Never Say Die – Say DIY!

1st printed edition of Hard Bones ready to hit the post office!

The work of Hard Bones was not over with writing or editing or re-editing or formatting. Because a book requires readers to reach its fullest expression and because I do not have a publisher, it is up to me to make sure that this project doesn’t die in silence. If you don’t know me, you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m an egomaniac or narcissist obsessed with getting attention in the middle of a pandemic. In the words of more than one shithead I dated in Philly – “What do you think, you’re better than us??” You’d be forgiven, but I might judge you for being so indoctrinated with neoliberal culture that you can’t find value in expression that serves a purpose outside of capitalism – or even in direct opposition to it. You might want to evict the capitalist cop in your brain 😬

Three finger salutes! Block print layer for cover of Hard Bones.

I’m a great writer, but not having a “great career” renders that fact irrelevant. I have an extensive background of activism, organizing, study, writing, volunteering, donating, door-knocking, etc., but these facts are irrelevant because I have never been accepted or employed by the institutional Left (apart from Union organizing, but those jobs were always dead-end/contract) – which means I lack “legitimacy”. According to the meritocratic ideology we are all swimming in, truly smart/driven/talented people naturally rise to the top and are rewarded for their effort. Of course, I reject that notion by rejecting it first in my own mind-body – and then i reject it wholesale for all of you too.

You ever think about how each and every one of us is born with the potential for greatness? I don’t mean money or a career or clout, but the potential for each of us to reach our fullest expression of humanity that brings more love into the world. I think about how quickly life circumstances come in and smash that potential – the structures and inherited trauma of slavery and colonialism playing out, child abuse, economic precarity, untreated mental illness, etc. Meritocracy would have us believe that the ocean of human endeavor is led by the best and brightest, that that liberal-ish homogenous best and brightest will fix the economy or racism or the pandemic. But again, I reject that. Some of the most important thought and strategy comes from the shadows, the underground – the realm of the lumpenproletariat. We just don’t have the platform or opportunity- yet. My work is part of a collective effort to throw off the weight meritocratic ideology so that we can see the reality of our power.

Personally Embarrassed Billionaires buttons: coming soon!

I am making 50 more print copies of Hard Bones available. $20 a copy (includes shipping, which is about $5). If you cannot afford $20 but really want a hard copy, just fill out the form and we’ll work it out. You can sign up here and I’ll message you when they are ready to ship ( payment via Venmo/PayPal/cashapp):

E-book is still available for purchase:

Thailand – US movement solidarity (design by John Connolly for Permanently Embarrassed Billionaires and Southpaw)
Never Say Die – Say DIY!

Is it just me?

How does your brain sound?

  1. It was a Friday morning and my roommate was watching TV in the living room. I wanted them to take a picture of me so I asked them and they said yes. They came to my room twenty minutes later, asked if I was ready, and then suggested we take it outside because the light was better.
  2. My roommate has off on Fridays and especially likes sleeping in until 9am and then watching The Bachelorette on the couch while drinking hot tea. They were in the midst of their quiet ritual last Friday when I barged into the living room with great urgency, voluntelling them to take my picture for a social media post that was on my mind.
  3. The last two weeks of my book-writing marathon – and the week after I completed the first draft – were activated by a fierce electrical current having no known generator, no rubber foot for grounding. The words were being pulled out of me by some terrible phantom, part muse and part jurist. Ideas and phrases that were filed away in the heavy metal catalogues of my mind were suddenly bound by new synapses that my brain matched together in geometric patterns. I wrote for eight to ten hours and read hundreds of pages on a given day. My sleep grew even more disquieted. I got an idea for a picture I could post to social media. I didn’t “know” that it would go viral, but I felt that it could based on what the picture would symbolize. I “knew” my roommate would understand just how important the picture would be, so I rushed to the living room on Friday morning to let them know that they could be a part of this important thing by taking my picture. And they took my picture, which I promptly posted on social media.
  4. I feel compelled to write this book about the last year of my life because I am a decent enough writer and my friends would support me. We have to “hit the system with everything we’ve got,” and I’ve got a few words. I want to write something that makes my friends feel hopeful and seen – but I also just want to make myself feel hopeful because my mental health is rapidly deteriorating. But if I can keep writing, I am distracted from the pain. And if I write well enough that a few thousand people would pay for it, I could help build solidarity between the pro-democracy movement in Thailand and the movement for racial justice and democracy in the US. I don’t think I’ll make much money, but I want to donate half of whatever I make. I can martyr myself on a pyre constructed of trauma and failure, commodifying my inner life to create some dry compressed biomass, waiting for a match…whew, ok. I just finished a full first draft of this thing and I will ask some people I know from the internet to read it. No wait, this is weird. This isn’t about me. I should just put it up on my blog and if anyone is interested, they will choose to give me feedback. Then I can make the big structural edits before polishing it and pitching to agents (or self-publishing). 
    • The way I see it, Thailand is headed into winter, which is dry and warm, but less humid then the rest of the year – high season. The international borders will remain mostly closed, keeping community transmission of Covid-19 in Thailand at or near zero. The pro-democracy movement s going to be very active until February, when the monsoons and smoke begin making mass public protests much more difficult. At the same time, we in the US will be sheltering in place and doing our best not to die or kill other people with our precious individuality. The weather will be wet and grey – sometimes snowy – adding seasonal depression to the mental trash heap of Covid fear, economic anxiety, and the experience of living through the rapid decline and failure of our nation-state. What if I asked different groups and people in the US to strategically support the Thai protestors during their high season (like the way K-pop stans have succeeded in doing with several movements aruond the world)? It could give people in the US hope and inspiration and escape as they take little actions from home to support the Thai movement from the other side of the world, like fans sending food and medicine to players in The Hunger Games. And then when Spring comes and things heat up again in the US (which we all know they absolutely will), the solidarity forged in the Winter could bolster the movement in the US. I know we don’t ever like to think of ourselves in the US as needing help, but I think we can all recognize that isolation is death and Covid-19 has been a deeply isolating and profoundly traumatizing event. 
    • There was a major protest coming up in Bangkok and I got the idea that I could pose for a picture in my Thai boxing shorts holding up the 3-finger salute from The Hunger Games (one of the most visible symbols of the pro-democracy movement in Thailand) and a facemask with BLM (Black Lives Matter) printed on it. I would embody a conduit – not because I am special or have any kind of leadership skills, but because it was a random idea and everything is fucked, so why not try it? I HATE marketing with every particle of my being, but maybe if my friends see it they will support it. Maybe people in the US who train Muay Thai will be interested too. Oh shit, I better get my roommate to take this picture so I can post it while the protest is happening (Bangkok is 15 hours ahead of PST) and use their hashtags. My roommate made a weird face at me when I asked them to take the picture, so I think that meant no? No big deal, I just want to get this done. I’ll just find a ledge to prop my phone against and use the timer.
  5. I needed to write this story to expel the poison trapped inside of me. The compulsion to write it was a little scary, maybe even like a manic episode. I have only ever wanted to support movements for justice and democracy with all my heart, but I just don’t think they can deal with the enormity of the crisis we are facing – environmentally, economically, and existentially. Organizing will be most useful for when things start to collapse – to survive. Grasping at social movements is like a religion for me, but when it comes to humans I don’t have much faith. If I can write about these movements I can avoid the very real, very heavy loneliness that drowns me when I am paralyzed in front of the newsfeeds, frozen in despair. Fuck, I guess I have to do some stupid social media promo for my writing. At least if I succeed in marketing my writing, there is the possibility that I could one day make my dream of a little house in Port Angeles come true. If not a house, then a studio apartment for sure. And solitude. I asked my roommate a bit abruptly if they would take my picture for the stupid social media post. I saw in their eyes immediately that something was wrong – probably because I was being a bit aggressive or too loud (holy shit why can I not just modulate my volume?!!!) in my manner of request. I am going to take that as a no and run back to my room so I don’t make things weird. Why am I like this? I am so self-absorbed; possibly narcissistic. I can’t believe I “felt” like someone in my head was telling me to take that picture. Is this a psychotic break? I definitely lack empathy, obviously.
    •  You clearly need to be medicated – just listen to yourself! You are the worst human to ever exist, precisely because you do such careless things. You need to go apologize to your roommate and pray that they don’t want to kick you out of the house. You couldn’t blame them if they did evict you – you did something shitty and you must take responsibility for your shitty behavior…I apologized, ok?? I brought it up a couple days later and they quickly affirmed that I had been a bit bossy and demanding while they were just trying to chill and see if Chasen would kick his Botox addiction this week. I was horrified and apologized profusely because I did not know that I would be apologizing for something so MASSIVE. My roommate laughed and said they forgive me, but I’m sure they secretly hate me.
  6. None of this exists. I am the universe experiencing itself, energy trapped in a fragile flesh suit, fighting gravity with calcium. My thoughts and feelings don’t matter. My actions matter. I live for the sake of remembering now, the many futures that I will not be a participating in later. If my brief human life has any purpose at all, please let it be that I leave more love in this world than I received. Please don’t let my efforts be in vain. Please just hint at the right direction for once. Please don’t leave me alone on this burning planet to repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat…until I stop repeating. Oh.

Is it just me?

Read This Book!

First round of feedback is in! Making structural changes and building out some of the intimacy that I only hinted at in the first draft. Check back for updates!

Solidarity / ความสามัคคี
MobFest #ม็อบ14พฤศจิกา #นักเรียนเลว #คณะราษฎร2563 #defeattrump #antifa #blm
democracy #millionMAGAmarch #MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavor
Read This Book!