I am currently working on a coming-of-age memoir, set in rural Minnesota during the 1980s.
When I was only seven-years-old, I watched as my family’s livestock, tractors, and even the dirt under our feet were auctioned off. Large investment companies snatched up land that had been in my family for generations. To make matters worse, a close uncle contracted HIV and soon developed full-blown AIDS. Being a political activist, his struggle attracted the attention of a Twin Cities journalist, who wrote about the end of his life in a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper series, AIDs in the Heartland. Although poignant and eye-opening, the series divided my ultra-conservative community and nearly tore my family apart.
Yesterday’s Castle is the story of how I navigated life in a small town following these tragedies. It is about the role religion and fear play within rural, working class communities. And, ultimately, it’s about taking control of my life’s narrative, refusing to be defined by life’s bullies, the church, and the expectations of previous generations. By doing so, I gained the courage to leave home and seek experiences beyond the borders of my hometown.