A discussion with Writer’s Almanac West host Lynelle Paulick tracking the quest to publish my first memoir.
I am a lifelong writer now intently fixated on narrative non-fiction that leans toward memoir, or ‘femoir’ because I most specifically speak to the circumstance of being a woman. My subjects aren’t couched in feminism as much as simply being female, but there was never a time I wanted to be more forceful about my XX chromosomes.
I have written screenplays and serial television projects for years, but recently returned to my first favorite writing medium: truth telling straight out of teenage journals about my crushes and crashes in love. I have just completed a book on the subject of fraught soul mates called Two Sociopaths in Love that I am actively seeking to publish. I am writing a companion book with the working title Men I’ve Loved Too Much.
My encompassing style is ‘spiritual reflection meets soap opera.’
‘Why wait for a Second Coming of Christ when he could be present now in another human? I didn’t have the patience. I found Levi, an atomic, cellular living being, to be a miracle. For some people relationships are routine and regular, but for me, so tortured and rare. It made me laugh when I was with him, and squint my eyes in disbelief. A giddy, dizzy thrill, an indisputable recognition of the god force behind it.’
When you are blinded by love, you have no fear of the dark.
Krishna Klaus has treaded water as mentally ill and eating disordered since childhood, with a couple of decades of single parenting pushing her to fullest despair and destitution. Relocated to affluent Southern California in her forties, she finds recovery from her addiction in the everyman spirituality of Alcoholics Anonymous and seems to be finally coming up for air from her life’s accrued trauma.
Enter the love interest, another AA member who flails and fails dramatically in his attempts at sobriety. Levi Carnes is a feral creature living on the streets in drunken debauch. His wreckage fits perfectly into Krishna’s own broken parts, and she moves immediately to save Levi from his bouts of black out drinking and untreated psychological imbalance.
As the couple spins through outbursts of addiction and PTSD, Krishna unwinds her history of childhood sexual abuse, the plight of having a homeless mother, and her resulting inability to settle into safe and sane expressions of love.
‘Krishna Klaus gives a stark clarity to her images, a real immediacy, as if I were standing right behind her when she is talking to Levi on the street, seeing him in recovery meetings. Her thinking is front and center in a way that lets the reader see how she is factoring in all the elements of her encounters. And because she has palpably laid out her hungers and loneliness, I wanted to howl, “Noooo,” when she goes off with someone that seems to fall so short of meeting her needs. But it is when I read what the author longs for, where she hurts, where she loves, that I can push through the pain of where her decisions take her. We want for Krishna.’
– Meredith Baxter, author of Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering