Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley
Six houses, five apartments, three motels, a Hollywood mansion, (with Mom’s boyfriend?), and a farm in Pennsylvania. Moving 16 times before age nine is enough to screw with any kid’s head.
Then, at age 14, Carol Es decided to leave her rootless, dysfunctional family after having suffered years of neglect, mental abuse, and multiple sexual molestations. Trying to balance school and part-time jobs while floating between friends’ couches, She struggled to succeed as a drummer and a contemporary artist. She’d have to keep the job she had since age 11 at the family business, cutting patterns for the garment industry. There, she worked alongside one of her abusers for years before understanding her circumstances.
Broken, lost, and seeking a way out, she accidentally followed her older brother into a dangerous cult. Seduced by the magic promises to fix her situation, she buried herself into the concepts and philosophies of the group. Meanwhile, her brother fell away into addiction and Carol battled pieces of her authentic self, denying her own mental illness in order to stay true to the adherents of the leader.
However, since music and art overruled, she played in various bands, tirelessly, along Sunset Blvd. and all over the LA circuit. She toured North America, recorded with major producers, and signed a production deal with Sony Music. She recalls having one foot in the real world and the other in a mind-controlling regime without the notice of outsiders, and explains in her book how this is even possible.
After nine years in the making, Carol has taken a huge stride out of the blackness of fear and silence. She shares with us an unexpected perspective through moments of true vulnerability. Using conversational language, gallows humor, and bursts of pointed prose, she lays bare her most raw and intimate stories. You become a close friend of whom she can confide in — just the two of you having candid conversation over a cup of coffee.
Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley is not another survivor’s story about overcoming horrific things, healing triumphant and coming out victorious. It’s a story about doing what you can with what you’ve got, no matter how broken your tools. Being able to identify growth from experience is a true victory for some of us. Learning, relearning, and coming out okay, is sometimes a triumph worth the spotlight.