I was a quiet child. Mostly due to misunderstanding. I wasn’t misunderstood, but I misunderstood. I knew there was a meth lab in the poolhouse in the back; I just didn’t understand why. I knew my stepfather was beating my mother; I just didn’t understand why. I knew that I was not allowed to stay home with the stomach flu; I just didn’t understand why.
I learned to observe. I watched my mother drink, and took care of her when she got sick. I watched the shadows on the walls that looked like tar, and learned from the voices that came after.
I had no friends, but how could I? I didn’t understand what the words meant when people would talk, and they wouldn’t understand my reply. It was like I didn’t even speak English, though I was sure the Dutch language was not a concept I had grasped just yet.
I learned the streets from the man who once dropped thirty grand in my front yard, and learned the numbers from his brother. I called them uncle. I watched my brother come out of the closet long before I told the world he was in there. People came and went, but they never bothered me. It was like I wasn’t even there.
I wasn’t even there.
My severely dysfunctional household was home, and the normal one my father brought me into didn’t make any sense. It is any wonder I survived there as long as I did. I guess it’s good, though. My p-doc tells me I’d be a fucking sociopath if my father hadn’t gotten me out when he did.
Not that hard to believe.
I bought The Husband by Dean Koontz when I was nineteen because I had a two hour lunch from my notary public class. I was bored, and cell phones weren’t what they are now. Every book he’s ever written followed. Instead of watching, I read. I read and I read and I read for three years. I read thousands of books. My life bored me, but my books did not.
I got married to a man I had been with for eight years. The same man who told me over and over again that he didn’t want to be a husband and he didn’t want to be a father. I married him, and my world fell apart. Paranoid Schizophrenia.
I wasn’t a sociopath, but I was fucking crazy. Like my childhood, nothing made sense. I could watch the words come out of the mouths of my peers, but I couldn’t hear them. What the fuck were they saying? I was living in an alternate universe where communication was a guessing game. It was like those word puzzles where you had to circle words or like that game hangman.
Life was fucking hangman.
My adult self inherited my child self and I was twelve years old again. Watching from a distance that was never too close to be noticed. I had an abortion, and I smoked a lot of cigarettes. I watched a lot of Ancient Aliens, and then I told him in the most brutal way possible that I didn’t love him and I left.
I recovered. No. I didn’t recover; I learned to live with it. I learned how to pretend I knew what was going on all the time; I learned to lie. No. I lied. It was so easy. I already knew how to lie. My mother has been lying to me my whole life. The only difference is that I am good at it and she is not. So I lied to myself about how bad life really was. I told myself it was good. Stay positive. Nothing can touch you as long as you stay positive.
And nothing could. It still can’t. I’ve written more books than I can count.
“How many books have you written?”
When people ask me what I do in my spare time I stutter. I have no idea what I do. Write for Psychology Today magazine? Halfway run a non-profit organization? Work a full time day job? Hang out at vape shops? Run an entire society of literary writers? I don’t know which one to pick for my answer. If I say them all, I’m just bragging.
“I do a lot of things.”
I still watch people, in a total non-creepy way. I observe from afar instead of joining them. I am silent until asked a direct question. If you can get me to talk, good fucking luck, because I may never stop. I can tell you about all the things I’ve seen, real or not real. About all the things I’ve read. But only if you deserve it.
Only a few select people in the world have really ever deserved it. It, being a sliver of my time. Because they noticed. Like me, they noticed.
In my observance of humanity I have realized that people are generally not very smart. Just yesterday someone called my writing a hobby, and I wanted to smack him. A hobby. More than ten published works of literature, a column in one of the most successful psychological magazines in the country, and my own society of writers is a fucking hobby. Spare me, please.
The mysteriously brilliant girl is mysteriously brilliant because she hasn’t said a word out loud since Monday of last week. She is broken by the stupidity of the world. By the guy who picked up If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? from the table and didn’t know who Kurt Vonnegut is. How the fuck do you not know who Kurt Vonnegut is?
She has words of advice inside her, but no one ever listens to them, because they don’t see her. The ones that do see her, as if someone handed them a telescope, end up missing her. They miss her because she won’t come closer. She can’t. She’s forgotten how.
She is brilliant as fuck. They know that, but they don’t understand why.
A Bestselling Author, NPO VP, and Psychology Today Blogger from Burbank, California, Allie Burke writes books she can’t find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a “kickass book that defies the genre it’s in”, Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal.
Her life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie’s fairytales.
From some coffee shop in Los Angeles, she is working on her next novel.