Friday, April 20, 2007

Rolling Stone Article - Thoughts part 1

It's taken a while to post this, partly because it took a long time to sort out my thoughts, partly because I knew it was likely to be a horribly wordy post. In fact, I think it's best to split it up into smaller, hopefully more digestible bits.

First - why I did the article.

My friends and family know how vehement I was about keeping the story secret at first. There was a logical reason for it - although I know there was also a strong, and more complicated personal reason as well - I was trying to keep Kirk safe. Even after months, even when it had become less and less likely that Kirk was alive, I still refused to let the story out. It was a means of control of course, and it made things very difficult for my family.

The problem was that after December 2003 it wasn't just our story any longer; it was now also Ryan Manelick's story. The Manelick's journey was a far different one than ours because of course they knew Ryan had been killed. They didn't know who, or why, but they did know how.

Since the two stories were linked, my stubbornness about publicity affected them as well. Ryan's father, who was working out of the country, was making enormous efforts to investigate Ryan's death, and of course this includes trying to get the press involved so people would know and care about the situation. Although he was always polite, I knew he was, at times, tremendously frustrated.

So when a friend contacted a reporter for Time Magazine, I agreed to be interviewed and even have a photographer come. This was a huge thing for me. It meant I had to tell my boss the story - before this only one person at work had known (and she knew only because she asked so many questions about my life I had to tell her or start actively lying). I had to loosen my grip on what had happened and admit that it was part of more than just my small family. It was utterly terrifying; I had no idea whether the story would be picked up and become a huge thing or not. Our experience with the media when Kirk's story first broke had left me almost unbelievably sensitive. I was relieved when nothing happened at all.

It didn't resolve anything though. It didn't help Ryan's family, it didn't get the spotlight on the situation that they, and many of Kirk's friends, wanted. I realized how selfish I was being, and I felt extremely ashamed. So when Daniel Halpern sent me an email about doing an article for Rolling Stone, I decided I should go ahead and do it.

I did write to the CID and let them know what I had decided. To my surprise, they said they wished I hadn't agreed. They knew it was my decision, but they weren't happy about it. It made me uncertain about the choice, but I had already given my word. I think some of Kirk's friends were nervous as well, about how the story would be portrayed, about the bias that might be brought, or the sub-voca hints that might be laid. These are people I love and respect; their concern added to my discomfort and fear.

More tomorrow.

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