With all the news and hubbub over Amazon being denied the greenlight to set up HQ2 in NY, as well as Amazon being seen as a contributor to the homelessness crisis in Seattle, you’d think the number one online retailer would be labeled as The Evil Empire. I’m sure quite a lot of folks view them that way and their overlord, Jeff Bezos, as being nothing more than a steel-spined, mace-wielding dungeon master. But all is not so graven, though. Amazon is now so big, I’m actually surprised they haven’t branched out and started selling other items you can’t usually buy online, like cars. Or hot food. And that’s what makes them a recluse’s dream – almost.
As a near recluse, it’s easy to see why people become this way. Enya, the multi-millionaire singer/songwriter who lives as a recluse in a well-protected castle in Dublin, is an example of this. Who wants to deal with all the ornery, subjugating personalities that you encounter every day? People can be ruthless and smothering, and I’ve found that, over the years, it was best to avoid them all personally. I’ve actually given it a shot, several times in fact, from when I lived in an isolated reservoir in upstate NY to my lengthy stays in my car on the highways and byways of America. I really wish I could stay hidden forever, but one thing keeps dragging me out of my castle – restaurants.
I have a history of buying food and items in bulk from Amazon; they’re perfect for that sort of thing. 100 cans of chili here, 150 cans of Chef Boyardee there – all that goes a long way with the 100 rolls of toilet paper that’ll get delivered promptly to your door, no questions asked. But, if you’re like me, and you sometimes get tired of eating the same things day in, day out, you have no choice but to dine in one of the local eateries every so often. I suppose getting in a little sunlight now and then is probably good for the soul, so I shouldn’t complain. Still, I have a prediction: Amazon will offer a drone service where you can order any meal from any restaurant and have it delivered to your site, remote or not, within, say, 30 minutes. Now that would be the perfect recluse’s dream.
My first novel, Commoner the Vagabond, is available now on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. If anyone would like a free copy to listen to and review on Amazon, I have 25 codes left. The audiobook was narrated by Deb Lynn Carnefix. The whole experience was an interesting none, to say the least. Here are the links for your convenience.
It’s interesting that, on Amazon, “Commoner” is categorized under Parenting & Relationships > Special Needs > Disabilities. I say interesting because I didn’t choose the category. They did. I feel good about the category its in because it’s another voice of support and recognition for those with disabilities. It also places the book in the same category as bestsellers like “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” an award-winning book that eventually became a play which, incidentally, played in Seattle a few months ago. It’ll only be a matter of time before a film is made.
No one has to tell me I’m pretty cynical. I already know that. It’s how my extreme black and white thinking works and it’s something I can’t turn off, no matter how hard I’ve tried. That said, I often “weaken” to play the naive fool. Every so often, I try to give society the benefit of the doubt and seek out care for my homelessness and mental issues. In the end, all I did was illustrate just how incompetent, frustrating, useless, parasitical, insulting, ass-backwards, corrupt, inconsequential and self-serving “carers” were. It’s just a money game. The solution for the homeless mentally ill? Shoot them in the face or lock them away in jail. To wit:
- I contact psychologists for help and diagnosis. They say things like, “Sorry, I’m not taking any more clients” or “Sorry, you don’t have the right insurance” or “Sorry, cash only.”
- I contact housing alliances. They say things like, “Sorry, you need to be referred from Western State Hospital” or “Sorry, you need to have an active addiction” or “Sorry, your income is way too low for our low cost housing” or “Sorry, the intake coordinator is out. Just leave your name and number and he’ll get back to you as soon as he can” or “Sorry, no vacancies” or “Sorry, you have to put your name on the waiting list which, by the way, is 9 years long” or “Sorry, you have to be 62 years old” or “Sorry, you have to be a veteran” or “Sorry, you have to be a client at Such and Such Clinic, but when you contact Such and Such Clinic, they say sorry, we’re not taking any more clients till the fall.”
- I contact hospitals for tests for my mental condition so I can help from the state’s Developmental Disability Association, but they say, “Sorry, your insurance won’t pay for the exam” or “Sorry, our waiting period is about a year due to staff cuts or whatever” or “Sorry, we have no more beds” or “Sorry, you need a referral from one of our allied psychiatrists, and naturally, you then find out their allied psychiatrists aren’t taking on any new clients for a year or don’t take your insurance anyway.”
And they wonder why people give up and just go live on the street or commit crimes just to get in out of the cold. It’s sad, really, especially in a city as prosperous as Seattle. My goodness. The world-renowned Seattle Seahawks live here. The richest corporations (Boeing, Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft) in the world and their CEO’s live here. We have football and basketball stadiums, concert halls, skyscrapers, the world famous University of Washington, the fastest growing tech sector in the nation and some of the most expensive real estate in the land. And we have the extreme poor and mentally ill living under bridges and in cars. Shame. On. Seattle.
Whenever terrorists (sorry, they’re not freedom fighters) strike somewhere, like in Dhaka, Bangladesh yesterday, a part of me gets sucked out because of the tragedy. I think being an “international” type of person makes me feel the anguish deeply. By international, I mean I can relate to the recent ambush at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando because most of the dead were gay and some were also African-American. It also hurts that a lot of the dead were also Puerto Ricans because their men are some of the hottest in the world. I’ve been with a few myself. In Dhaka, one of the dead was beautiful 19 year old student Tarishi Jain from India. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she was a Jain as quite a few Jains have that surname.
Today should’ve been a day of celebration for me because I published my new book, You Can’t Sleep Here: A Clown Guide to Surviving Homelessness, today on Amazon. Here’s the link. https://www.amazon.com/You-Cant-Sleep-Here-Homelessness-ebook/dp/B01HUKCDO8/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1467509819&sr=8-3&keywords=you+can%27t+sleep+here#nav-subnav
The governments of the world really have to put a stop to these extremist, radical ISIS soldiers; the faster, the better.
Yay! This is something I’d been meaning to do for years but was often sidelined by depression. ‘Commoner the Vagabond’ is a novel about the trials and tribulations of a homeless man with Asperger’s Syndrome who gets into frequent trouble with the law. His vindication comes in when a TV show about his exploits become popular and he becomes the darling of the downtrodden in his hometown of Seattle.
No, the book isn’t about me, but as they say, write what you know, right? Right now it’s available on Kindle, but hopefully, there’ll be a paperback edition in the future.
In other news, I started creating the chapters for my new book which I plan to call “Homelessness 101: A Clown’s Guide To Survival”. I was going to write it with my homeless friend Travis but he just returned home to his family in the Midwest. I guess I’ll go this one alone. It’ll be more a book of humor than an actual survival guide. That means I’d like illustrations galore. I can attempt that but it’d be better if a professional artist did it as I’m only so-so in that department. I should have “101” finished in about 2-3 months so I’ll start looking for an illustrator pretty soon.
As we speak, the paperback and Kindle versions of Wetland can be found on Amazon. I contacted the University Bookstore (UB) yesterday but they told me my book would have to be available at Ingram for a discount, and returnable, before they stocked their shelves with any. According to my publisher, only their best selling titles end up at Ingram. I guess it’s way too soon for Wetland. What a Catch 22, huh? UB can’t carry my books unless they sell, but my books can’t sell unless they’re being carried by UB! I do plan to hit up a few brick and mortars like Third Street Books and Elliot Bay Books in the coming weeks so I’m optimistic.