Monthly Archives: October 2017

A Friday Night

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One moment I was having a beer with a friend, enjoying a good conversation. The next moment I felt my heart racing. The small shoulder bag, which I had placed carefully between my knees and the bar wall, was gone.
You know that question, “What would you take with you on an island if you had to leave right now and could only take one item?” Well, the one material thing I would currently take with me was in this bag: my Moleskine notebook… in which I had been scribbling the first draft of my new book over the last eight months.
I am only at chapter seven so far, mind you. But, carving out writing time for these seven chapters next to my day job and private turbulences had been incredibly hard. Most days, I would write during my morning commute to work, or on my lunch breaks…

After the initial shock and after making quick phone calls to block bank and credits cards came the moment when I hurried outside into the park right next to the bar. Phone in hand, I tried to open the flashlight app. But I was so upset that, instead, I took about thirty photographs of my feet and the ground before I managed to hit the right button.

I searched for hours. Checked in dark alleys, in garbage bins and bushes, under benches, in public bathrooms, and under containers… but there was nothing…

To be fair, I experienced a lot of kindness that night as well. I came back to the bar five times, making my rounds, re-checking all the convenient spots where a burglar might discard unwanted items. Each time, the bar staff insisted to give me yet another beer free of charge. Some guests inside the bar were genuinely concerned. People kept asking if I had found anything. Some of them even came outside for a while to help searching. My friend and I had planned to go to a concert. I spontaneously gave my ticket to a homeless guy who had sat on a bench in the park across the venue. He was over the moon and ran over to the entrance, waving the ticket over his head like a magic wand as he slipped inside to enjoy the rare treat. My friend went to the concert as well. Meanwhile, the bar security guard lent me his heavy-duty flashlight, and my friend came back after the concert to help me search further into the night.

Now, the weekend has passed. My initial depression as well. There is nothing left to do but to order new cards and IDs, buy a new bag and wallet, and otherwise hope for a miracle. Maybe the thieves DID discard my – for them – useless items in an accessible spot after all. Maybe someone who cares WILL stumble over them and will either ring me or bring my stuff to the lost and found.

I really don’t care about anything but the notebook. While writing, I had felt frequent moments of magic, when I had gotten the words just right to paint a strong mental image for my readers. There is no way I can re-write this first draft exactly as it was.
So keep fingers crossed for that miracle my friends!!!
If it comes down to it and I have to, I’ll try to write it even better. But, if I can actually manage to do THAT is in the stars…

Website Currently Offline

Just a little note: my website liamklenk.com is currently offline because I am switching providers and there were some complications. It’ll be back up and running again in no time though! Just a few more days! 👍🛀

Seeing More Clearly

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From 2005 to 2009, I divided my time between serving customers at the dive center and guiding them in the Big Blue. Being back in central Europe at the moment, I know more than ever that life is infinitely better the more ocean I have around me. Things shift back into perspective. And I am reminded of what is truly important. Apart from being a universe of boundless beauty and tranquility, underwater is also where I began to see more clearly…

Watching coral reef life became the perfect metaphor of human daily life. For example, tiny fish who defended their territory taught me how important it is to stand up for yourself no matter how giant the opposition may seem. The myriad of reef fish and other critters in all colors of the rainbow mirrored the infinite diversity of life on land… of human life… Nothing was perfect. Life was even cruel, unpredictable.. Yet to a neutral observer like me, hovering motionless only a few feet away, observing quietly, this was the most delicate and beautiful web of individuals I had ever seen.
Then, there was the interaction amongst divers. Developing a stronger sense of self first was crucial to being able to take care of others.
When I became an instructor, teaching underwater taught me even more about life. The SCUBA instructors’ mantra “stop, think, act” turned out to be great advice no matter the situation or environment. Because, when something goes wrong during a dive or in life, it’s never just one thing but a multitude of smaller and bigger difficulties and challenges that need to be addressed and navigated. Prioritizing is key. Step by little step, we remove one obstacle after another and what seemed insurmountable at first all of a sudden becomes manageable.

Add Oil

5 Senses goup

My latest contribution on TheatreArtLife. Remembering when I immersed myself in a Hong Kong Chinese theatre production. I worked backstage, with barely a clue what was going on. It was an unforgettable experience. Because, as I mention in the short story as well, there is nothing more valuable than opening your mind, letting go of everything you think you know, and thoroughly exposing yourself to living and working in a foreign culture.

Two More Awards for Paralian

IAN Awards

Today, it was announced that Paralian won not just one, but two more book awards. This makes five altogether!
Over the moon doesn’t even begin to cover how delighted I felt when I saw the email this morning. Over the galaxies was more like it (and this after I had almost deleted said email, thinking it was spam).
Both latest awards have been bestowed by the Independent Authors Network. Thank you so much for this honor!

1st Award is 2nd Place in their main category,
“Book of the Year”!!!

2nd Award is for “Outstanding Non-Fiction”

I am especially glad that these two as well as the last award were ‘mainstream’ book awards. Finally, Paralian was recognized as a high quality non-fiction book, an outstanding memoir – not just in the LGBT niche but in general. And rightly so, because this is an entire life journey. It’s always been important to me to emphasize that my story is not just about being transgender. It is a big and important part of it, yes. But at its core, Paralian is a story about being human, facing adversity, and finding your place in this world.

As JJ Marsh wrote for Bookmuse UK a little while ago “It is the extraordinary tale of an exceptional life. Any one of the barbed wire fences Klenk has overcome might be enough to define an average person, but this journey is as far from average as can be imagined.
Born into the wrong body, adopted by dysfunctional parents, battling spasticity, marrying for convenience, living as an agnostic with Mormons, undergoing gender reassignment, suffering heartbreak and embracing career changes while digging deep for a true identity, this is an epic journey. An odyssey.”

Paralian is a true story everyone can identify with if they just dive into the adventure and open the book to the first page…

The Perfect Moment

2006 lunch on dhiddu

The perfect moment. Sunshine. A group of delighted scuba divers whom I had guided throughout the morning. Jackfish. Chilli Sauce. Sand as soft a velvet. Palm Trees. A blazing azure sky and turquoise sea all around us.

I enjoyed myself. Enjoyed to guide, coach, and drink in our surroundings with all my senses. It didn’t really matter who we all were that day. Social status, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation and all those things tending to divide us, gave way to simply breathing in the untainted tropical air and enjoying life together. Just for a little while, yesterday and tomorrow became so insignificant as to be non-existent.

My 2nd Book

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My 2nd book will be a fun, deep, and inspiring read all at the same time… A collection of stories about the animal companions I had throughout my life.
The very first was Gulliver, a little mouse who taught me a lot. So currently, the working title is “Word of Mouse”. Because that’s how it all began…
Each chapter will tell a special story about each of the animals and the impact they had on my life. The lessons I learned.
I’ll be the narrator, but in a sense it is as much or even more about the animals than it is about me.
Readers will be able to enjoy the true stories either as a collection of unusual animal tales…
Or, if they want to think deeper, they will quickly realize that the book is about life, about being human, and about the life lessons we can learn if we open our minds and hearts to the world around us.

It’ll still take up to a year to finish writing and editing, and get the book published.
Watch this space. I’ll share anecdotes, and I’ll keep you updated on my progress and the adventures of trying to find a publisher and/or literary agent!