Publishing Startup: Publishing Hau[5]

Hi. My non-fiction book, “You Can’t Sleep Here: A Clown’s Guide to Surviving Homelessness” has been published at a new literary startup based out of Austin, TX. Here’s the link to the first few pages:–A-Clown-s-Guide-To-Surviving-Homelessness.php

It’s nice to see my titles getting around. As you may know, my novel “Commoner the Vagabond” is being narrated as we speak and should be available as an audiobook at ACX in the next few months. I’ve listened to the first chapter already. It’s weird to hear the words I’ve authored being read aloud. Makes my book seem…important. The narrator is Lynn Carnefix from Kentucky and it sounds good so far.

Test Subject A – The Comorbid King

KingI need a beating. It’s true. There’s a guy I hang out with from time to time which, for all intents and purposes, can be referred to as my friend. Since, in the past, I’ve had to “buy” friendship with drugs and alcohol, I now find it difficult to refer to anyone I socialize with as being a friend. That’s obviously my trust issues screaming in my ear, but that can’t be helped; years and years of being abused will do that to anybody.

Test Subject A is a 42 year old white male from these environs. Like me, he has a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Like me, he never settled down or had kids, unlike his siblings and cousins which all did. Like me, he is saddled with the same mental issues of generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder and autism. Where we differ is I also have PTSD and undiagnosed BPD whereas he is topped off with ADHD and anosognosia. Like me, we were both homeless for years. Like me, we ended up in the same outpatient treatment facility and, coincidences of coincidences, now live in the same transitional housing facility. Like me, he has a morbid fascination with horror films, metal bands like Iron Maiden, and the occasional video game. His interest in video games way eclipses mine, though, as his head is buried in “shoot ’em ups” on his tablet for hours on end.

Our main differences is he’s a straight God believer and I’m neither of those things. Still, we try not to let those issues get in the way of our friendship as we both attend the same AA and NA meetings regularly. In that regard, Test Subject A is important to me because he keeps me sober since I’m accountable to him in a certain way; not really, but by choice.

I’ve known my test subject, excuse me, my friend, for about a year or so. Like anyone else I encounter, I scrutinize him, take him apart, try to see what makes him tick. That’s a behaviour I can’t change since it’s based on self-preservation. He’s a cool person to chill with – most of the time. Some of his “bad” qualities, if I may be so bold, is he is quick to anger and accuse. If he says hi to someone in passing, and he doesn’t hear them return the greeting, he’s ready to tear them a new one. I’ve had to tell him a few times that the person we passed in the street did, in fact, say hi. He has also been arrested and thrown in jail about five times but he says he doesn’t know why. When pressed, he usually answers with something along the lines of, “People don’t like the homeless,” or “I guess people just like to hate on others.” One of his ongoing issues is he avoids going into a local department store in the evenings because of the security guard there. He says that the guard gives him grief but he doesn’t know why. In the same store, perhaps about a year or two ago, he got into a verbal altercation with a customer. He said the customer was following him around the store. When he went to complain to the manager, he was arrested and thrown in jail for a month. I said to Test Subject A, “People don’t get thrown in jail for a month because of a verbal altercation with strangers.” He said that he doesn’t know why he was jailed, maybe it was due to the manager lying to the cops about him. I told him that sounded absurd. He then said maybe he was jailed because of prior arrests.

When my friend told me about his frequent troubles with the law, he was so straight-faced about it that I couldn’t help but wonder if he truly didn’t know why he was being arrested. Was he so really unaware of his own malignant behaviour that it caused him jail time? That’s when I started researching anosognosia – a deficit of self awareness, a condition in which a person who suffers some disability seems unaware of the existence of their disability. To wit: 50% of schizophrenics don’t know they’re schizophrenic and 40% of bipolar folks don’t know they’re bipolar. Can you imagine how many autistic people are unaware of their own autism? If you’re severely autistic, then you won’t know. If you’re very high functioning, then you may just simply say, “I’m just quirky like that,” or some other brush-off reasoning.

Test Subject A – The Comorbid King is saddled with…himself. Dropped out of school during the 9th grade to concentrate on smoking weed. Said he preferred weed to school. I’ve no doubt it was a misdiagnosed learning disability that kept him away from the blackboard. In our current and present age, care of those cursed with multiple mental issues are centuries behind in development. Out on the street, the quick cure for someone having a psychotic break is to have the police put them down like a dog. It’s bad enough when someone has to manipulate the world with several mental illnesses plaguing their existence, but when they also have a learning disability and are incapable of explaining themselves, they will be denied the help they so desperately need.

To wit: the laughing joke that is SSI/SSDI. They send out questionnaires to mentally afflicted people who are neither doctors nor psychiatrists, asking them to explain why they can’t hold down a job to save their lives. Simple answer: THEY. DON’T. FUCKING. KNOW. And it’s true. Even psychiatrists and psychologists are hard-pressed in defining what someone’s mental condition is and how best to treat it, so the government expects the under-educated afflicted to understand when they have, with NO training or expertise in that area? What a joke. It’s what makes people like my friend slip through the cracks and end up on the street. It’s what makes people end up in jail and prisons year after year. It’s what makes folks abuse drugs and alcohol by the bucket loads continually.

ADDENDUM (3.23.17): Yesterday, at an NA meeting, as I was about to read from the “Just For Today” literature, my friend blurted out, “Don’t talk about religion.” I was immediately annoyed at his comment because, to me, it amounted to censorship, which I despise. Looking back, I have to try and understand how blunt my friend could be. In fact, his lack of comprehension in the subtleties of conventional social communication has caused him many arguments and fights over the course of his lifetime. There was one area, however, where this behavioral trait came in handy.

My friend was once arrested for public indecency. When he eventually appeared before the judge, he was ruled incompetent and promptly released. The judge realized that my friend really didn’t have an understanding of whatever he’d done was right or wrong. The Comorbid King understands right and wrong for the more obvious things – driving a car up on a crowded sidewalk is wrong, farting in a crowded elevator is wrong, stealing candy from a baby is wrong. He wouldn’t hesitate, however, to tell someone at a dinner party that their teeth is crooked and needs fixing, or the clothes they’re wearing belongs on a younger person and not someone of their age, or he needs to move his bowel right away because the milky appetizer went right through him. (Being an aspie myself I had to research what is inappropriate to say at a party because, well, I don’t really know, either!)

New Year’s Resolution: Going Out on a Limb

keep-calm-and-buy-my-books-2Well, a new year is upon us and, like previous years, started off with a bang. At least for me, anyway. After getting drunk on New Year’s Eve, busting out two windows at a bank, and getting three days in jail for it, I now vow to turn my life around. (Yeah, I know – famous last words). Seriously, though, drinking has to come to an end. It’s a waste of money and often gets me in trouble, not to mention it’s bad for my health and goes against the teachings of Jainism. That said, I promise to give up booze and eradicate anger, hatred, jealousy and ego from my system. What am I going to do now to stay asleep if I give up the likker? I don’t have a clue since one of my bipolar systems is sleepless nights. I’ve been taking the pill Latuda for bipolar and Gabapentin for sleep but neither seems to work. All they make me do is gnash my teeth continually till the muscles in my jaw hurts. I’m gnashing my teeth right now as we speak and it’s driving me nuts.

Another reason for my drinking is the cold weather. No, that’s not a cop-out perfected my the Kremlin; it’s real. The freezing cold weather, in tandem with the bipolar, forced my sleep to end after just one to two hours. I don’t go all the way and swill vodka like they do in Vladivostok just to keep warm, but the beer is better than nothing. It forces more hours of well-deserved sleep on me, and the way I look these days, I could definitely use some beauty sleep.

For the past week or so, I’ve been focused on two things while abandoning a third. The two disciplines which are currently the mirepoix for my sanity are, one, setting up a recording studio in this computer and, two, marketing my mystery novel “Murder in Rock & Roll Heaven.” Man, if I’d known that the marketing of one title was going to be this expensive and time consuming, I probably wouldn’t have deigned to write anything to begin with. Nevertheless, what’s done is done. Since I can’t afford to pay hundreds for a, hopefully positive, review in some online magazine, or afford a proper book tour, I’ll have to take the snail approach with this one. Annoying, but inevitable.

PTSD – The Robber Inside You

ptsdLiving with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is like having a well-armed bank robber stuck in your body 24 hrs/day. The “money” he steals from you is your freedom, energy, future, pride, time and confidence. Can you imagine? You’d like to get into a relationship with someone, but just the thought that you’ll ruin it somewhere up the road, or it won’t last anyway, is enough for you to turn away any possible suitors. I know better than to write novels as quickly as I do, but the chance that I may not live to see tomorrow means I have to quickly hurry up and write, edit on the fly, and hope what I publish on the internet is as good as books that took years to write.

PTSD doesn’t allow you to get close to anyone. How can you when you’re capable of such little trust? Is that guy trying to hurt me? Maybe. Is that woman trying to hurt me? Could be. Should I trust the smiling man talking to be in the mall? Probably not; he may just be looking to empty my wallet of every penny in it.

Time is one of PTSD’s bigger thefts. It tells you to forget about acquiring long-term housing, like a mortgage or beach-front property. Why should you? Something bad will happen and send you back out on the street anyway. And with me, I’ve spent so much time on the street that the thought of moving into a place is really not first and foremost on my mind. As I’ve said in the past, I’ve been undomiciled  more than I’ve been domiciled in my life. Maybe I was a stray cat in one of my past lives, digging through garbage cans for my breakfast, lunch and dinner, constantly being chased up trees by the neighborhood canines.

I’d sure love to know that I have the time to write a novel the best way I can, but good ol’ PTSD would never stand for that bit of courtesy. Why should it? It doesn’t consider my writing as important as, say, constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure I’m not in somebody’s cross hairs.

And I don’t want to be homeless anymore. I can’t stand it. Last week I smashed two windows of a bank to get myself sent to jail because it was freezing and I had no place to sleep. (I’d accidentally locked my keys in my car – and my car was running all those three days I was incarcerated, too!) The judge said, “Eh, you’re not a criminal. You’re just crazy,” and released me. Maybe he’s right; maybe he’s wrong. I’m no criminal? The PTSD bandit in my head begs to differ, but then he thinks that he is me. My PTSD is me. That can’t be true. I hope not.

Now Diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder

comorbidityYou know, I can’t win. It seems like every time a psychiatrist sees me, their definition of what makes me tick differs from the other docs. To wit:

Creedmore Psychiatrist – diagnosed me with Depression and Autism

45th St Clinic – diagnosed me with Bipolar Disorder

Clinical Psychologist – diagnosed me with Asperger’s Syndrome

CPC Northgate – diagnosed me with PTSD and depression then later changed to PTSD and Bipolar Disorder

DSHS Psychiatrist – diagnosed me with General Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Substance Abuse Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder

I still believe everyone’s missing BPD, but, oh well. You can’t have ’em all.

My Books Are All Available In Paperback!

untouchablesRobin is happy. Very happy. Up until a few days ago, most of my books were available only in Kindle editions. Amazon now lets writers issue their books as 6×9 paperbacks. So, these past few days, I reformatted my books for paperback. Took a while because I had to create new covers, reset line spacing, reformat indents, etc. I thought the reformatting was going to be a piece of cake. It wasn’t. I’d say it took me 5 days to reformat 5 titles. “Wetland” was already available in paperback. When I get money, if I get good money, I’ll purchase my paperback editions and try to get them sold in stores around here.

In other news, when I went to see my disability lawyer, the rude receptionist told me don’t bother them because they’re swamped with work and they’ll email me if something comes up. I have half a mind to pull my application from them and just deal with SSA myself. I can’t stand rude people. What is it with people that they feel they have the right to condescend to the poor and homeless? The homeless are people, too. I guess when you’re looking down on us, we just seem like the lower caste, the untouchables. Very disappointing.

Finders Keepers

lostandfoundI must say, this has been a pretty fruitful year for me. I’ve found $30, a pair of Outdoor Research gloves, a Seahawks wool cap, two umbrellas, USB cables, a pair of sneakers, Ray Ban sunglasses, pens, coins, a long sleeve shirt, a pair of black pants, a grey sweater, more sunglasses, a pair of woolly black gloves, three pairs of ear buds, computer speakers, a still-unopened package of Schlage door locks, restaurant food in doggie bags, several car air fresheners, a Skechers backpack, a Seahawks football, several tennis balls, a Batman sun screen for a car’s window and a new spare tire. I’me sure I’m missing a few things, but all in all, I can’t complain.