"Chasing Tarzan", from chapter "Lions Target The Young"

"Chasing Tarzan" is a story about the long term effects of bullying. The memoir, a journey over decades, uncovers how childhood informs the main character’s choices in men, the relationship with her mother, and bond with her own daughter. The book opens in Africa on holiday with her husband and eleven-year old daughter. Her child’s presence, and Africa, awaken memories of Tarzan, an imaginary companion and protector from childhood tormentors. He would be the first of many Tarzans. Africa is different from her childhood fantasies. no jungle, no vines to swing on, unpredictable, and genuinely dangerous––predators target the young. Observing elephants with their offspring, predators stalking prey, amid deceptively peaceful waterholes, she struggles, wanting an adventurous life for her daughter, but one without cringe-worthy mistakes. Her fears are exasperated by the bullying her own daughter encounters, despite efforts to stop it.

The book also bears the ingredients of a panoramic travel memoir: present day Botswana and Zimbabwe, intertwined with reflections on past relationships in New Zealand, Turkey, Greece, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Amsterdam, Britain, and Minnesota. Whether ascending Striding Edge in England's Lake District, sailing through Meltemi’s onslaught in Turkey, or escaping a rock shelling in Morocco, she continually finds herself drawn to the advances of too many Mr. Wrongs. "Chasing Tarzan" is my story. Through the course of the book, I come to terms with a self-destructive pattern with men, discover my 'Real Tarzan,' and accept I cannot be my child’s ‘Tarzan,’ saving her from tormentors, bad choices, and life’s sorrows, but I can be her advocate.

My drawings also inhabit the book. These images appear as ‘drawn thoughts,’ and as one reader commented, are "sewn into the fabric of the book." Over 200 drawings were made for the project, not all will make it into the published work. I've culled a sample for viewing. I'm please to announce excerpts from the book have received literary recognition: Chapter 5 "Bones," made the national literary journal Clockhouse’s Top Ten Favorites for Nonfiction. Chapter 22, "Like Lawrence of Arabia," made the semi-finals in the 41st New Millennium Writings Literary Awards.