Content warning: This post deals with stalking and violence and could be triggering for some readers.
Stalker, noun. A person who follows and watches another person over a long period of time in a way that is annoying or frightening.
Ellis Gunn calls him The Man.
The Man in the park. The Man at the auction house. The Man at the cafe.
The Man sitting in his car outside her home.
The Man at her young son's school.
She knows his real name, of course. So too do the police.
But this story isn't about the Man. It's about Ellis Gunn, a Scottish-born poet who lives in Adelaide with her husband and children.
Today, her memoir Rattled is being released, and alongside the usual nerves a writer feels when they let loose a body of work into the wild, there is another emotion Gunn is feeling: fear.
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"It's quite nerve-wracking. My concerns around potentially the stalker finding out... I mean, he hasn't been around for years. And I don't imagine he's interested in me anymore," Gunn tells Mamamia. Her voice is warm and quiet over the phone; her Scottish lilt pleasant.
"But it's just the idea that he might google my name out of the blue and realise that I've written about the experience. And then if he reads the book, he's definitely going to be angry about that, I would say. Because he's a stranger, I have no idea what he's capable of.
"I don't know how his mind works and what extremes he's potentially willing to go to, to get some kind of revenge for me telling the story."
The story - Gunn's story - is both an easy read and a difficult one. You'll likely devour the pages of Rattled in a night... and have to leave the light on afterwards.
The memoir recounts her innocuous - and chilling - meeting with the Man at an auction house and how quickly that first encounter escalated into stalking. How she went to the police. How, while sympathetic and understanding, they couldn't really do anything because nothing had actually been "done" to her. How she was frozen with fear and crippled by panic attacks.
Gunn also weaves in other traumas in her life, including domestic violence and sexual assault, into the memoir. The language is beautiful, even though what she is describing is not.
"When I first started writing [the book], that wasn't what I intended to write. I was going to write a book about homesickness and immigrating to Australia from Scotland," she admits.
"I was thinking about all the things that had happened to me since coming here, and I thought about the stalker, and I started writing about that. And then the story kind of poured out of me almost like it was writing itself.