BOOK INTRODUCTION PART 2
And I felt that by going back, I’d bastardize that. 2) My “readers,” Sylvia Atanasio, Brett Bereny, Eric Dietrich, Tom Howard, Stacey Kiddoo, Cindy Thompson, Joey Trujillo, Susan Ziegler, professed to be tremendously entertained, and since all of them are incredibly bright, well-read, introspective and experienced-in-life, I figured I was onto something. Their suggestions, but mostly, their encouragement, kept me at the keyboard. and 3) I figured if James Frey could get away with it in A Million Little Pieces, and sell 5 million copies(!) with a “Memoir” that is largely considered everything from anti-structure to brilliant to utterly non-sensical—if he could get away with it, well, then I could too.
I feel it’s important to mention Mr. Frey and his book. If I have even a modicum of success with Been There, Done That, I suppose that the comparisons to A Million Little Pieces are inevitable. Thus, there’s something I need to get out of the way here and now…EVERYTHING in MY book is TRUE. There is a small possibility that some minor details are out of order, in terms of chronology, but I did my level best to check with people that were there and doing that with me, to reduce this possibility. Further, and more importantly, NOTHING is FABRICATED, nor even slightly embellished, throughout.
Going back to “back-tracking”…Really, the only time I’d go back is when I had started a section and left it incomplete, and would go back to add to it.
Probably just as I’ll do with this Introduction, which I’m starting on October 24, 2011 (so again, please, if you will, forgive me my mood swings).
Been There, Done That was written in numerous locales. Basically, I’d carry my old-school RCA microcassette recorder everywhere, and when the mood really struck, fire up my laptop in the most unlikely of places. The words themselves have been written in their entirety in Word files, on my slightly-used, increasingly beaten up, Dell Inspiron E1505. At a “massage parlor” in Bucharest, Romania, at the African Advocates for AIDS 10th Anniversary Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, at the Insane Clown Posse’s “Annual Gathering of the Juggalos” in Bumfuck, Illinois, in ocean view diners, bars, cafes and ratty motels up and down the California and Oregon Coasts, and in just as many bars and cafes in Studio City and Hollywood, CA, near my current home. (Thank you Michael Dell and Company for building such a durable machine, and thank you Samantha for allowing me to pick it up from your office after my last laptop crashed). I quickly dispel my notion of thinking I want to settle in, simply by observing the varied locations in which I wrote. To live, I need to stay on the move. Mostly, my book was written at my previous home, behind chain-link and razor-wire in, the cavernous Porn Studio in North Hollywood, and in the small “guest cottage” in the backyard of the bucolic home, on a tree-lined suburban street in Valley Village, where I now reside. The ONLY constant throughout, has been Ramone, alternately fixing me with that withering Daddy-I’m-bored-out-my-mind-can’t-we-do-SOMETHING!?! stare, or snoring contentedly at my side.
Being the ever-organized guy I am, at least in some aspects of my life, I created folders –“categories,” if you will—as my writing progressed. …
“Diary;” “Tall Tales;” “Philosophy;” and “It’s Just Part of Life.”
The basic idea is this:
The DIARY entries, which were written during the time frame in which I wrote this book, do appear chronologically. A current Diary entry brings to mind something that happened at a point in my past,
…thus segueing to a TALL TALE, which is basically a short story, start-to finish…which I sometime wrap up with…
…MY PHILOSOPHY ON WHATEVER, which is my take on what occurred at that point in time, and how it affected me and changed my outlook, no matter how small.
Lastly, IT’S JUST PART OF LIFE is a stand-alone segment, apropos of nothing, which I’ve done my best to place at a spot where it makes the most sense .
It didn’t dawn on me until halfway through putting four fingers to keyboard (both middle fingers and both index fingers; that’s how I learned to type), that I would end up with eight “CHAPTERS,” the first “The Cancer Years,” picking up when I was sixteen. (The complete title of the Chapter is “My Mom Dies Suddenly and Tragically. Causing my Dad to go to work on the road to pay the bills. Thereby leaving my Brother and I to our own devices. Thus, the Juvenille Delinquency years ensue. (Well –as much as Two Boys growing up as Upper-Middle Class Jews in the Valley can be Delinquents anyways). (and oh yeah, I stress out to the max, giving myself three years of ‘terminal’ cancer hell).”
As these “Chapters”, which also appear in chronological order, evolved, I realized they would provide some cohesiveness and continuity to what I’d written. (In other words, I hope it all makes sense to YOU)
In total, as I write the first part of this Introduction on October 24, 2011, I am anticipating having hundreds of individual files within the aforementioned sections, to string together. And I’m looking forward to it! Writing this book has been a hell of a journey. It’s brought me to the depths of despair, to the highest peaks of exhilaration; it’s caused me to drink more and take more pills than I have ever before in my life and it’s put me on back on the path to physical and emotional health, I path which I hope, and intend, to continue to walk with firm footing; it’s made me hate beyond a level to which I would have believed I was capable, and love with a fuller heart, also blessedly beyond which I previously believed I was capable. Writing this book has caused me to look inside, deep inside, to recognize, and to admit to the foolhardiness of much (read: most) of my life, and it’s given me just the very beginning…just an inkling…of a notion…that I am capable of the type of change that can (pray:will) give me lasting happiness and peace, and the opportunity to spread a bit of that to others.
In writing this book, I’ve probably earned myself a beating from a monstrous, very famous MMA Fighter, and a hissy fit from an even more famous Pro Wrestler, several lawsuits, likely jail sentences (praying on that stauate-of-limitations-thing) and a pair of cement shoes courtesy of a prominent, reputed Las Vegas crime family. Who knows how may lives one lives, but you only die once. So, who gives a damn? Right?
Indeed, writing Been There Done That has been a journey, just as life has been, and God-willing, continues to be, day-after-blessed-day.
I wish you a safe, (relatively) sane and exciting journey. And the desire, the commitment, the conviction, to LIVE, and to write YOUR story, day-after-blessed-day-after-blessed day-AFTER-BLESSED-DAY.