Monday, November 19, 2012

An Interview with Trish Thorpe On Her Life And Her Just Released Memoir: Fisheye

Article first published as An Interview with Trish Thorpe On Her Life And Her Just Released Memoir Fisheye on Blogcritics.

We have Trish Thorpe with us today. Welcome Trish to Blogcritics. I was amazed to find that your recently published autobiography – Fisheye: A Memoir is out of stock (more on the way!) meaning the demand overshot the anticipated supply. Also it is wonderful to see the ratings at 5/5 stars, reviewed by 11 customers. It was all fantastic to see that. Let’s begin by getting to know you a little so that our readers are able to understand some of what happened in your life to bring out this fantastic book.

Tell us about your childhood, early life and family.

I grew up in Brentwood (Southern California) and was raised by an alcoholic wannabe Hollywood mother from the Midwest and a narcissistic (mean-spirited) television executive father. ("I Love Lucy" and "Kung Fu" were the best known projects that he worked on.) I have an older brother by two years who has Aspergers Syndrome (an Autism Spectrum Disorder) and a younger sister by five years.

My parents divorced when I was 10. That's when my home life really spun out of control. My Mom's alcoholism worsened and her Hollywood fantasies escalated. My Dad's cruelty to my brother amplified (I was the athlete of the family and my brother was the tinkerer), and my sister and I retreated to our own separate worlds. Mine was full of sex and drugs and guilt. 
After writing my book "Fisheye," I can look back on my growing up years as "the California dream” gone horribly wrong.

How good or bad was your education period?

In line with my Mom's quest to live the "good life," I went to private schools in Bel Air and Beverly Hills for grade school and high school. After that, I attended U.C. Berkeley for college where my own addictions spiraled. I did manage however, in between binges, to receive a BA degree in English literature. In my book "Fisheye," I wrote in detail about my personal challenges during my latter years of high school, my college years, and beyond. I also discuss my predisposition to keep moving forward against all odds.

What twists and turns did life take after college?

I spent about 7 years after college continuing my drug addiction and wandering through love affairs trying to figure out where I belonged. I finally ended up partnering with another woman who took me in and nursed me back to "semi" health. She and I had two children together (same sperm donor). Once I quit drugs and became a mother, I realized I was horribly mismatched with my partner. We split and continued raising the kids together in the same community but in different households. It was a daily challenge but all turned out well. The kids, now 21 and 24, are happy, healthy, educated, productive people and are the best of friends.

How about the beginning of your career?

I worked in Silicon Valley IT communications for many years while raising my son and caring for my dying mother as a single mother. Working in IT corporate communications, although the pay enabled me to raise my son on my own, really wasn't something I aspired to or was interested in. Knowing that my passion for writing was still inside me definitely kept me going.

You had to struggle to conquer drug and alcohol addiction. I think it was your passion for writing that brought you out of all this. What is your opinion?

I started writing stories as a little girl. Then 35 years of life happened and I put my passion for writing on the back burner while I existed in survival mode. I spent many, many years juggling my drug and alcohol addiction with corporate Intranet writing roles. While the ability to write came naturally to me, IT content wasn't exactly captivating.  It wasn't until I ended my career with the IT world, sent my son off to college, got sober, and started remembering feelings and incidents from my past that my passion for writing re-ignited.

Would you like to throw some light on the major hurdles of your life and how you overcame them?

My entire life up to this point feels like it's been a never-ending sequence of hurdles. Or I guess I could think of it as a very long sequence of source material gathering for writing? In any case, having my writing read by people other than friends and family is what drives me now. I hope to spend the rest of my life writing about all the source material that I've been gathering :) I’m so thankful that I was able to pour my writing energy into a published book. “Fisheye” is my nickname by the way.
What’s next for you?

My next task is getting my writing read. The current self-publishing explosion has provided some much-needed exposure for writers, but it has also overpopulated the Internet with way too many books. Let's see if I can rise above the crowd.         
I'm currently writing a story called "Spencer and Me" (to be published on Amazon in December) that further explores my relationship with my older brother who has Aspergers Syndrome. I touched on the subject in my memoir, but my growing awareness of it compelled me to explain more.  

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