For queries, contact: Michael Phillips at Desert Dog Books, LLC.
Native Los Angelina, Carol Es is a writer, musician, and self-taught artist by trade, known primarily for creating personal narratives within a wide spectrum of media. She often uses past experience as the fuel for subject matter, and has written articles of art critique for the Huffington Post, Whitehot Magazine, and Coagula Art Journal. Her prose has been published with small presses — Bottle of Smoke Press, Islands Fold, and Chance Press among them. Her Artist’s books are featured in such collections as the Getty Research Library, Brooklyn Museum, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Carol was awarded a grant from Asylum Arts: a Global Network for Jewish Artists for writing, a National Arts and Disability Center/California Arts Council grant in 2016, and is a two-time recipient of the ARC Grant from the Durfee Foundation. She’s also a Pollock-Krasner Fellow and won the Wynn Newhouse Award in 2015.
Title: Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley
Author: Carol Es
Publication Date: April 6, 2019
Publisher: Desert Dog Books, LLC.
ISBN: None Yet
Available in: Paperback | eBook | Hardcover
Retail Price: $21.99 – $7.99 – $32.99
At age 14, Carol Es decided to leave her dysfunctional family after having suffered years of abuse and sexual molestation, she continued to work for the family business cutting patterns for the garment industry right alongside her abuser. Feeling stuck, lost, and broken, she sought help and wound up in Scientology, seduced by the celebrity that lured her older brother in. The deeper she got into the cult, the more she hopelessly denied an underlying mental illness that continued to get worse. She did this in order to stay true to the doctrine of L. Ron Hubbard.
As a drummer and an artist, Carol managed to maintain her unbreakable bond with her passions throughout and exhibited her art while playing music tirelessly in bands on Sunset Boulevard. Her story shows how it’s possible to be both brainwashed and live “normally” in the world of contemporary art and rock n’ roll. Carol shares with us her most raw and intimate revelations — a relatable story about finding self-worth when there wasn’t a foundation for one to begin with, and doing what you can with what you’ve got, no matter how broken your tools might be.
“A whole lotta words!”
– Los Angeles Times of Trouble
“Who wrote this thing?”
– Author Joe, Author of Some Other Book
Why did you write Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley?
I’ve been writing since my teens, and interestingly enough, I always knew I’d write a book like this. All the books I’ve read throughout my life have had great impact on me. Books were my escape and have molded me into who I am. Each author’s narrative reflected the world as I would see it, and often held a mirror up to my authentic self. I began connecting to the things that resonated between reader and writer: the relatable human condition. Since I was already compelled to write, this motivated me to open wide and express the stories of my life.
Did you intend to publish it when you started?
I tried not to think about it as it went through many transitions, and I wavered back and forth whenever I did think about it. Like most of my stories, it was more of an autobiographical fiction piece. Fiction, because I really didn’t think anyone would believe it was true. It was my partner that talked me into rewriting it as nonfiction. He encouraged me to see that it being a true story made it stronger, and in turn that made me stronger.
Now that the book is completed, do you think it was a cathartic experience, like therapy?
The answer to this is all over the map. Writing about things relating to Scientology were very healing for me, while reliving the sexual assaults felt anywhere from uncomfortable to unbearable, especially having to go back over the work to edit, and re-edit. Extremely difficult. I didn’t feel like I’d purged much until the book was fully done. I feel like I can possibly move on now that I don’t necessarily have to rehash it. Other than that, I do feel a kind of reconciliation among my relationships, even if it’s only one sided.
You went through a lot of hard times as a child, but still managed to create your art and play music. Do you have any advice for young artists or musicians starting out?
I wish I had a hotline, because I’d love to help and encourage everyone. That is, anyone that wants it bad enough. I’d tell them not to give up and really commit. But being dedicated means making sacrifices. And if you’re young, that’s the best time to make them. I lived art and music like my life depended on it, because it did. That doesn’t mean everyone must suffer though. My biggest piece of advice is, no matter how much time you can spend on your artistic endeavors, it must always be about the work and not other people. Treat it like your royal child. Don’t make things, or play music you don’t like. Take a stand and protect the integrity of the work.
What do you hope your reader is going to get out of reading this book?
Just as I apply this philosophy to my art, I want people to have their own experience and don’t want to make suggestions about how they should or shouldn’t feel about my work. That being said, of course, I’d hope they will relate to my story in some way at some point. If I can make even one person feel not so alone in their pain, I’d make it rain in Los Angeles with my biggest, happiest tears.