I believe I might have developed a new publishing genre: the fictional autobiography written under the pen name of its protagonist. Through my own experience of writing such a book, I’ve found that it can be a very empowering process whether you intend to publish or not.
I wrote my first draft of The Barefoot Warrior as a young adult, then published it decades later under the pen name Kyle Weaver. It is a coming of age novel about a teenager who runs away from foster care and standardized education to take charge of his own life and well-being. Through his various adventures and mishaps, he comes to take a barefoot stand in his own truth.
At the time of writing the book, I was unaware that I myself had been a foster child in early youth. How interesting—that of all the protagonists whose stories I could wish to tell, I chose one lurking deep inside of me who yearned to be seen and acknowledged.
Though much of the book is based on actual and interior experiences that were later significantly fictionalized for purposes of artistic license, I did not recognize the power of the written page to reveal my inner self to myself while I was writing the book. I did not recognize the power of fiction to retell your own story in a more empowering, bigger picture context.
I stumbled upon it a few months ago while preparing for the launch of my second book, The User’s Guide to Being Human: The Art and Science of Self, and was stunned by the extent to which it had altered the course of my life for the better. In the two decades that the manuscript lay largely dormant, I had managed to pursue the mission of my fictional, autobiographical self. I had taken giant leaps toward actualizing him.
It is no wonder that many of my closest peeps now call me by the name Ky. As others read the book, many of them too begin to call me by the name that has served to reveal my deeper essence.
—Ky, Barefoot Warrior, at your service