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Deconstructing the Boogieman

In 1984, a vision of his bloodied sister Judi shocked twelve-year-old Cory Reeder awake from his nightmare. The next morning, his life changed forever when that dream became a reality. Judi was found dead in her bathtub, with thirty stab wounds, raped and sodomized. Detectives called it the most savage crime they'd seen, something only a monster could do. After an intense investigation, capture, and trial, that boogieman had a name: Shane Lyn Wagner.

Conviction does not promise closure. The effects of Judi’s murder continued to ripple through Cory’s life when his mom grew depressed and soon died of cancer. His family unit in shambles, Cory lost himself to heavy metal music, alcohol and self-mutilation. For twenty years, Cory wandered an addict's wasteland of failed dreams, relationships, and missed opportunities. Making matters worse, Wagner became eligible for parole. Cory, now in his thirties and fearing the villain who ruined his life may be freed, dedicated himself to writing letters hopefully assuring Wagner would remain behind bars forever.

Vengeance takes its toll. After twenty-five years of hard-drinking, Cory admitted he was an alcoholic. While getting sober, he was forced to reconcile the blackest spot upon his heart. Decades of blame and hate had only made life worse, so Cory turned to the solution he feared most, forgiveness. Thirty-five years since his sister's death, Cory traveled to meet Shane Lyn Wagner face to face. Out of the hottest fires, the strongest steel is forged. Finally confronting his nemesis and delivering the parole board an impassioned speech of forgiveness, Cory unexpectedly found himself released from his own prison of self-delusion.

My memoir is equal parts horror show, true-crime podcast, 80s teenage time capsule, ascent into addiction, and spiritual recovery. I wish there had been a teacher, mystic, or angel who could’ve brought me here sooner, but there wasn’t. In our polarized world, I’d like my story to inspire others to find a pathway to personal freedom for themselves. Deconstructing my decades of pain, fear and hate led me to redemption, which in turn gave me the courage to face the boogieman I’d feared most, the one within myself.


To hear an audio versions, read the lastest pages of my memoir, or peruse my latests essays, poems and ideas please subscribe to my Substack: Hey Life, WTF?


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