She and I On The Beachfront
I often teach Sherman Alexie’s video interview where he says that writing is a very self-conscious profession, and I know all too well that feeling. I was told that if you think of a story that was never told, either you hit the jackpot or there is a reason why the story was never told. In my case, I hope for about fifty percent of each.
No matter what one writes, truly great writers write with passion not with mechanics. After studying taboo subjects of children and sexuality, I decided that there was a story never told. I read Lolita. I read Tiger, Tiger, and I read The End of Alice. I listened to many songs while growing up that make sexual references to young girls, but the offenders of these books seemed mostly the worst kind. Yet we adore Lewis Carroll, who adored little girls, and we have a culture that sexualizes young girls and teaches them to be noticed at all costs. Maybe part of us is the monster we are terrified of, and we are actually more afraid of the truth. No, my book would be different. I would tell the story of a boy trapped in the world of victim-offender. He would say exactly what he thought in unflinching detail.
I thought I had the perfect story, but then the attacks came. The book became about me, the pariah. I was attacked from every angle, and I gave up writing nearly ten times. Somehow, I returned. I brought the book to agents, and the ones that read it said, “Hey this is good, poetic; it has strong voice, but I am not sure of audience.” Hey, who is going to like it? Then I learned that if I did publish traditionally, everyone else would be messing with my “baby” and my art, and my vision. I decided to go Indy.
I was going to cast the book as the enigma. It is what it is not and that is truer to life than anything else. It will defy category, as the devil would not serve; but its message would be altruistic. I was going to tell the story of a boy who was a victim of abuse that watched those he knew get compromised by abuse. But that is not the politically correct story, for Glen has attraction toward girls as well as women. He lives in fear every moment and that fear makes him angry and a bit over the top. You love him, hate him, and cry for him. If anyone can understand what would help our girls avoid danger, Glen would.
But great stories have to be written well, and I worked with many editors and looked at over ten Galleys before clicking “publish.” But I had to say “no” to some editors and stick to my guns. If you want convention, go elsewhere. If you want a ride, then fasten your seatbelts. Morality depends on how hungry you are. Then the true work began.
Books don’t sell themselves, and I had given birth to a child that was warring with every possible would-be reader. She was a lone soldier storming the stormy beachhead of Normandy with only a snake as her weapon. She was the nameless child model carrying the world of adult taboo. She, like I, broke all the rules.
Publicists rejected her, media outlets ignored her, and Facebook all but shut her down. For every step she took, she was hit even further backwards, but passion is passion. Her greatest fans would be silent, hiding in secret to avoid discovery and her critics the loudest.
Yet, I found a publicist who believed in my art as much as I believed in it, and together helped the book fight through. As Winston Churchill said, “If you are in hell, walk through it.” As one solder said to the others in the Normandy invasion. You can either die here on the beach or die further up.
I choose dying further up. That’s progress.
Then something happened, people started to notice. Of all the people who read my book, most say that Glen is likeable. My test readers, some of which were victims of sex abuse said that the book is “serious literature on sex abuse,” and some of my readers who are past offenders say exactly the same thing. Past victim and abuser agree. Is this a spot for healing? I don’t know, but I and she will die further up the beach trying.
About the author:
Justin Forest has five college degrees, including a MLSt in taboo studies and a PhD in literature and criticism. He has compiled information for the United Nations on the anti-child sex trafficking movement and has since transitioned to sexuality research. He's a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and teaches themes of girlhood and sexuality. His debut novel, Lolita in the Lion's Den, was published in September 2014.
For more info, visit: www.lolitalion.com
Lolita in the Lion's Den or Pre-Tween
From Sexual Abuse to Empowerment
by Justin Forest
File Size: 3019 KB
Print Length: 186 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Kindle Link
About the book:
A young man must overcome a horrific past in order to release his inner demons in Justin Forest’s shocking new novel, Lolita in the Lion’s Den or Pre-Tween Juxtaposition.
Glen has fought for years to escape a brutal home life, one in which he acts as his mother’s only friend and to accept that his father has been molesting his sister for over a decade.
But after dropping out of high school and spending years working aimless jobs, Glen finally turns a new chapter when he enters the thrill of college life.
But with that freedom comes disturbing sexual desires and inclinations. Having become increasingly reliant on his own fantasy world, Glen soon finds himself mired in the world of adult pornography and struggling with his attraction to both women and girls.
Haunted by the damage his father’s actions wrought on his family and other victims, Glen must come to terms with his admiration for the exact thing his father so actively destroyed.
More relevant than ever in today’s hypersexualized world, Lolita in the Lion’s Den or Pre-Tween Juxtaposition is an emotionally provocative read that gets to the heart of some of society’s most pressing issues.