One piece of paper led to the next and the next until an 800-page book, “Bamboo Promise,” of her life’s struggles, in a Cambodian culture, unfolded into a shortened book form.
Vicheara Houn grew up in a wealthy home in Cambodia. She experienced the Cambodian genocide in the 1970s and, through her book, shares the struggles of fear and tragedy that she faced.
“I wrote this to let the Cambodian, in the young generation, to understand where they came from,” said Houn. “There’s struggle. What I said is from my heart so I hope they absorb it.”
Her life in Cambodia soon came to an end as she moved to the United States in 1984 with the support of her husband’s sister, who was already living there. Houn and her husband have two children. Over the years of marriage, Houn’s life grew more and more unhappy, because of the conflict between her and her husband.
“He not the man I dream of. We not get along well,” said Houn. “I start writing a little scratch piece a paper that I couldn’t believe that I had to go through all this horrible life again.”
Houn became depressed, but said that writing helped her. Her husband left her little and Houn struggled to supply a sufficient amount of food for her children. She also lost her job and couldn’t find a job. She wanted a better life. A better solution.
“The answer seem to never be found to make me happy, but I kept writing and writing,” said Houn.
For 10 years Houn wrote until she reached 800 pages of writings. An assignment in her son’s class is what ignited the fire in Houn to want to publish her writings. She gave 40 pages of her story to her son who in turn gave it to his teacher. His teacher was impressed and highly praised Houn’s work.
“I want to publish my book,” said Houn. “Before you become a known author you have to start somewhere. This is my philosophy.”
With no past publishing experience, Houn worked hard to get her book published. The publishing company told her it would take a while for it to be published so Houn decided to self-publish instead. Her first copies came out in e-book form in early March 2012 and she now has made a small amount of copies in paperback form.