Monday, May 6, 2013

Hadiyah Joan Carlyle, author of Torch In The Dark

Author Bio:
Hadiyah Joan Carlyle grew up in a Jewish immigrant neighborhood in New Jersey, became active in the Civil Rights movement of the sixties and migrated to San Francisco’s colorful Haight-Ashbury to be part of the counter-culture there. In the seventies, she was the first and only female shipyard welder in Bellingham, Washington, north of Seattle.  In the eighties, Hadiyah returned to the East Coast to earn her MSW at Rutgers University. In 2003, she completed the certificate program in Memoir Writing through the University of Washington Extension. She is an active member of Seattle’s thriving community of writers.  Hadiyah’s poems and essay have been published in The Journey of Healing: Wisdom from Survivors of Sexual Abuse, a Literary Anthology; Shine the Light: Sexual Abuse and Healing in the Jewish Community by Rachel Lev and Escaping the Yellow Wallpaper by Elayne Clift.  Today Hadiyah lives in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood close to her son, Washington State 36th District Legislator Reuven Carlyle, his wife Dr. Wendy Carlyle and their four children. Activist, hiker, devoted grandmother, Hadiyah delights in the wild beauty of the Northwest while remaining connected to her gritty urban East Coast roots. Though welding is no longer a part of her life, she continues to carry the torch for the empowerment of the oppressed.

Title: Torch in the Dark: One Woman’s Journey 
Author: Hadiyah Joan Carlyle 
ISBN: 978-1-937454-23-4
Page count: 252
Genre: Memoir
Price: $16.95

Tell us about your book:
My memoir Torch in the Dark is the story of how I raised my son as a single mother while struggling with issues of early childhood abuse and pioneering as a journeyman welder in a world surrounded by men who told me I didn’t belong there. 

How long did it take to write the book?
The contents of my book were written over a ten-year period.  In the beginning it wasn’t at all clear how the parts were going to fit together.  It wasn’t until the last year that the book began to take shape.  That was when I began working with my developmental editor Julie Fretzin.  Together we looked at the material I had written over the years and found a structure that worked. 

What inspired you to write the book?
I felt compelled to tell my story.  I came through a process of healing from events that happened in my childhood but were buried in my unconscious mind.  I didn’t follow the accepted path.  I didn’t buy into the mental health system.  Coming of age in the sixties when everything was being questioned—that was part of the story.  I found my own way, and I wanted to share that story.  Telling the story was also part of the healing process.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I am stimulated by writing in a group with other writers.  We write together in coffee shops and share what we have written.  Of course, we take our work home and refine it, but it’s the process of writing together that gives life to my writing.  Even though I write about events from my own life, a surprising amount of research is necessary to fill in the gaps in my memory and make sure that I am accurately reporting on what was happening around me during the time that I am writing about.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I hope that people who read the book will come away with a sense of how healing takes place.  I hope it will give them a perspective on how healing can happen in their own lives.

Excerpt from book:

Moving Metal-Shifting Shapes (p. 109)
Spring 1966.  Welding.  I first hear the word from Robert, my next door neighbor on San Pablo Avenue.  New baby.  No job.  No money.  No husband.  I pick up stuff on the street, a cardboard box for a coffee table, a mattress for my bed. I see two bicycle wheels.  I carry them upstairs with the baby on my back.  I look at them.  I want to pull the wheels apart.  I want to twist them, bend them.  I want to dig in there and make my hands move the metal.  I want a different shape than the round rim, the symmetrical spokes.  I want to move what’s inside—the chaos, the crying out, the burning inside me.  I want to move what I can’t.  I am the steel-hardened on the outside.  I need to break open.  I thought I could do it with my hands.  They don’t move, no matter how hard I try.  I bring the bicycle wheels to Robert, who supplies dope and who rides a motorcycle.
                “Oh, you have to cut and weld them,” he says
                “What’s that?”
“Welding—putting metal together.  Can’t do it with bare hands.  You need a torch.  You need equipment.”
                “Welding?” I say.
                “It’s called welding,” he says again.
                I know I have to learn to weld.

Where can we go to buy your book?
My book is available in print at Elliott Bay Books, Secret Garden Books, Queen Anne Book Company and Couth Buzzard Bookstore in Seattle, Bluestocking Books in New York and Village Books in Bellingham, Washington.  It can also be ordered from Amazon and Barns & Noble.  As an ebook, it is available from Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook,, Ebookpie and Kobobooks.  

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
More information about Hadiyah Joan Carlyle and Torch in the Dark: One Woman’s Journey is available at

You can find out more about Hadiyah Joan Carlyle, Torch in the Dark and her World of Ink Author/Book Tour at



  1. Ten years is a long time to work on a book! It must've been a labor of love.

  2. I have read this memoir and found it to be a really really really good story about life in the counter-culture. As Carlyle shows us, the hippy time wasn't just about riots and fire, bombs and Patty Hurst and the SLA but about honest people caught up in desperate times trying to find anchors. Carlyle found hers and writes the journey so truthful you can smell the weed and the welding torch. I urge you all to buy, read, and even study this memoir. It is a model that contrasts so well to the scandals of fake memoirs.