Tag Archives: #lifestory

A Captivating, Powerful Story

“This is a fascinating and inspiring memoir from a man who has faced life head on and lived it to the full. Liam Klenk was adopted, had an unconventional childhood and as he became an adult, his differences made him search for answers. Klenk describes himself as being born into a female body, yet this memoir explores many other avenues, as the title says – this novel is ‘Not Just Transgender’. Klenk writes with a raw honesty, he has a matter of fact way of describing the adversity he has lived with, which makes the story even more intensely powerful. Klenk has become a strong, independent, thoughtful man, who is very self aware. ‘Paralian: Not Just Transgender’ gives you the chance to hear a captivating story, I marvelled at Klenk’s mental strength, willed him to overcome the difficulties he faced, and I appreciate very much indeed, that I’ve had the chance to read his story.”

Great review by Liz Robinson of Lovereading.co.uk. Thanks very much! The photograph is courtesy of my good friend Gaby who’s recently been enjoying Paralian at the ocean. The perfect place to read it 🙂

gaby hafner

Countdown and Another Excerpt…

1977 sylt lighthouse with mom

In exactly 14 more days Paralian will be launching!
Nothing earth-shattering will happen when it does…
Our planet won’t stop spinning.
The sun will rise and set just like on any other day.
I won’t get a phone call from Robert Redford or Ang Lee that they’d love to turn my book into a movie.
Stephen Fry won’t want to meet up for a coffee…
Still, it’s an important, uplifting story to be told. A tale about overcoming difficulty and the power of optimism. Moreover, Paralian is the fulfilment of a life-long dream and, no matter what happens or doesn’t happen, that’s more than enough.

“For years, I had puzzled over being the only dark-haired, darker-complexioned person in our family. My emotional make-up and character didn’t quite seem to fit with the rest of my family either. I had kept searching for similarities between my parents and me, as every child does, and had found none. But my mom Hildegard had been very convincing as to our shared blood. She had scared me with stories of how her multitude of hereditary afflictions would manifest themselves in me as I grew older. She had a large goiter on her neck as well as suffering from acute asthma. I had inherited both from her, she insisted, and would suffer as she did eventually. No matter how unpleasant the knowledge, no matter how lost I felt, and whatever life threw at me while growing up, at least I had always been secure in the knowledge of who my family was. It proved to be quite dysfunctional at times, but it was a family. But now, with my dad’s revelation, the truths on which I had based my life shattered into a million pieces.” (Excerpt from Paralian, Chapter 1)

Available for preorder on Amazon, Troubador.co.uk, Apple ibooks store, Waterstones and WHSmith.

Never Just Transgender

Liam Klenk, author of Paralian: Not just transgender, examines the public’s view of transgender people in the wake of the toilet debate in America… (Thanks to Vada Magazine!)

Immersed

2009 last snorkel with nico

“I finally reached the shore, out of breath and delighted, longing for more and feeling intensely alive. I had glimpsed boundless strength and passion within myself. For just an instant out there, in the arms of the Atlantic Ocean, I had felt beautiful.” (Excerpt from Paralian, Chapter 7)

I remember seeing the ocean for the first time when I was around four years old. Discovering the ocean changed my young life. It was a revelation. I threw myself into the cold churning waves, balloon-like arm floats encircling my tiny arms. Goose bumps quickly covered my entire body as I savoured the taste and the sensation of a living entity enveloping my body. My soul felt rested and at home while at the same time sensing danger and fragility. Whatever might happen to me in the years to come, I would always draw solace and strength from the ocean.

Gently lapping waves, roaring rapids or anything in between, any body of water has an immediate impact on my emotional state – I change, grow stronger, more focused. My heartbeat slows to a steady, comfortable rhythm. Even just dipping my toes, I am home, respectful of my environment, yet fearless, vivid, and at one with myself.

I love the power and unpredictability of this life-giving element. I love its beauty, it’s million hues of turquoise and blue, the way the sun’s rays break when trying to penetrate deep below. Like a million sparkling stars the warm reflections dance in tune to their own ballet of life.

Especially gliding weightlessly underwater, I feel in tune with this blue symphony. Clumsy on land, stumbling, unsure of myself, and perpetually awkward within my own body, I transform as soon as I am in the powerful arms of my blue home. Underwater I am graceful. I feel self-assured, handsome, completely at ease with the world and with my entire self. As I glide along the reef, I watch the interactions of the sea creatures amongst each other. I surrender to the waves and currents, working with them rather than against them to get where I want to go. As I let the ocean move me along, I glimpse answers, verve, serenity, awe, happiness… and, as my every day worries fall away from me one by one, life is put into perspective. I find myself with a twinkle in the eye (both eyes really), breathing deeply, doing somersaults underwater, glad to be alive.

A Maldivian Evening

2009 riding shoulders boat crew dinner

Here another little taste of Paralian, just for you… only 20 more days until official launch!

“It was a glorious evening. Everyone was touched. Captain Ismail had whittled a beautiful scale-model dhoni for me, so I would never forget my life on the remodeled Maldivian fishing boats. Anecdotes were exchanged, most rather unfavorable of me – such as the full-day trip when I had decided to take a dump in the dhoni’s head just as we stopped to pick up a group of divers. My turds had floated right by them, creating a memory to amuse boat crews for years to come.
After dinner, the boat crews broke out in song and carried me on their shoulders. For an instant, I was concerned they might be able to feel the absent penis between my legs. Then I told myself to stop being silly, relax, and enjoy the moment. After all, I had always been safe in their capable hands. We shared tea and ate more delicious reef fish, celebrating our mutual respect until very late.” (Excerpt from Chapter 27 – Noonu Atoll)

Paralian is available for preorder from Apple iBooks store, Troubador.co.uk, Amazon.co.uk (and other countries), Waterstones, and WHSmith.

Paralian is Book of the Month

Paralian has been chosen by Bookbag.co.uk as one of their books of the month! Amazing!
I’m so honoured and, of course, immensely happy to see people are experiencing my book the way I hoped with all my heart they would.

You can click on the link below, or here is what the Bookbag team wrote:
“In non-fiction, Luke enthused about Paralian: Not Just Transgender by Liam Klenk . Paralian is an Ancient Greek word, meaning one who lives by the sea. Here, we follow the author’s journey through life, narrated by his relationship to water – the river he grew up near, the oceans he crosses, and the water that later becomes his place of work. Uplifting, enlightening and ever engaging, this is a life story filled with dramatic events and major life changes. Well written, with a relatable tone and easy flowing prose, what really shines through is the author’s attitude to life. No true life sob story here – this book follows a fascinating journey through life, gently educates on the subject of gender dysphoria, and, above all else, the author’s attitude and nature shine throughout, making it a hopeful and mood enhancing read.”

Paralian is just a click away…

2015 proofreading with pushka

Thanks so much for all the beautiful messages I am receiving lately! More and more people are getting in touch, asking, “Where can I order Paralian?” Let me answer this question here for all of you who can’t wait to get your own copy and dive into the story.

Paralian is available for pre-order in several online book stores. Official launch date is the 28th of May, 2016 – just 3 weeks from now.

Here are the most important links for ordering online:
My publisher’s page, Troubador
Amazon.co.uk (you can also go via com, de, or other countries of course)
Waterstones
WHSmith
Apple ibooks
Kobo: the ebook will be added on there at the end of May.

As we keep on writing enthusiastically, fluffy Pushka and I already wish you an unforgettable reading experience!!

Intensely Alive

2008 el nido to sabang

“Balanced on top of a pile of baggage, wind and dust whipping into our faces, we held on for dear life as our bus plummeted along rarely-traveled mountain roads and on through countless valleys. Never before had my ass had to endure such a continuous beating. Even low hanging branches and power lines became a threat. Every so often, we would warn each other to duck, just in time to avoid being garroted or beheaded. Every minute was worth it, though – and infinitely better than sitting in the sweltering bus, fighting for space with local school children and chickens.
All three of us endured the entire nine hours atop the bus. I felt intensely alive. I savored the moment, secretly hoping our trip would never end. It was one of the best journeys of my life.”

From Paralian, Chapter 26 – Philippine Sea, page 319

I am Liam

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“As for the lingering psychological femininity, the successful surgeries had strengthened my resolve even further to embrace the person I had started out being. I would integrate my female side into the male adult I was becoming. I was Liam, and something inside my soul knew with absolute certainty he was who I had been all my life. More than ever, I was confident to not let my life be controlled by clichés and abstract societal constructs. I had just escaped one prison and saw no reason to voluntarily admit myself to the next one. I knew I was a man – not by anyone else’s standards but by my own.”

From Paralian, Chapter 10 – River Limmat, page 130

Great 1st Reading

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Last week in London… I had the best audience I could wish for. Thanks so much to the Boston Consulting Group team for the warm welcome and genuine support! If this is how every book presentation will be then I want to give a whole flood of them 🙂