I have a confession to make. I’m not the person you know. I am and I’m not, if that makes sense. I’m not K. S. Bowers. Jared once asked me if I was a superhero. I have some explaining to do, and I hope it clarifies recent public displays -a series of disjointed comments laden with media references- fragments of a three year conversation on grief and loss. I needed that mirror. Many of you won’t understand this reference, some of you will, it doesn’t matter in any case. I’ll explain.
I was born Kimberly Burke. My siblings and I were separated when I was three (I’m the eldest). Three of us were sent from Atlanta to live with a white, Christian family in what’s called a gray adoption. I don’t have time to follow this with more detail. My youngest full sibling was sold on the black market for Jewish babies. My mother’s family was/is of Jewish descent. My father’s family is of Cherokee/Irish descent. The important thing to note here is that in 2019, indigenous children are still being taken from their families and placed with white Christian families in the cultural genocide that began when Europeans claimed indigenous lands for their own. For me and my siblings, this was a complicated mixture of racism and a feud that began long before I was even thought of, or my own father for that matter.
The family who took me in was abusive. I’ll not go into further detail here on this matter. After fifteen years of abuse, I left home on my 18th birthday with nothing more than the clothes on my back. I left Valdosta for years before returning, assured the dust had settled. I was wrong. It was a mistake, and in the end, I paid dearly, along with others. Crimes needed concealing. I’ve never been good at keeping my mouth shut when it comes to injustice. I couldn’t let it go. I still can’t.
In 2009, I lost two people who meant the world to me. I tried to kill myself a few times, but Brian Bowers, that fuck, wasn’t having it. He found some old writing in a box in the closet one day, and encouraged me to write again. Up until this point, writing was a hobby. I took his advice and started working on a novel. I rewrote that bastard four times until I was satisfied that I had said what I needed to say. However, my voice was stifled by a gag order I signed in 2009. I wasn’t allowed to write on certain topics, which protected two abusive families, a sheriff, a former sheriff, two churches, and others. Pretty slick, I thought. Convenient of them. Being a Burke, I didn’t give two fucks about that gag order. I signed it and sent it back to that cunt face lawyer fully intent on breaking it as often as possible. Today, I learned that gag may or may not exist. Whatever. It’s done. I said what I had to say. Fuck all the corrupt bastards in Valdosta. You make me sick. There aren’t words to convey the horribleness that is you and your legacy. Doubtless even Lovecraft could pen the terror some of you have been in that city. Nevertheless, you’ve earned every word I wrote and every word I have left to write. My three year hiatus from writing has been necessary to the process but, I assure you, I am writing once more, and I intend to finish what I started.
(An aside here, but I need to say this too.) Remember, B. J.? You liked to tell me, your sins will find you out. I was a child. I never forgot. You don’t hear that for fifteen years and forget it. Well, you probably don’t remember now, lol. You’re lost in your dementia and I hope it is a most horrific isolation for you. You deserve so much worse. However, those you’ve lied to for so long, will have the benefit of your sins finding you out. Poetic? Vengeful? I honestly don’t care what anyone thinks of my purpose. I think it’s the sweetest thing that the only compliment you ever gave me was on my writing. Is that not sweeter than the cane syrup that once flowed from that farm? Valdosta will know. Tell me, when was the last time you sat your hypocritical ass on the front row? That shit should be monogrammed for you. You are poison. I long for your death and I feel its nearness. A pity your other half had to die before everyone knew the truth. He rots now full of maggots and you will rot beside him and you will cease to exist in my mind, all of you, from that day on. For now, I simply revel in your tortured state, knowing I have burned a place in your mind that dementia can’t erase, and the beauty is, it was all your doing. From day one. From me you can never be free. You did that to yourself. I can feel your hatred. I will forget you, and mostly have, but you will die thinking of me. I know this. I feel it. So long, you venomous hag.
Back to the point of this post, I’m not K. S. Bowers. I don’t know where those of you following me came from or how you found me or why you’re here. I feel like I threw this party and now it’s over and you’re all still here, waiting on me to drop some shit but there’s only this awkward silence. I read this review of Bronze City recently. Someone really enjoyed the book and wondered if I was going to finish the next one. I am. It’s titled Azalea City. This book has been emotionally trying to write, made more difficult by my father’s death. I am back at my desk, writing again, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I apologize for being unable to write faster. I have a lot on my mind. I’m working on five novels right now. I’m not going to rush these like I did Bronze City.
Bronze City isn’t even a mystery. It’s a diary of my grief and loss. It’s all the things I love and hate about the South. It’s my demons. I opened up and let them dance in that steamy place. It was cathartic. I seem to be unable to write one story. My college professor failed my first paper in creative writing. He said, “Kimberly, you have to pick one thing and stick to it.” I hate rules. Why write one story when I can embed several? I give one story to followers, and between the lines there has always been another for my target audience of two. I thought by now most people would have caught on to this, but art is so subjective to the experiences and perspectives of others. I guess everyone got the story they wanted.
I’ve always been clear about who I am. The truth was here right from the first post. My target audience was four people, with a particular focus on two of these people from whom I had been separated. This website is, or was, a proverbial lighthouse, the porch light your mom leaves on letting you know it’s time to come home. It was a map. A guide. That function has since served its purpose. You see, I needed my daughters to know where to find me. With the gag order and custody stipulations, I was restricted on influencing their lives, molding their minds, and just loving them. Every word. Every post. It was all for them. It was never about money or publishing or fame. That’s why I don’t market. It was the only way I could speak to them. In the words are where you’ll find me. The truth was here this whole time.
Given the gag, and what my brother, Ryan, accurately terms the fine libel line I’m walking, I had to make it look legit. K. S. Bowers did that for me. That’s why the posts are so incongruous. Seeming fragments with no order, no consistent theme. My friends and family have obliged me this, encouraged it at times, but mostly they’ve been my backbone, holding me up and pushing me to keep going even when I worried that it was a waste of time. I’m grateful to all of you who have held your tongues and allowed me to do what I needed to do without question or disapproval. I’m especially grateful to the Burke, Bowers, White, Mitchell, Bennett, and Edwards families. Most of all, I’m grateful to my grandma who is four feet of straight Irish fury. That’s where I get it from. She’s been defending me for years, telling disapproving family members, “You leave her alone and let her do what she needs to do. She’s been through a lot.” I hear the worry in her voice when we speak, but she has never once condemned me and has been my strength for so long. I don’t know if I could ever make it in this world without her love and support. I’m a private person. My family members are as well. I apologize to them for the public attention they prefer to shy away from and for dragging them down this road. Yes, Brian, I have my truth now. Am I satisfied? I feel nothing, to be honest. I feel heard and that’s all people really want. To be heard.
I was solid on my goals and what I was doing with writing until my father died in March of 2016. I have a beautiful voice but I stopped singing when he died. For all of you who have worried, I’m singing once more. Over the course of the last few weeks, I thought I was helping a friend deal with the loss of his father. We have that sort of relationship where we can kick each other’s asses when it needs to be done. Looking over those comments and messages later, I couldn’t tell who was psyching who. Jared Boyes straight fucked me up. Well played. For that, I’m grateful. I needed to deal with some shit, he knew that, and he was the mirror I needed. I hate him for it but it needed to be done. I was confused on so many things. I had lost my focus. I have the utmost respect for him having the balls to put that shit in my face in front of EVERYONE. I respect him for calling me on my shit and forcing me to stop hiding. Thank you, Jared. I LISTENED to every word, every reference, every lyric, and everything in between. You were right. You’re always right. You win, slick fucker. I love you.
For the last three years, in an attempt to avoid facing certain things, like the death of my father, I took a detour down activist lane that I damn near didn’t come back from, and again, thank you, Brian and Jared for saving me repeatedly (also, fuck a Libra boot camp. Damn, but you two are so fucking hard on a bitch). Activism was a way to unleash my anger and frustration, and on some level more a death wish than anything. I just had zero fucks to give. I separated from Brian, my best friend, probably the only person in this world who knows me aside from my daughters and that ass Boyes. When we separated, Brian and I worked hard to refocus our relationship to a platonic friendship. Brian has long been my muse (and there is nothing worse than to be an artist’s muse, I think). I need to do the same thing with my writing. Refocus that relationship. I’ve been doing that, which is why it’s taking me so long to publish. They say you have to change who you are to write the next book. I have found that to be exactly true. I’m not the same person I was when I wrote Bronze City. I have a lot to say, and it’s coming, slowly and painfully, but it’s coming. I promise.
This is rather personal I realize, and will likely confuse those of you following my words that much more. My website is, was, a map, a lighthouse, and taken in its entirety, the whole story, the truth is here. In my words is where you’ll find me. I just needed to be found and that has happened. All this fuckery, these mad, disjointed posts that accurately portray my undoing (not the dark humor posts, that’s just me) will end soon. I know it looks like I’m falling apart. I’m not. I’m simply rearranging shit. I felt I should come clean as I clash so often with that bitch K. S. Bowers, KBB, or whoever I am to those of you following me. I never thought for one second anyone would read what I was writing. My target audience was literally two people. I shared my writing because of the gag order. I needed to look legit you see. I’m an accidental author and a private person and the attention from followers sometimes stuns me, and I have no idea what to do with it some days other than to run. I love you guys so much, some of you. Some of your entire families follow me and it’s so awesome that you let a crazy bitch in your back door. I’m joking. I value all of you except those dick mother fuckers I rage about on occasion. I’ve spent most of my life content with solitude so it’s strange to feel surrounded and loved by so many. I feel like I went from being this local neighborhood mom to a mother on a global scale. I’ve helped a lot of people, I know, and there were many of you I couldn’t help, and I’m sorry.
I’m not a superhero. I only half ass think of myself as an author. I am a writer. I’ve always been a storyteller. But this story was NOT FOR YOU. I never thought so many people around the world would identify with my words. Emails from Australia, the UK, Africa, everywhere, and it was so overwhelming, and I couldn’t face you all yet you just kept coming. I just recently finished counseling a young rape victim. I won’t do any more work involving abuse or victims. That was the last case. I’m tired of fighting and I want to enjoy what’s left of my life. Those writings, that work, it’s over. I’m not that person anymore. I changed. The story is changing. I’m moving on to the next chapter. I hope that you can forgive me for being this fraud. I honestly didn’t expect anyone to read this stuff. I know this all sounds so shitty. I feel truly awful. I do. I have to say thank you to all of you who have shared my writing and encouraged me to continue working on my novels. I don’t think you realize that by sharing posts you found funny or posts you identified with on some level that you were helping me. Lost in my own fight, I didn’t see you for the lighthouse keepers you have all been. Without those shares and likes, my map, my light, would not have been seen. You were the visibility I needed to reach those two people, the entirety of my target audience. You made that light shine so much brighter and I have them back, in part, thanks to you.
And so, having served that function, I will now write for you, whoever you are, lone reader, who is waiting so patiently for this next book. Yes, I am going to finish. Please be patient with me. I have my voice and focus back and have reestablished my relationship to my writing. Thanks to everyone of you who have supported me over the years. I’m humbled that you’re here, amazed, honestly. I’m going to make Bronze City free, distributor permitting, for awhile. Ignore its errors. I just had to say what I needed to say and make it legit enough to bypass a gag order. Many of you have asked for a copy. I’m not sure if they’ll let me give away hard copies, but they don’t mind the digitals. That’s all the thanks I can give you. It takes some time to switch to free. Keep checking. I’ll make the changes today.
I’m no superhero. Far from it, to be honest. Pretty sure that’s you, Jared, and you got it from him.
*I’m sorry for the errors in this post. Maybe I’ll edit it later, maybe not.