Damned Yellow Socks: the Biography of a Novel


I started writing blogs in 2003 mostly on a social networking site called MySpace. I act like you’ve never heard of the now dying site. It was the beginnings of it’s popularity back then and my friends and I would write blogs day after day and comment back and forth and we even started a writer’s group that met in the real world once a week and read our prose or poetry or whatever and critiqued and commented on each other’s work. Good times. During this time I decided I was going to write a book based on a few of my blog entries on MySpace. One of the titles and storied mentioned a pair of yellow socks and won’t into it because that is the title and I want you to buy the book and find out for yourself.

Anyway, I decided on the title at the start. I knew how it was going to begin and decided ho it was going to end. I needed to write the middle. You know the book itself. So, it started as talking about my relationship with my natural parents especially my paranoid schizophrenic mother. The more I wrote this personal stuff I realized that I am going to fictionalize it. Although I drew from personal experience I added and made up a lot of great stories. It became a confessional fiction about a man’s relationship with his crazy mother and how it effected his future relationships with crazy friends and especially crazy girlfriends and wives.

I was extremely committed to writing this book. I had to write at least a few pages a day. Then one day my computer died out on me and when I put in the new software the 64 pages or so were gone. I freaked out and didn’t write for a little bit. Then I remembered that I posted some of it on MySpace and I emailed some of the stories to myself as a back up. I pieced a good portion of it back together and I was off to the races writing again. I was more determined to finish this and I kept backing it up on disk and emailing it to myself for safe measures.

Somewhere along the line I drifted away from it. I would only write occasionally towards the book. I never stopped writing blogs, journals, stories and poetry. It gave me a quick fix. The book was a slow endeavor. It was always in the back of my mind. Year after year I would move up 50 pages or more but I kept putting it on the back burner.

From 2004 or 2005 until 2007 I found myself in a band that I wa more committed to. Right before our final fall and break up I actually believed we were going to take it to the next level of making money at it for a living. Of course we broke up. Everyone was too talented and were going to move on eventually. Except for me. I play solo sometimes with my acoustic guitar but it’s not the same.

I tried again with a new band the end of 2007 to the middle of 2008 and my heart just wasn’t in it as much. I was also diagnosed as Bipolar and took some heavy drugs and I was on pain pills for my Trigeminal Neuralgia. Look it because I don’t feel like writing about it now. Painful disorder. The mix of all of the pills threw me for a loop. I couldn’t function well especially at my job that was giving me horrible anxiety attacks. I was the walking dead with frequent anxiety. Ha. What a mess.

I still dabbled in the book now and again. I managed to get reviews published in various online magazines and such but the book was this heavy weight that I knew in the back of my head I must finish. I wasn’t concerned about publishing it or selling it. All I wanted was to finish it.

Good things eventually happened for me when I decided to sober up from the pills I was taking. I was so far behind on rent. I was going to lose my job. I lost my girlfriend. I lost 16 years of continuous sobriety. I finally surrendered. I went to a new Doctor and lowered the medications I was taking. I stopped taking the pain pills. I started working harder at my job despite the anxiety.

Then I was given the opportunity to move back in with my adopted parents in March 2009. I was adopted when I was 11. That’s another story. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all good. My adopted father was sick and one of the main reasons I moved back in was to help take care of him. Despite his illnesses he was a constant creator of some fabulous art. His artistic energy was inspiring and I found myself writing my book again. My adopted mom is also a published author so she kept pushing me. It was a pain in the ass but it was working.

My adopted father started to get sicker and sicker in May of 2009. He died June 19th 2009. It was a little over a year ago. This set my depression and anxiety off for a long time. I took care of myself and my mother the best I could and continues my treatment, medication and AA meetings. I started to feel better then the beginning of November 2009 I had a breakdown for a few days. I literally thought I was going ot lose my mind and be institutionalized. I wasn’t. It was like a miracle. I woke up happy one day and I haven’t felt anything like that since.

Right after I pulled out of that funk I finally finished writing my novel. Yellow Socks: Confessions of a Non-Don Juan. I was so excited and I talked about it and told everyone and wrote about it and then I had to edit it. I asked around and had a bunch of people read it and one of my friends did a great job editing it and footnoting it but it was in a different file format and I had trouble transposing it to my documents. I priced editors and it was too expensive for me at the time. I had to do it myself. I was a bit deflated. I lost my enthusiasm.

Editing was a pain in the ass.  I had to read and re-read my novel and watch spelling (thank God for spell check), grammar, syntax and continuity. It was a slow process that I had to force myself to do. Again my mom bugged me about it. Months went by and I was still editing. “Almost finished. Almost done. Keep going.” I’d tell myself. I’d always end up writing other things. I have always preferred the quick fix.

On May 26th 2010 I lost my job. Well I didn’t lose it. I knew here it was but it wasn’t mine. I got fired. Read one of my first blogs –

https://richhillenjr.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/i-got-fired-from-my-day-job/

or my YouTube video blog about it –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0cgoudLTGc

My mom was away and I was afraid to tell her I was fired like she was my wife or something. The first thing I did was file for unemployment. The second thing I did was finish editing my book/ I was in so much confusion about the job loss I needed to accomplish something.

Now it’s finished. I was a little disappointed when I reduced the typeface from 16-point type to 12-point type that it went from 286 pages down to 164. I thought to myself “I spent almost 7 years writing a 164 page book? What took so long?” Ha. Well I think I covered that.

So it’s done. I only found one publisher that I think is appropriate because some of my content is a little sexually graphic. Although, everyone that read it so far doesn’t think so. I finally got all of the requirements down for them and Ill hopefully be sending it out soon.

I asked a few of my published friends what they think I should do and they all agreed that I should self publish it. One gave me a website that will publish it and get it on Amazon.com and the Barnes and Noble website. They are a make as you buy company. In other words they only publish a book when someone orders it so it will only be available online unless I buy a bunch and resell them or give them to independent book stores on consignment. I figure most people buy online these days anyway and I’ll have my book out there and in my hands while I still shop for a publisher. My friend’s book came out really nice so I know that they are good quality too.

Meanwhile, I need a cover design. I had this vision when I finished the book of what I want the cover to look like. After about a month of trying to get a model to get photographed in Yellow Socks I’ve got a commitment for tomorrow with the photographer, model and other models for the back cover. I still needed a pair of yellow socks.

I figured I’d wait until the last minute in typical Rich Hillen Jr style. I did pick up a pair that were the right shade of yellow but not the right kind. Yesterday I went to Wal-Mart. Nothing. Actually. I found a pair hat were the wrong shade. I went to a dollar store after that. Nothing. A few friends suggested Target and urban Outfitters so today I was on a mission. I found one pair almost the right color at target but it had a leopard pattern on it. I bought them anyway. Then I tried Koels because it was in the same shopping center. Nothing. Next up was Sports Authority because someone had mentioned that soccer socks come in yellow. There was nothing there either. I went to Urban Outfitters across the street at the mall next. Ugh. I hate the mall especially after working at restaurant inside the mall for almost 6 years. Parking was tough on a Saturday afternoon. Luckily Urban Outfitters has an outside entrance so I didn’t have to enter the mall.

I looked around and the girl at the register asked if I needed help. I told her my dilemma and she brought me to the women’s socks section. There was nothing. She suggested I try the men’s department upstairs. I was directed near the show department and there they were. Yellow socks at last. They are going to be a little too big for the model’s feet but they will do. One more step closer to having my novel or book or whatever you call it published. One day at a time. Just like you put your yellow socks on one sock at a time.

The End (for today)

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2 Responses to Damned Yellow Socks: the Biography of a Novel

  1. Amanda says:

    I can’t wait to read it!! Sounds right up my alley… crazy women- I might know a thing or two about them. Very exciting stuff! Kudos!

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