When I was eighteen, I left my parental home. With only two plastic bags with some clothes, I faced an uncertain future. I left, realising that everyone I knew would never speak to me again including my parents, my sisters and my brother. I was excommunicated and I had to restart my life finding new friends, new family, new goals and most important I had to find love because I lost that of my parents.
Now, 25 years later, I still get the question what it’s like to live as a Jehovah's Witness. In this book I give a detailed look about my experiences to live as a Jehovah's Witness and what the consequences were when I left the community. The struggles, the sadness, the anger, the fear and trying to find a way to live a normal live again. Learning to let go of rules....
Part of the book:
(my own translation from the Dutch text)
On my way to the shed to catch my bike, I slammed the kitchen door behind me. So hard that the glas of the window was clanging. It was raining, the dirty drizzle kind. Small drops, but before you know it, you are soaked. I felt my face slowly getting wet from the rain, which thoughtlessly mixed with my tears. My mother ran after me.
"Paula! Wait! "She called.
I turned around slowly. I saw a middle-aged woman with gray hair, a yellowish haze over it. Her oldfashioned flower skirt waving in the wind. A tired woman, tired of fighting with me. When she called my name, I had some hope that our relationship could still be saved, that I could stay.
About the book:
The manuscript is divided in two parts. The first part is about my childhood and how every day was filled with religious activities. I also share the moments when I had my first doubts about the things I was taught.
Despite the doubts, I lived some years as a good Witness, following the rules. Trying to become accepted. By means of my active dedication, I was rewarded with respect and acknowledgement. I was seen.
I then started to realize this pretending was not the thing I could maintain. That I needed to break away and find my own way of living.
The second part covers the 'after life'. I had to find new friends, learn about real love, finding a new goal in life. However old habits don't easily die. On hindsight my youth had more impact on my new life than I had realised. It was difficult to accept love from others, portraying the "old love" I had received on my new relationships. Suddenly there were no strict rules to follow anymore and I needed to guide myself to find meaning.
About me as a writer:
Paula Keessen (1976) released in 2013 a poetry album called The River of Blue. She sees writing as a fight. A fight against the volatility of everyday life. A fight against the fragility of our memory. A fight against the temporary nature of our existence. She sees her life as a life of simplicity that must be preserved, so she writes, to remember and to be remembered.
About the River of Blue:
"Very recognizable poems. Clear and meaningful. It reads easily and the poems are concise."
"Amazing how the writer expresses very personal experiences and make them recognizable for everyone, or at least so, that it is understandable to the reader, even if he has completely different experiences.
The reasons for my project:
Based on the dutch text I got good feedback from friends that encouraged me to publish the book. Being a global topic I am considering to also create an English version. This project is to determine the interest for this book-of-life as well as being a way to help me fund the initial version.
I finished my manuscript in Dutch. I only need an editor to check it and then its ready to be published. The publisher will also take care of a good quality cover and layout.
I also want to get enough funds to translate and publish my autobiography in English.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge I face is to find a trustable translator for the translating part. I already have some contacts so when this project is succesful the only thing I have to do is to make the right choice.
The editing part for the Dutch manuscript can be done by my publisher, same one that published my book The River of Blue in 2013. Since the Dutch version is already finished I think it can be published earlier than the deadline I set for myself on april 2019.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)