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.