Back in the early 90s, I was in Los Angeles embarking on what was sure to be a promising and lucrative career in arranging words on pages. A screenplay I had written as a masters thesis at Michigan won the Hopwood Award. With the hubris only a 23 year old could muster, I took to telling everyone that this was the same award Arthur Miller and Lawrence Kasdan won when they were at Michigan. I took the prize money, plus a thousand dollars I won on a 900-number version of Jeopardy! while drunk at 3am, and moved into a bougainvillea-encrusted dingbat apartment building called The Pink Flamingo in Studio City (but really North Hollywood). And, most amazingly of all, through some tenuous connections I was working with an agent who went on to be Jeremy Piven on Entourage. There were meetings in Burbank and a desk on the Universal lot between where the Classic Hollywood impersonators hung out and the Backdraft ride. Rhett Butler reeks of weed.

Then I went crazy. And I left. And I stopped writing.

Now, after more than two decades involving suicide attempts both fast and slow, lots of fists through walls, crying at the cat for hours on end, and stints in “facilities,” I’m finally back to the point where I feel like taking the word-arranging seriously again. To put it simply, they invented a medicine that works. Also, I busted my ass.

The purpose of this blog is two-fold: First, I want it to function as a writing blog where I can be forced to share and to shape my prose. Second, I would like to give the reader a glimpse into my experience with mental illness. After several attempts, I eventually received the correct diagnosis of Bipolar II –stop thinking “electric boogaloo” and start thinking more “agitated depression.” There’s been a lot of whipsawing from complete dejection and seeing no future to screaming at sales clerks about my complete dejection, my seeing no future, and their inability to correctly process a credit card transaction. I mean, what kind of monster uses a rotary dial phone to enter my MasterCard number? I am currently working on a collection of humorous tales about falling into the gaping maw of mental illness. Working titles include Losing My Shit and Great Tales in Impotent Rage. Or I may do Losing My Shit: Great Tales in Impotent Rage. People like a colon in their titles because it makes them feel smart. I plan on using ORNAMENTAL ILLNESSES as a place for letting shorter stories and ideas hang out for a while and maybe get some feedback.

All feedback must be done correctly, or I will absolutely freak. Enjoy.

The Pink Flamingo
The Pink Flamingo, where the writing stopped.

8 thoughts on “Welcome to ORNAMENTAL ILLNESSES…

    1. I knew as I was writing this and mapping out a purpose for the blog that the name might be too cute by half. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense for a few reasons…

      –I’m a sucker for word play.
      –I’m a big design geek, and my favorite architect and designer is Adolf Loos. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Loos) He was most famous for his essay “Ornament and Crime,” where he argued for the removal of excess ornament from objects. The essay has been very influential for me. The only way I was able deal with my illness was to strip away all the extraneous crap. Yeah, it’s a reach; I’m still trying to wrap my head around it for an essay.
      –Lastly, I know I have been guilty at times of wearing my illness like a shiny brooch. Want to ask me a serious question? Look at the shiny brooch. This is also part of the longer essay I’m working on.

      That’s where the explanation of the name stands at the present time… 🙂

  1. I LOVE your style. I saw your first line and wanted to see more. I saw more, and I actually laughed out loud a few times. The mix of the very serious and the hilarious (ie “electric boogaloo) is my very favorite literary cocktail. Look forward to reading more.

  2. Ornamental, thanks so much for visiting my site and choosing to follow along. So, you’ve been at this blog thing for about a year and a half (as of this comment). Is it what you expected?

    1. Trust me, it was not a tough decision to follow along 🙂 I’ve been loving blogging. It’s a great outlet for when I feel like I’m slipping down a hole. Also, I now feel that people in my life understand what I’m going thru a little bit better because I’m much clearer with the written word than the spoken. Also also, I get to play with words, and no one can stop me; it’s my toy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s