Reading and writing have always been the best forms of escape for me. The idea of sharing some of the ideas that float around in this nut case head of mine was not easy, but here I am two years after becoming a published author and the idea of sharing the stories in my head are still just as scary as it was from the start.
The first version of “Danny’s Grace” was quite a different animal than the version that was actually published. I do not regret the first version, nor do I regret the mass changes and edits that created the final draft. What is it? It’s a mixture of crazy, depraved, and long-suffering anguish that comes with being a product of child abuse and a disengaged population who refuses to look at the realities that so many children face in their everyday life.
Danny Rush, his best friend Carson, and his sister Janelle were forced to face realities that most adults would never be able to understand unless they had lived it themselves. The problem is real, the struggles feel endless, and help is all but non-existent. Whether “Danny’s Grace” is a tragic tale of three kids who had to sink or swim, or if it is an angry young man hell-bent on self-destruction, it is all subjective. The reality is that child abuse is nothing short of horrendous and the outcome is rarely, if ever, perfect. Danny makes no apologies for his wrongdoing, but he does suffer many years of guilt and shame for things he had no control over.
Child abuse leaves scars that cannot be healed. That was the case with Kami Ring who died after someone she trusted molested her and then killed her. That’s real life… Baby Brianna was abused from the moment she left the hospital as a newborn. She was pinched, beaten, raped, kicked, and punched. She never stood a chance. That’s real life… Nixzmary Brown was just 7-years-old when she died at the hands of her stepfather. The system failed her just as it has thousands of other children along the way. Nixzmary was tied up like an animal, was forced to use a cat litter box as a toilet, and to look at a bathtub filled with water where, if she was deemed bad, she was held under water to teach her a lesson. That’s real life…
Although there may be parts of “Danny’s Grace” that seem unbelievable (as one reviewer said), but the truth is that real life for abused children are much more unbelievable. Why? Because the idea that someone would actually do those things to an innocent child is unfathomable. That is why so many people look past what is right in front of their eyes. That’s why we have groups such as BACA (Biker’s Against Child Abuse), that don’t just speak from the sides of their mouths; rather they take action to help abused children get through the most difficult parts of the legal process of justice. There is no justice when it comes to child abuse though. No matter what happens to the abuser, the children are the ones who suffer lifelong issues (if they live that long). If anything “Danny’s Grace” doesn’t give enough detail about what these children suffered, not the other way around. It may be a work of fiction, but it is far less graphic than true-life abuse victims have to face.
People should stop turning their heads away from things that make them uncomfortable and begin to face it head on. Not one child was ever helped because someone “didn’t want to get involved” or because someone thought “something was wrong, but just wasn’t sure”. You either stand by the abuser or you stand by the abused. There is no in-between.
Happy two-year anniversary, “Danny’s Grace”. I, just as Danny Rush is with his decisions, have no regrets about the subject, content, or message of the book.