Excerpt from Chapter 5

Climbing the Rock Within by Jennifer Haig

Excerpt from Chapter 5:

When we arrived at the school, Mom and Dad met the
other students and helped me set up my room. I
held my mother tight, knew I had made the right decision,
said good-bye.

Though excited, I watched their car pull away and felt a
part of myself go with them. Mostly, I rebelled full-force,
knew I would enjoy the protected environment, my new home
filled with books and friendly female faces.

I enjoyed nighttime in the company of three roommates
in an old section of the converted inn. Across from me was a
longhaired blonde, Cindy. She was not as shy as I was, knew
the ropes of the school, had been there two years already. We
were strangers until I found out she was from Vancouver, B.C.
The name clicked. It was the place of Rick’s former boarding
school. We got along well enough, didn’t quite know how to
make a good conversation, until we shared our poetry and our
journals.

Excerpt from Chapter 4

Climbing the Rock Within by Jennifer Haig

Excerpt from Chapter 4:

Questions about how to love Henry went unasked, unanswered.
I guided myself, observed my brothers, my sister,
and noticed they never cried. Rick, at eighteen years old,
came home from boarding school, then moved into a public
school where there were bigger classrooms and less structure.
What did he hope to find? I wondered if I needed what he
needed. Who would be our patient mentors?

What did Henry mean to me? I wanted him to be as big as
Patrick was in my mind, to be like Rick. They both became
idols to me, heavy on my shoulders. I lay in bed at night, lined
up my fragmented day until it felt in my control. I tried to
pray away my guilt for things I did not do right. It all threw
me into circles of chaos. I tried not to be scared, but I was.
Henry suddenly meant too little and too much. My prayer
time became a rumination that had no bounds, repeated
images, repeated words with no judgment: I’m scared, I’m
scared
… and often triggered seizures.

Excerpt from Chapter 3

Climbing the Rock Within by Jennifer Haig

Excerpt from Chapter 3:

That next summer, out again at the Oregon lake, excited
with overconfidence, I juggled a handful of stones. Two
pals—one from Idaho, Jenny with dirt-blond hair; the other,
Meagan, in overall shorts from Washington—watched me. I
felt more confident, not like the previous summer when I had
been more tongue-tied. The pills were still a secret.

“Look for the flatter ones, like this.” I held a stone up.
Meagan nodded.

“Here’s one!” said Jenny.

“Yes, I skid’m best at the beach. Watch!” I put down my
handful, picked one, threw it hard. Three times, it skated the
glasslike surface. My friends clapped. I picked up another.

“Uh-oh, here comes Counselor Helen.” With pale skin,
heavy-set in oversized blue jeans and a fuzzy ponytail, Helen
waved her hand. “Don’t throw any more stones, girls. We’re
going to build a fire.”

Excerpt from Chapter 2

Climbing the Rock Within by Jennifer Haig

Excerpt from Chapter 2:

Years before my mental break, Dr. Fred Alsten, a psychiatrist,
suggested my dad get therapy. The idea was not
welcomed. The price we paid for not taking this advice perpetuated
the individual separateness each of us in the family
experienced, and it separated Dad, not only from his children,
but also from himself.

On my father’s birthday one year, Daddy took us all to
North Beach to eat at Enrico Banducci’s Coffee House. The
cream-colored walls there reflected a soft hue. Tall patio
doors opened up, inviting the street noise of Broadway in. It
was evening, but light outside. Ceiling fans slowly turned. I
could not tell which mood I wanted: the flashing lights of Big
Al’s or the composed chatter of a Parisian-like romance.
Daddy spoke of his dislike for the other side of the street, but
still, we were close. Two empty extremes stuck.

Excerpt from Chapter 1

Climbing the Rock Within by Jennifer Haig

Excerpt from Chapter 1:

Nurse Maggie Eloise Martin, chestnut curls uncombed,
remembered she was only nineteen. After a long journey
from England to San Francisco via the Panama Canal, she
put her suitcase down on a mossy pier. The ship’s whistle blew
three times, a mere wisp compared to the bombs she had
heard for more than a year. Memories pressed her: hospital
tents filled with men without limbs, their heads wrapped in
gauze, some with blinded eyes. A woman of service, she had
bandaged with wetted washcloths, drawn blood, read letters of
adieu, and bonded with other nurses. She stood in a stupor.
How could she forget it?

Questions from the Author

Climbing the Rock Within by Jennifer Haig

Questions from the Author:

– How has the book brought you closer to yourself and emotional family issues which may seem petty at first but actually leave scars we may never uncover?

– Have you ever thought to write an autobiography to know yourself on many levels? Have you ever kept a journal or written poetry?

– What part of the book spoke to you and your personal life? The bridge between the prose images and poetry speak the most to my inner evolution to be apart of a practical world I almost lost.