Monday, June 05, 2006

The Looming Fog: Weakening the fear monster

My book, The Looming Fog, is going to be born on June 15.
When I first conceived The Looming Fog, I did not know of the journey it would take me on. It was a journey into the lives of others and into myself. Like all books, it introduces you to many new lives. The book certainly talks about some unpopular topics; some people have even proceeded to call it “controversial.” And I suppose it is controversial, as is anything that calls for a critical look at the status quo. But I do not believe the book is exigent in its call for a change; it simply asks one to see the effect of the status quo.

Through writing this book, I have learned a lot about myself, about my thoughts, my ideas, and my opinions, and I have developed some new convictions. Above all, I have learned to be true to myself and to never forget that one fact that binds us all together: no matter who we are, what we are, where we are, or how we are, we are all humans and we deserve to be treated as such. Anything less than this fact is inhumane and is the worst and lowest kind of primitive.

Very so often, we categorize people, and we do need these categories for organizing our everyday living. However, we have become so obsessed with categorizing, so addicted to it, that anything without a category immediately provokes the fear monster within us. There is nothing wrong with categories; they make us feel comfortable; they help us define our selves. But…Yes, there is a but. Sometimes we have used these categories against each other. No, many times we have used these categories as a permanently fogged eyeglass, blinding us eternally to the fact that the person next to us, different in whatever way they are, are most importantly like us in that they are human. Our humanity never leaves us because we are different, even if we are different in a bad way. Sadly, we have used our categories to determine who can be treated humanely and who cannot. Some categories have become the corrupt judge that decides whose person’s life is worthy, worthy to be meaningful. It is time to take off this damaged eyeglass. It is time to see ourselves in each other.

The Looming Fog is about categories, the potentially dividing monster that we welcome, uncritically, into our midst. The book begs that we reconcile our need for categories with our use for them; that is, we should not abuse them. Categories can be the pillars of our society, but like an earthquake, they can also shatter us into bits, making us more and more alienated from one another. Consequently, the next time we look at a mirror, all we would see is someone on the other side of us, instead of simply “us.”

Writing this book has not been the easiest of things. I can even say that it is one of the most challenging things I have done to date (trying to live a Christian life definitely earns first place). I have cried, I have laughed, and I have taken my mind to places I did not even know I could go. You will notice my use of birth metaphors like “conceive” and "born”. This is because this book is like a child to me. It went through a gestational phase, growing to different stages, preparing itself for the life (outside of me, outside of my influences) that it is about to take on.

Books, unlike other children, mature the day they are born. They leave home, ready to face the world, to get their share of scars and laughs. Then maybe, just maybe one day they will develop wings and fly back home to say:

“I once was lost and confused. I once was misunderstood. People lost their eyes for me, and then I too could not see. But I screamed and then I cried, and someone recognized my voice. Someone echoed it. Then someone else screamed of joy and hope, and I echoed that. Now I have found my voice, and I am heard. My eyes can now see, and I am seen. I come home at peace with my scars and my laughs. I am home, at last. Let me tell you what I have seen and heard.”

Oh, what a happy day!

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At 5/6/06 10:31 PM, Blogger Susan Abraham said...

Dear Rose, I am so excited for you.
So the 15th turns out to be that all-important day. On reading this essay, it is fairly easy to see the visions that are fast shaping your focussed writing journey. I'm sure this book offers challenging and exciting new insights to take your writing on to many new levels. I hear your heart beating in this entry.
Congratulations, darling and all the best.
much love

At 7/6/06 4:08 AM, Blogger Rosemary Esehagu said...

Thank you, Susan, for your kind words.

Yes, my heart is beating a bit anxiously as I wonder about how people will receive The Looming Fog. Nevertheless, I have done my part, and I expect my book to speak boldly and unapologetically for itself.

I have been waiting for quite a while for June 15, and I am happy it is finally only a few days away. I no longer have to respond to the queries of the people who have pre-ordered the book and are waiting impatiently for it. I tire of saying, “It’s not here yet. No, until after June 15, remember?” I can finally say, “It is on its way to you now, I’m sure.” Still, I must admit that their impatience buys a lovely smile for my face.

To celebrate, I am going to be having a book launch party soon, in DC. How I wish you could be there!

With love.

At 7/6/06 6:47 AM, Blogger Lotus Reads said...

Oh, Rosemary, I was excited when I placed my order for the book, but after reading your post and having a better idea of what to expect from "The Looming Fog", I am so impatient to receive it, I can hardly stand it! :)

I know there's a whole bunch of us waiting for June 15, may it get here soon!

We share your excitement Rosemary and may this be just the first of many dreams about to come true for you.

At 8/6/06 9:37 PM, Blogger Susan Abraham said...

Hi Rose, what a heady feeling! Just 6 more days. We'll be there with you in spirit, rejoicing in your success.

At 8/6/06 11:23 PM, Anonymous Clarissa said...

Hi Rosemary,
Found your blog via Susan's and firstly, congratulations on your book. (:

I am most intrigue by the storyline you have and would like to ask, if it is possible for me to get a copy of it to review for the newspapers? I would certainly want to share it with all other Malaysian (and non-Malaysian) readers.

Perhaps you can let me know how I may contact your publisher etc. Coz, over in Malaysia, I'd only ever got books from the distributors and you don't always get the choicest and most intriguing picks (and even if they are, they tend to be a little dated)...except when I write in to the publishers directly. (:

I suppose I could even buy it if they have it though I would like to review before it's been sitting too long in the shops, or Amazon. (:

Though I would also like to start reviewing fiction of other languages (whether English or translated) in the national language of my country because I do know that my friends and readers in that language do read English novels as well, just that I think, for whatever reasons, they like to read discussions and reviews on it in the language they are most comfortable with.

All the best in your writing, and my hat off to you, Rosemary. (:

At 9/6/06 4:26 AM, Blogger Rosemary Esehagu said...

Hello, Lotus, thank you for your eagerness to explore the world of The Looming Fog. It is so encouraging to see your excitement! I do pray that this will be the start of something wonderful. Already, this whole book thing has allowed me to interact with people from different parts of the world. Thank you for your support and encouragement.

Hi there, Susan. Yes, I am counting the days. June 15 is going to be a regular day, but I hope the days, months, and years that follow will be something more... I am looking forward to talking with readers, to hearing their thoughts about what The Looming Fog means to them. Thank you for counting with me.

Welcome to my blog, Clarissa, and thank you for your comment. It is a pleasure to hear that you find my book's storyline intriguing.
I think it is perfectly reasonable to want to talk about life and everything in it in one's own language. Being fluent in another language does not (and should not) necessitate ignoring one's own native language. My mom reminds me of this constantly. I think it is great that you want to review/write in your national language, and you should pursue this aggressively.
By the way, you can get Oge Creations Books' contact info at Hope to “see” you again.

I want to take this time to thank all my readers, wherever you are in the world. You make writing this blog a delightful event.

As an aside, blogger has been having some loading difficulties. But they are trying so hard to get everything working properly. I hope I will not have to re-write the words above.

At 11/6/06 10:02 PM, Blogger Susan Abraham said...'s time for the countdown, now.
love as always from me


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