How it creates walls around our hearts. How it makes us hate ourselves and life itself.
I couldn’t have shown you this without Mel.
So…Mel…Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me get in touch with all those parts of myself that I’d forgotten or misplaced. Thank you for helping me find that little boy. Thank you for helping me let him know he’s gonna be okay. Thank you for helping me help others understand. Thank you for helping me get this story out so that other boys and men might suffer less.”
Brad Watson, Author of Prey