Between Shadow and Sun began as a love letter to my children.
They were devastated by the loss of their father. How could he do this? Throughout my transition, they have worked hard to love and accept me, but they were clearly hurt and continue to struggle. Why, then, did I do it?
And so, one night, I started to write. I described what it was like to live for 50 years with the pain, confusion, and loneliness of living enveloped in a body and identity that felt alien to me. I shared my repeated and failed attempts to discover my manhood. I wrote with the desperation and honesty of a deathbed confession.
The second half of the book is more of a love story than a love letter. My wife, Mary, loved me throughout my transition. But she, too, was devastated. “You don’t understand!” she cried one day. “I lost my last husband to another woman. It almost killed me. And now I am losing the love of my life to another woman. But this time it’s worse: she wants me to be her best friend.”
Somehow, Mary managed to see past my exterior to the person inside me. That, she decided, was the person whom she loved. It is why we are still together today. Much of the second half of the book is about our journey to find a new path together. The pages are filled with pain, humor, and irony. But they are mostly filled with love.
I wrote, too, to describe what it was like to go through transition. It wasn’t exactly the wave of a wand. I had to live for a couple of years as a freakish sort of a man-woman. I felt like the human embodiment of Shrek.
All the while, I had to hold onto my job and to convince others that I knew what I was doing. I described what it was like to return to the business world as a woman and to learn to rely on allies to support me.
But mostly the book is about me and my family. I wrote it for families like my own. They deserve an honest accounting of why we do what we do. We deserve to be known for who we are.