PAINFUL PAST: Author Ruth Clare shares childhood story of how her father brought the Vietnam War home in her new book, Enemy.
PAINFUL PAST: Author Ruth Clare shares childhood story of how her father brought the Vietnam War home in her new book, Enemy. Steve Weller

Daughter’s pain helps heal others

SINCE she was a child, Ruth Clare has longed for her story to be told.

Now a mother-of-two, the Rockhampton-raised writer has penned her memoir, detailing childhood abuse she had a "hunch" was not exclusive to her own past.

Written from a child's voice, Enemy details how Ruth's father brought the brutal Vietnam War back home and into her life.

Though she did not openly disclose the details of her violent upbringing in her youth, Ruth said writing and publishing Enemy was an attempt to feel "less alone" and offer solace to others who had similar experiences.

"It was emotional because I really wanted to capture what it felt like, for people who haven't experienced it (abuse). I wanted them to feel how I am feeling," Ruth said.

"To write like that you have to go very deep back into a memory, but I have had a lot of therapy, so I am not afraid of going into difficult terrain.

"The process happened a long time ago and the book was just trying to give voice to those experiences as best I could."

As she returns to Rockhampton for the first time since her father's passing in 1998, fans of Ruth's work had the opportunity to meet the Melbourne-based author at the Rockhampton Regional Library on Saturday.

Council's Community Services Committee chair Councillor Rose Swadling said the library's author events were an opportunity to get a glimpse into an author's life.

"On this occasion, they'll also get the chance to chat with an impressive new Australian writer who grew up in our backyard," Cr Swadling said.

Ruth said her initial trepidation in writing Enemy, published by Penguin Books Australia in February, has since been replaced with a sense of satisfaction, knowing her experiences have given voice to those who had suffered the traumas of not just Vietnam, but all wars.

"The transgenerational trauma of war goes back a long time and no one talks about the impact of war on families," Ruth said.

"I just felt that that conversation needed to be had, there can be glorification of war or people wanting to tell heroic stories.

"These men paid the price for a long time and their families paid the price for a long time."

During her brief visit to Rockhampton, Ruth looks forward to attending her 25-year high school reunion, and "being in the presence" of significant places from her childhood.

"I am doing a tour of Rockhampton High School," Ruth said.

"And going back to the site of my house and revisit a few places in the book."

 

What: Author Event - Ruth Clare

When:  April 30

Time: From 10am

Where: Fitzroy Room, Rockhampton Regional Library



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