Memoirists often write for understanding, as I did. There is something about seeing your own words on the page that offers tangibility and perspective to experiences. When Dr. Thomas Fudge wrote Heretics and Politics, a book about the history of the United Pentecostal Church and a story that heavily involved my father, I was thrilled to be interviewed. Being asked questions about how I experienced life as his daughter was a first. No one had ever asked before. Why would they? I was long gone from the scene. A footnote.
I read Heretics and Politics avidly when it was released only to discover I was still little more than a footnote and felt unreasonably crushed. What was I expecting? To have my life explained to me or perhaps to have my father explained to me? How could anyone, even the estimable Dr. Fudge, do such a thing?
And then I remembered Toni Morrison’s words:
If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.
And so I did. Thank you, Ms. Morrison, for your words of truth and beauty, and the sharp nudge. Rest in peace.
Do you have a story to tell?
The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid
Of the six men who were murdered during the Salem Witch Trials, five were known to be excessively violent. Bear in mind, domestic abuse was legal in those days (ahem*marital rape is still legal in Ohio). Wives, children, servants and slaves, livestock, all were the property of white male landowners and could be beaten at will. Severe violence and murder were frowned upon, but the day-to-day slapping around necessary to keep everyone in line was perfectly fine. One of the accused landowners had murdered a hired hand in a fit of rage. The hired hand’s mother was in the crowd gathered to watch the landowner hang.
There were no reports of sexual abuse. It wasn’t a thing.
Who would report it? To whom? What would happen to the abuser? No one, to nobody, and nothing.
Interesting, though, isn’t it?
Highly recommended source:
A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience
book by Emerson Baker
Rumor has it I have been slacking with the blog posting situation. It is true. I have taken a giant step away from social media lately in order to enjoy my school break and to relish the completion of my book launch. I have been hanging out with the hubby, the dog, my daughter, reading, going to yoga, and breathing. Whew.
Here are some things I have learned during my first year in Ohio:
Midwesterners are kind.
Gentle landscapes are just as beautiful as dramatic scenery.
Wildlife is completely different-giant groundhog things and muskrats, cardinals and yellow finches. No whales.
It takes time to relax into love.
The sharp pointy edges of emotional armor require conscious effort to dismantle and set aside. Taking them off is merely the first freeing, weightless step. Then comes inching away from the weapon pile. Letting them gather dust and rust. Wandering so far away you can’t remember where they are or how you ever got them on.
The Uncomfortable Confessions Of a Preacher’s Kid is available now.
A couple of weeks ago Dr. Clint Heacock of Mindshift Podcast interviewed me about The Uncomfortable Confessions Of a Preacher’s Kid. The interview was a great experience because he put me at ease right away with his thoughtful curiosity and willingness to let our conversation unfold, despite the fact that the husband had to ransack the snack cupboard in the middle of recording!
Here it is: Interview Link
We talk about growing up fundie, fathers with secrets, making peace with it all, and sex, of course.
Dr. Heacock can be followed on Twitter to keep up on the latest conversation regarding deconversion. And of course, follow his blog!
Sex blogger Jill Hamilton of In Bed With Married Women writes about all things sex-positive with blunt, hilarious honesty. As it turns out, she also does book reviews! Lucky me! Here’s what she has to say about The Uncomfortable Confessions Of a Preacher’s Kid:
Click here for the review-scroll down the page a bit to get to the review. But then go back and read about her sex toy giveaway.
Or read it here:
The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid by Ronna Russell is a wonderfully honest memoir about growing up in an extremely religious household, marrying a not-so great closeted man and, discovering later in life, that her narcissistic, controlling father was dying from AIDS. Just thinking about it, I am now ashamed that I used the word “harrowing” for going to the stinking post office, when this is the real harrowing business of life. But it’s also a hopeful story. Ronna is strong as hell and finding her way just fine. The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid is definitely in the genre of jacked-up childhood/eccentric parent reads like The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and Educated by Tara Westover.
Also follow Jill on Twitter because she is funny and smart. @Jill_Hamilton
I am THRILLED to share ChickLit Cafe‘s 5 star review of The Uncomfortable Confessions Of a Preacher’s Kid:
HERE IT IS!
The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid by Ronna Russell is a compelling, engaging and unrestrained memoir about the author’s journey toward acknowledgement, self-discovery and ultimately acceptance. It is a candid, straightforward and personal account of her intimate exploration to realize herself as a woman and mother, and to discovering and accepting her sexuality. With frequent refreshing humor, Ronna Russell recounts her memories from childhood, emerging adulthood, and her past as she relates to readers her rearing by a Pentecostal preacher, within the church and with all its stringent rules and practices. It details her shocking experiences with a controlling, oppressive religious father and a closeted homosexual husband, and her search for genuine authenticity. She writes with honest, eye-opening and jaw dropping description. Her confessions are those that most keep secret, but in doing so, she has brought readers a relatable and inspirational read that ultimately empowers women with the ability to survive and flourish.
The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid is written in such brilliant, insightful way, with many pieces of the puzzle beautifully woven together to bring absolution to the reader. Ronna Russell’s truthful, passionate and unique voice shines through as she chronologically recounts her life from childhood to the most recent past. Heart breaking, yet inspiring, this memoir had me in tears as I turned the pages quickly to find out more about her indescribable and sometimes horrific life.
The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid by Ronna Russell reveals how one woman was able to overcome her past, beat the odds and go on to live a fulfilling life in all areas, while now helping other women in turn. Chick Lit Cafe highly recommends this raw, tender and well written biography to women that desire to be inspired, empowered and understand their own struggle surrounding sex —that leads to freedom.
The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid by Ronna Russell is a must read, 5 star memoir that is revealing, rich and filled with inspiration.
Purchase The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid by Ronna Russell today!