Portrait of Debby Kaye

December’s Featured Blogger: Author D.G. Kaye

“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?” D.G. Kaye

 


December’s Featured Blogger is Author D.G. Kaye.

D.G. Kaye was born in Canada and lives in Toronto. She is an accomplished author and an active blogger on WordPress. 

In your bio, I hear a sense of determination and hope. How do you find hope?

I don’t find hope, I keep it tucked deeply inside. Hope is all we have when facing tragedy or adversity. In our darkest moments many of us, like myself, cling to that hope. But those who cannot focus on the light often get lost in the abyss of the darkness of the moment. I refuse to go to that place. I’m a firm believer that we manifest what we focus on to the universe. And what we focus on we attract. Staying focused on the negative and dark thoughts of an undesirable situation keeps us rooted in the fear instead of finding solutions to rise above the issues. I am a problem solver by nature. When life is dishing out curve balls I don’t cower and drown in fear, I look for the way out or the path I must take to overcome the adversity, focusing on the overcoming and the healing.

Did you write as a child, if so, what is the first thing you wrote?

Yes, I wrote as soon as I learned how to write my alphabet. I began writing love notes to my parents. I was hyper aware of my family dysfunction as far back as 3 years old. All I wanted was for my parents to love each other and show me affection. I believe, looking back on those years, that my fears to verbalize what I was feeling translated directly into writing to express my feelings and desires.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Sadly, I hate to admit it, but I have no recollection of any books in my home growing up. The fairy tales I learned were from teachers reading to us in school. I somehow always identified with Cinderella and her wicked step-mother as I grew to realize that I felt my mother had used me as her personal housekeeper and messenger from the age of 7 and on. My love for reading began once I entered junior high school when we were given books to read as part of curriculum in English classes.

Who are your inspirations as a writer and in life?

Well, going back to childhood, I would have to say Barbra Streisand became my idol at a very young age. Funny Girl, still one of my favorite movies, became a movie I identified with because Streisand’s character – Fanny Brice, reminded me so much of myself.

Publicity shot of Fanny Brice - c. 1915-1925 -
Fanny Brice – c. 1915-1925 – Ziegfeld by Alfred Cheney Johnston

Brice was portrayed as an awkward girl trying to make it on the stage, beginning with her shows with the Ziegfeld Follies. She didn’t consider herself beautiful or elegant enough to fit in with the beautiful and sexy cast of dancers, so she used her sense of humor to win over the crowd, which eventually, pushed her to stardom. One line in particular, caught my attention, and that line stuck with me and became part of my character – “I want them to laugh with me, not at me.”

As for my writing, it wasn’t the classics that inspired me as they have many writers. Being that there weren’t any books around my home, I loved reading the newspaper when sentenced to spending weekends at my paternal grandparents’ home, and soon found myself addicted to reading columns on everyday life and problem solvers by column writers like Ann Landers, Dear Abby, and Erma Bombeck. Even as a child I was fascinated by life stories and emotions and eager to learn how to resolve issues. As I got older, I found myself connecting with the writing of Norah Ephron.

When did you decide to write about your relationship with your mother?

I think it was in my early teens when I began to resent my mother for the way she treated my father and ignored the emotional needs of her children when I began taking notes about her and writing letters to her about my feelings. I never, ever gave her one of those letters, but somehow it was cathartic for me to get my pent-up angst on to paper and out of my head. My life was an ongoing saga of dramatic and traumatic events with my mother, so I often documented in journals what I was feeling and my analysis of what provoked my mother to act as she did. I got the urge to write a book about my life with ‘mother’, but my fear of ever publishing a book while she was alive kept me from bothering to write one.

I suppose the urge to expel my thoughts and stories rose to a peak as my mother became less lucid and immobilized, empowering me with knowing she could no longer attack me or reprimand me, or even sue me, for that matter. So, in early 2013 I began sorting out pages from my journals and writing Conflicted Hearts – A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt.

 

The cover of Conflicted Hearts: A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt
Conflicted Hearts: A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt

How did the decision change your life?

When I began writing that first book that’s all I thought I would write. But while I worked on the book I began learning about self-publishing at the same time, which led me to opening a blog and connecting with a whole community of writers and new friends who shared the same passion for writing. By the time I published my first book, I knew there was no turning back. I finally found I was doing what burned within me most of my life – writing.

In your introduction to Twenty Years: After “I Do”, you describe your husband as a soul mate. What does soul mate mean to you?

First, let me state that soul mate is typically said of a partner, but soul mate could also apply to a friend we are connected deeply with.

A soul mate is one we connect with on a spiritual level. When we are in tuned with someone who we share similar values in life with, understand their words and feelings without being spoken, and share a bond where there’s an intuitive knowing of their soul is my definition of soul mate.

 

Book cover for 20 years after I do
Twenty Years After ‘I Do’

When did you decide to write a memoir on menopause? Do you see it as a political statement?

My long-time bestie and I laughed our way through menopause and continue to laugh at the remnants of our former selves after surviving the event. We’d often joke around and make fun of our symptoms and that was my inspiration for sharing my journey through ‘the change’ with others to let them know what can be expected in trying times, and to share some important information and helpful tips to help ease through it. I also poked fun at the symptoms and shared how I dealt with them.

I never personally felt the book was a political statement, rather a part of life that every woman must endure. I mention my husband’s take on some of my antics in the book as he was the one who had to put up with some of my newly acquired crazy things I did to get through the process, sometimes involving almost freezing him out and leaving him feeling as though he were walking on eggshells if he even spoke at the wrong time, lol. Political no, but I was surprised to hear from a few men who read the book to get some enlightening about what their own partners endured or in preparation for what to expect.

In the prologue to P.S. I Forgive You, you write: “My mother had been dying for years, and through those years she refused to surrender her bitterness and remained in denial of her flaws. The many times I heard she was dying reminded me of the boy who cried wolf. I almost believed she was invincible, and even though I never wanted her to suffer, she did.”

I’d been warned to walk away many times but couldn’t muster the heart to do so. I lived under the thought that a child should never abandon their parents, and I was always worried about how I’d be judged by others for banishing my mother.

Finally, as often happens in life, the last straw hit with words I could no longer tolerate. At fifty years old I hung up on her for the very first time in my life and resolved myself that was the last time I’d take her nonsensical shit and I never saw her again. Oh, it was painful as I lived with my own new self-imposed guilt for doing so, but as the years passed, it got a lot easier to swallow, despite my feeling sorry for her. When she was dying, I had more fear of visiting her for all the years I abandoned her. Her vitriol only increased as she lashed out to anyone who would listen about her terrible children. I just couldn’t go back. And when she finally died, despite my grief for what never was with us, it was the first time I ever felt that hold she had on me was released.

P.S. I Forgive You

I tend to think life as an adult child of narcissist is an ongoing process of separating the self from the abusive parent. Would you agree?

I would absolutely agree Rob. Narcissists don’t change. From childhood through adulthood we remain under their control, albeit, in different ways when we’re older. I spent my childhood waiting for the day I could break free from her hold on me, and when I finally got the chance to move away from home at 18, I thought I gained my freedom from her reign, but I found out that wasn’t so.

I spent my life with her trying to be the good daughter, doing everything she guilted me into doing and feeling bad for the things I didn’t do. My empathy for her was like a glue that I couldn’t unstick, which kept me falling prey to her schemes and tears and beckoning for her every whim. I’d try not answering her calls and keeping her separate from my life many times, but family events and celebrations bringing me back into her orbit repeatedly kept me within her web. I went years at a time not talking to her, but ultimately guilt or circumstances brought her back into my life. It was a never-ending merry-go-round of unresolved hurt and relentless tactics she performed that kept me in her hold.

How would you describe the job of the writer?

Hmm, that’s an interesting question. I think that every writer would have their own unique spin on this. For me, I don’t look at it as a job, but rather a passion. The only job I feel obligated to do as a writer is to tell my truth – essential for a memoir and nonfiction writer. But whether writing fiction or nonfiction, I think it’s important that we all effectively relay our stories in a fashion that readers can relate to and take something from whether it be a message, or an invitation to exercise imagination and feel like we’re right there in the action in fictional stories.

Would you share an excerpt of P.S. I Forgive You?

I’d be thrilled to share an excerpt Rob. I’m choosing an excerpt from this particular chapter since I think it highlights some of the turmoil I carried within while my mother was in her final days, despite my refusal to go back.

Chapter: The End is Near

My mother had been dying for years, and through those years she refused to surrender her bitterness and remained in denial of her flaws. The many times I heard she was dying reminded me of the boy who cried wolf. I almost believed she was invincible, and even though I never wanted her to suffer, she did. 

I thought it was just a horrible and sad way to die—holding hatred for those she had chased out of her life, living in bitter seclusion, knowing her days were numbered. Her once vibrant life had diminished into a mere existence of watching TV and complaining. She’d also given all her caregivers a difficult time, bitching at them all and letting them know how useless they were to her because of what her life had become. Nobody was exempt.

I asked my brother Robby why God didn’t just take her out of her misery and pain during one of the many times she was on the brink of death. Why would he not spare her from suffering? He replied, “God has his own plans.” I couldn’t help but wonder if he was letting her suffer because she had hurt so many people in her lifetime, but in my next thought I couldn’t believe God would play those cruel games, tit for tat.

I wondered what thoughts had to have gone through my mother’s head. How awful it must have been to know her time left on earth was limited. I thought about how frightened she must have felt in her lonely world, although she’d never admit it. I was sad for her, knowing that the anger and bitterness she displayed was a front for the depressed state of her pathetic life. I couldn’t fathom why she remained so obstinate in her resolve to spend what little time she had left wallowing in misery instead of embracing the end and making amends with her children. I wanted to fix her, but I didn’t know how.

Her formerly grand life had diminished into a tiny existence. She no longer flaunted her beauty to all who idolized her. Her schemes to extract money from my brothers to support her gambling pleasures were no longer effective. Three of her children had already exited her life because of her verbal abuse. There was nobody left to fall prey to her demands.

I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.

I wondered so many things about her. Because she had lived in disguise all her life, I was never certain if she truly believed she was a wonderful person or if she had only spent her life pretending as much.

Thank you so much for inviting me over today Rob. I enjoyed the interview and greatly appreciate the intimate questions you chose for me to answer and share here on your wonderful blog.

Bio short DG Kaye

Connect with author D.G. Kaye:


Author, https://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7
Email: d.g.kaye.writer@gmail.com
Website: http://www.dgkayewriter.com
Wiseintro: wiseintro.co/dgkaye7

also in

www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (Of course there’s a story to this name!)

www.facebook.com/dgkaye

103 thoughts on “December’s Featured Blogger: Author D.G. Kaye

  1. Fascinating interview! Debby is a wonderful person as well as a talented writer. Her books are so easy to read because of her affable writing style. I too used to write letters to people I felt had wronged me in some way and like you, I always kept them. It felt good writing them though. I enjoyed learning more about Debby. Great answers and questions. Thank you, Robert!😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic interview. I particularly liked what Debby had to say about hope and what we focus on we attract. She is an inspiration and her writing, although often funny and light, it is also always profound and she has the ability to reach into the common soul we all share. Thanks for this interview, Robert.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great to see Debby featured. She is multi-talented, and a committed and supportive blogger, a great friend to so many of us. Thanks very much for this interesting article.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I missed this post originally, Rob, but it is great to catch up on it and see Debby here. Such a strong woman and such an example to us all. And a generous blogger. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Debbie’s book Conflicted Hearts, is a heartfelt autobiographical read about growing up in a family that experienced emotional hardship. Family relationships can be devastatingly hurtful and emotionally damaging, especially with a complicated mother/daughter relationship. It is a gripping story that will keep you reading and feeling the pain of broken relationships, especially about a mother and daughter. I couldn’t put it down. I must read.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Karen for sharing your thoughts on my book here. We all have our struggles in life, but I believe by sharing my experiences, others can take solace knowing there is always a door, we just have to learn how to open it. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, you are so right and that is one of the reasons I loved your book. I too, had a very very difficult childhood and so I related to your story so much. It is an important story. Thank you, Karen 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thank you so much Karen. I hope people can take something from my stories, if only to know they are not alone, these dyfunctional families are unfortunately, quite common, especially from the last generation. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Debby, your book is by far the best book of it’s type I have ever read. And our generation, as you say, was very dysfunctional and very common, sadly for us. It is heartbreaking because not all of us survived it in a whole state of being. Lots of damaged adults resulted, I believe. Karen 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. When my grandmother developed dementia she changed from the sweet, kind lady we’d grown up with, to one that was needy, angry, and often confused. I can’t imagine the difficulty of dealing with a needy parent when you were little more than a child yourself.
    Thank you for sharing this post, Debby, I’m glad you found your path {{hugs}}

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What a wonderful interview, Rob and Debby. So much heart and understanding here. You did an amazing job preparing, Rob, and I’m so impressed with Debby’s thoughtful, heartfelt, and compassionate responses. Thanks to you both. Hugs. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely compliment Diana. So nice to see you pop by. Yes, I was delighted by the questions Rob came up with for me. Took a bit of time till I got them all done and I too am pleased to have been invited here. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Wow, Robert, this was a quality one interview post. Debby is someone that has a diverse life, a great blogger and successful books She has promoted my writing and given me some great tips. Thank you for the great interview.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Sally, for your lovely compliment and for once again sharing. Rob was a delight to work with and he did such a fantastic job with the post and questions. ❤ xx

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Thanks for sharing this amazing post featuring Debby, Rob. Every time I read about her early life my heart breaks for her. I am so lucky I had such a wonderful family when I grew up and I still have them around me for love and support.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Robbie. The facts are the facts and I can’t change the past, but I certainly made great strides changing my future. You are blessed to have such fond memories of your younger life. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Robert and Debby, How very sad to read of such a mother when my own was so loving and caring. Human beings are fascinating but their capacity for evil as well as good is baffling at times. Being a mother can be such a joy, it’s tragic that she denied both her children and herself of that emotion. Debby must have found writing the book cathartic, but also difficult at times. All credit to her. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Joy. It’s always heartwarming to hear about people who have had happier childhoods. It’s the past now, but as we all know, the past never really goes away. And yes, writing P.S. I Forgive You was one of the most cathartic writing of all my books. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is such a deeply personal and touching interview. Debby is to be admired for all that she endured and for the beautiful human she turned out to be. Thank you for this, Rob and Debby!!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. An eye-opening interview. Debby, I knew you had a difficult relationship with your mother, but never realized how truly dreadful it was. It’s hard for me to fathom why a woman would treat her children so horribly. I am glad you found the courage to write the books you did, including P.S., I Forgive You, and found healing and inner strength. You rock! All the best to you.

    Thanks, Rob, for another great author interview.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Mae for reading and leaving your kind words. I was thrilled to be invited here to Rob’s. He certainly picked the golden questions didn’t he? 🙂 x

      Liked by 2 people

  13. A fascinating interview with Debby, who is one of those bloggers I am glad I have ‘met’ in the blogosphere. I really liked Conflicted Hearts and have PS I Love You on the TBR pile. And Have Bags Will Travel was a joy to read. I always picture Debby surrounded by mountains of suitcases even if she’s only going away for a weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Thank you for featuring D. G. Kaye. The honesty and poignancy of her words fly off the screen and hit home like a sledge hammer. Let’s you know we are not alone in our feelings and difficult thoughts. Mother/child relationships can be complicated and do a good deal of damage. Thank you Barbra Streisand for inspiring so many.

    Liked by 2 people

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