Cayuga Community College instructor publishes novel about gender identity and trauma

The citizen staff

A Cayuga Community College faculty member will publish his first novel nearly two decades after writing his last line.

Chris Motto, college writing and tutoring support coordinator, published “A Knit of Identity” in October via Regal House Publishing. The book addresses “complex and relevant issues of gender identity and traditional gender roles by telling the story of a truck driver struggling with guilt and his traumatized past,” the college said in a statement. Press.

Protagonist Danny Fletcher, following in his father’s footsteps as a truck driver, sees his friend killed in a work accident and struggles with guilt over her death. Fletcher continues to drive, hoping the road will ease her guilt as she searches for a home. Motto said seeing a co-worker die in an accident was something that happened to her while working on a lube crew in college.

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“It was very traumatic to see the death of someone I knew. I knew it would come back at some point, I just didn’t think it would show up in my writing like this,” he said. she said, “But I think my subconscious pushed it to the forefront of my memory, and it made me wonder how my main character would react to that situation. I knew I had to explore it.

Motto failed to find a publisher two decades ago and moved on to another book. But as topics such as gender identity and workplace trauma became more discussed, she and her agent decided the publishing community could be more open to “A Knit of Identity.”

“Gender identity isn’t the focal point of the novel, but it’s an important part of the story and what the main character is going through,” Motto said. “Two decades ago, I don’t think many books were published that talked about it. Now, as our society talks more about gender identity and traditional gender roles, I’m just glad I was persistent.

Motto, who previously taught at SUNY Oswego, Syracuse University and American University, will participate in SUNY Oswego’s Living Writers Series on Nov. 16 and the Cayuga Culture and Wellness Series in the spring.

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