Paralian – engaging, chatting, and listening to my readers

A few weeks ago a fellow author and creator of a new pop-up-shop asked me why I like going to book festivals and signings and why personal contact to my readers means so much to me. I tried to give a short, condensed answer, and here it is, only 3 min long, on both YouTube and Vimeo :)

 

Reading bits from Paralian

Vortrag Liam-12

Reading bits from Paralian during yet another successful book presentation in Dusseldorf last Friday. A big thank you to BCG for giving me the opportunity! I love presenting and treasure direct contact to my readers. First London, then San Francisco, now Dusseldorf… next up is a keynote speech at a book meet in Southampton on Sept 4th.

Close Encounters of the Ocean Kind

2008 green turtle on surface

Another small excerpt from Paralian… a once-in-a-lifetime moment… experiencing my first close encounter with a sea turtle in the Maldives:

“The Green Sea Turtle rose slowly to the surface. I floated, staying completely still… Her head softly broke the surface only fifteen feet away from me. She took a deep breath, which sounded almost like a reverse sigh.

The gorgeous animal stayed floating comfortably on the calm water surface of the lagoon. Meanwhile, I let myself drift carefully closer. She was beautiful, a creature of the ages, perfect since the beginning of time. I closed my eyes to paint the image in my memory. When I opened them again the unearthly turtle lady was right next to me, still enjoying her rest on the gentle turquoise waves.

The long five minutes during which she stayed with me etched themselves forever into my heart. The turtle’s large eyes held a tranquility and innocence I had never before encountered. With an unwavering gaze, she seemed to see straight into my soul.

Her colors were myriads of green. Her scales reminded me of autumn leaves. Did I see a net of barely visible, fragile veins, or did my enraptured mind imagine them? What if they were nerve endings, letting her feel plankton and every droplet of the sea that touched her? Feeling everything, she would literally become one with the seas embracing her.
Small barnacles held on to her carapace. I envied them and wished I could trade places for a little while. Could there be a better place to be than perched on the strong back of a sea turtle?

She took one last, long breath and descended leisurely towards her underwater domicile. I swam back to shore in a dreamlike state, happy, and almost delirious….
The ocean was my true home. Now that I’d found it, I intended to consciously absorb every precious second I spent embraced by it.”

Liam Klenk on life and being transgender…

LiamYouTube

Sharing a bit about the transgender part of my life journey on YouTube and Vimeo

What it felt like growing up in the wrong body and how a book helped me realize I was trans… How I risked it all to give myself a chance at life; the reactions of family, friends, and employers…  About optimism and overcoming difficulty and about the dangers still ever-present for trans individuals.

Bottom line: you’re beautiful, just the way you are. Don’t let yourself be limited because of the cards you’ve been given. Live life to the fullest. There are endless possibilities!

More info about my book “Paralian: Not Just Transgender” on my website.

Paralian is available as paperback and ebook from Amazon, Waterstones, WHSmith, Apple iBooks Store and many other online book shops.

Paralian Interview in Gay Times Magazine

GT Liam Klenk 1.8.2016 page 124-127

An interview with me about my book Paralian‬ and my life journey has just been published in the August issue of Gay Times magazine, page 124-127 :) Big thanks to fabulous interviewer Nick Hoare!

Thank you!

Daisy White's Review

Just want to share this great review with you that fellow author Daisy White wrote about Paralian‬ the other day.
Slowly but surely reviews are trickling in. I am humbled by some of them and immensely grateful for all of them. If you’ve finished reading the book already, it’ll be absolutely fantastic if you can leave a few words, lines and stars as well 😉 😀
As an unknown author with a first book, most people aren’t even aware Paralian exists. Each review on any of the Amazons and/or on Goodreads helps and heightens the possibility of yet another potential reader becoming aware that this might be a worthy read to pick up.
Thanks Daisy (and thanks to all of you who already shared your thoughts and feelings as well)! Your feedback is invaluable. It’s the ultimate gratification to hear my readers are enjoying the journey :) Additionally, seeing my book understood makes me as happy as a dolphin riding the crest of a wave!

Adoption

1971 christmas

“For years, I had puzzled over being the only dark-haired, darker-complexioned person in our family. My emotional make-up and character didn’t quite seem to fit with the rest of my family either. I had kept searching for similarities between my parents and me, as every child does, and had found none. But my mom Hildegard had been very convincing as to our shared blood. She had scared me with stories of how her multitude of hereditary afflictions would manifest themselves in me as I grew older. She had a large goiter on her neck as well as suffering from acute asthma. I had inherited both from her, she insisted, and would suffer as she did eventually. No matter how unpleasant the knowledge, no matter how lost I felt, and whatever life threw at me while growing up, at least I had always been secure in the knowledge of who my family was. It proved to be quite dysfunctional at times, but it was a family. But now, with my dad’s revelation, the truths on which I had based my life shattered into a million pieces.” (Excerpt from Paralian, Chapter 1)

Most of our decisions are based on prior experiences. In the case of my parents, my adoptive mom came from a traumatized post-war family and my adoptive dad tried his best to somehow neutralize her neuroses. This all led to a string of lies that, over the years, became longer than Pinocchio’s nose.

Based on personal experience, I urge all adoptive parents to not underestimate the instincts of their adopted children. When you have been given away early in life and have lost your mom, an instinctual memory manifests itself, a sense of homelessness, a longing for something the child itself can’t even define. On top of this underlying time bomb there is a more conscious awareness of something always being slightly “off”.
As I grew up I remember getting my bearings – or at least trying to – by comparing myself and my actions and emotions to those of the people in my immediate environment. Of course everyone is different but, still, I was puzzled as to how I always seemed to be so different to practically everyone else around me – not only in soul and spirit, but also in appearance.
On really bad days I fantasized about being adopted, seeing it as a good thing. On good days I rationalized how genes skip generations and how maybe there was a dark-haired, temperamental grandpa somewhere whom I’d never met. Surely I had inherited all traits from this mystery person hidden somewhere in the dense forest of our family ancestry.

What always prevailed though, like a menacing shadow following me wherever I turned, was a feeling of deep homelessness and loneliness.

My parents were terrified of telling me the truth, because especially my mom feared I’d run off to my “real” mom as soon as they’d disclose my real identity. I honestly think no adopted child would ever do that. Our “real” parents are the ones that have been taking care of us, have made sacrifices, and have been our safety net over a long period of time. We share a history together. And after some time, history becomes stronger than blood.

When my dad finally revealed the truth I was shocked and uprooted. A myriad of conflicting emotions rocked my entire world for a while, like an earthquake, complete with landslides and falling debris. Still, through it all, and after I came out of it, my adoptive parents remained – and always will be – my parents. I never even call them “adoptive” parents. When I found my biological mom she was a stranger. Blood, in the end, was not enough in and off itself.

Don’t be afraid to tell your kid he or she is adopted. Do it as early as possible. It’ll preempt the hurricane of conflicting emotions that will be sure to rage within once all thought processes properly kick in.

Told at a very late stage – in my case when I was twenty years old – the revelation can have disastrous effects. In truth, I could have easily killed myself. Pure stubborn strength (a strength I didn’t even know I had at the time) prevented me from exciting well before my time. Everything I believed to be the base of my existence vanished in the blink of an eye. All that was left for a while was a deep, dark vortex opening its ugly maw beneath my very feet.

I wish I had been told from the beginning. What a privilege it could’ve been to know I was loved even though I had arrived in my biological mom’s womb. If you think of it, how beautiful to be chosen by a couple because they want YOU and no one else to become the center of their universe.