The Looming Fog: a Novel about Weakening the Fear Monster.
The Looming Fog: a Novel's topic of intersex was ahead of its time in 2006, but the world is now more ready to hear its messages. I was a young 20-something year old person when I wrote this book, and I had struggled and remained ambivalent about the ending, specifically in regards to the intersex character. Over 15 years later, as I have matured, acquired more experiences and convictions, I now have no doubt about what the ending needs to be. Therefore, The Looming Fog is being republished as new edition with a different ending. The spelling of some names have been changed to reflect the correct spelling of these names in Ukwuani, my native tongue which is at risk of becoming extinct thanks to the English language. These spelling or word changes honor my dad, who currently teaches Ukwuani to keep the language alive. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this new forthcoming edition of The Looming Fog.
The bulk of this post, what follows now, is a re-post from my old blog back in 2006. My book has been out of print for some years ("people lost their eyes" for it), available only in select libraries, including the Library of Congress, but it is now about to be heard anew. I am SO excited!
The Looming Fog: a novel is a story with two main characters. The first is an intersex child trying to find their place, and the second is a female child who is not content with her position in her society.
When I first conceived The Looming Fog, I did not know of the seriousness of the journey it would take me on.
The journey was into the lives of others and into myself. Like all books, it introduces you to many new lives. The book talks about some unpopular topics; some people have even called 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 with dignity. 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 persons 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 of 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 going 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 then 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.”