Excerpt from My First Novel Yellow Socks Confessions of a Non Don Juan

June 4, 2012

An Excerpt from my 2010 novel Yellow Socks- Confessions of a Non Don Juan

 

Skeleton Woman or Things Like Me Don’t Happen To You

 

Christ it happened again. Another notch in my “girls that want to be my friend” belt. It made sense. We were perfect friends and she was real cute too. I kept thinking that I was ok with it. I’d be happy just being a friend again. I keep turning to God for strength to accept my fate as “Friend to all women” that I’m attracted to. My acceptance level seems to be ok. I go to my happy place. I go to my cave. I say the serenity prayer over and over I am sure that I will be ok with this. Yes I will. (no I won’t)

 

Cut to a scene from Fight Club

 

TYLER

Stop it! This is your pain — this is your burning hand. It’s right here! Look at it.

 

JACK

I’m going to my cave. I’m going to my cave to find my power animal!

 

TYLER

No, don’t deal with this the way those dead people do. Come on

!

JACK

I get the point, ok, please!

 

TYLER

No, what you’re feeling is premature enlightenment.

 

Ok. I get the idea. Feel the pain. Feel the hurt. Feel the rejection saturating my heart until I bleed more than just these words all over the place and finger my open sore of a brain as it wants to dwell on her over and over again. Screaming and roaring her name with anger and grief and sometimes a slight relief that it’s done and I know that she will not reject me again unless I go back for more and more or less or a little bite of her cheeseburger and a sip of her Pepsi to tide me over until the next one comes along with better food and spirits for my, for me for. Four scores of seven years itch as I scratch the weathered tired out mongrel of an ego that was left stray years ago in a pound for wayward hearts and letches that can only love and never be loved.

 

The pain of being a friend. A friend. I’ve heard that “Let’s just be friends” millions of times in my life as I gargle a new mouthwash and toothpaste hoping my breath will be the answer to my problem. My problem is as follows: me, myself and I. We altogether are the problem. We want to be loved so bad that we give off the vibe that scares the shit out of women so they just want to be friends. Friends. Friends. I think to myself that will be fine. Friends is ok. It’ll do. I can accept that. Bullshit! Feel the pain I tell myself. Embrace it. the pain is your friend. To hurt is to be alive. I’ve never been so alive. I’m alive. So alive.

 

“Did you ever hear about the skeleton woman?” Morton asked.

 

“Was that a Glam rock band from the seventies?” I ask.

 

“Ha. Ha. Nah. It’s an ancient Indian story. This guy was fishing in the middle of a lake. He was totally into it. He was relaxed. Not a care in the world except catching the next fish. All of a sudden he feels a tug on his line and he yanks it up. A skeleton appears on his line. He doesn’t realize that it’s attached to his line and he gets scared. He starts paddling his boat away from it but it follows him. He still doesn’t realize that it’s attached to his line. He gets out of his boat and runs into the village and he is carrying his fishing rod and the skeleton is still right behind him. He jumps into his Tee Pee and it follows him in. He lies down and tries to hide not looking at it for a while. When he finally turns to look at the skeleton it has changed into the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. She is his. The moral of the story is that he was minding his own business doing something he enjoyed and that’s when the right woman came along. In other words when you are not looking for love is when it will find you. ”

 

“I know that but it’s so fucking hard to stay focused on other things without thinking about how much I want to be loved. Fall in love. Ya know?” I responded.

 

“I know. I know.” Morton said.

 

“We’re a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.” Tyler Durden

 

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Valentine’s Day Massacre in My Head

February 14, 2012

Valentine’s Day Depression

 

Depression slowly creeps into my life once again. My broken record plays the same tune we’ve all heard before.

 

“I don’t believe in celebrating Valentine’s Day.” I usually say or used to say when I was single or dating or married to a woman that would accept my statement of “it’s just a holiday dreamed up by corporations to sell things like most every other holiday.

 

My sleeping pattern has been going screwy on me. Actually my “napping” time has been going screwy on me lately. I just got myself into the habit of going to bed by 12-1 am at the latest and waking up between 5 am and 7 am. Despite my recent long naps I’ve been keeping my new habit for over 3 weeks now. Until today.

 

Is it a coincidence that it’s St. Valentine’s Day? Do I secretly associate this day with loneliness and depression? Or is all just by chance that my depression falls on society’s national romantic holiday. I woke up later than my new usual time around 9 am. I wasn’t feeling it. I wasn’t feeling the day. I thought some coffee would wake me up, pull me out of my funk. I stayed awake and prayed, meditated and wrote. I still wasn’t feeling it.

 

I said fuck it to myself and went to my bedroom with a cup of coffee and tried to finish watching a Velvet Underground documentary on YouTube and have some coffee. Something about my bed makes me unproductive and most times sleepy. I still wasn’t feeling the day and fell asleep before noon. My dreams were vivid and seemed to include all of my ex-girlfriends one dream at a time but there was no mention of Valentine’s Day. I woke up around 2 pm and had something to eat and more coffee. I went back to watching the documentary in my bedroom and was soon off to la la land.

I woke up around 6 pm with more dreams of more loves of the past and that’s when it occurred to me that there might me a correlation between my depressive state and Valentine’s Day. I subconsciously connect Valentines Day with love or lack of it whether I want to or not. Loneliness has followed me my whole life as the character Travis Bickle states in the movie Taxi Driver. That line seems to follow me through my life.

 

I’m a loner, believe it or not, and love to be alone as a result of being an only child. I can also be lonely and isolate myself at the same time. I find it difficult to see the difference sometimes. There have been times in my life where years of depression pass and I don’t even know it yet alone show it. The song “Tracks of my Tears” by Smokey Robinson comes to mind sometimes. I used to be the life of the party and then cry when I am alone. I have a great poker face in public. I even fool myself into having a great time then the depression hits me on the way home or at home.

 

I hear there are many suicides on Valentine’s Day. “A recent poll found that one in ten young adults admitted to feeling lonely, insecure, depressed, or unwanted on Valentine’s Day. And that’s just the ones that admitted it.” – Listfirst.com. I guess I’m one but then again the quote says young adults. I wonder if it’s better or worse for older adults. The good news is that I am not suicidal.

 

These are my thoughts and feelings of the day. I hope it didn’t ruin yours and you had and are having a fantastic celebration of Valentine’s Day today.

 

I’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

My favorite and my last Valentine’s Day present. She even wrote lyrics from my favorite Rolling Stones’ songs “Dead Flowers” on he tag attached. “Take me down little Suzy. Take me down, . . “


Paralyzed From The Inside Out

January 24, 2012

Paralyzed from the inside out.

My brain is functioning yet my body can’t move. Glued to the couch unable to even change the channel with the remote. I want a cigarette but can’t lift my arm to light it.

 

I can feel my insides shake nervously. Rapidly. My heart is beating a mile a minute yet I can’t move my body. My head is unfocused. The television is in front of me making blurred sounds and images.

 

I pray. I cry. I take deep breaths.

 

Finally, I can move just enough to get to the pill bottle and swallow anti-anxiety meds, I manage to sit up and wait. I fall back down.

 

It passes. Now I am worn out from the experience. Tired.

 

Whew.


Joan or Arc, Joan Baez and You!

December 30, 2011

Joan of Arc

Joan Baez

And you

 

So young an beautiful in my mind as

You once were

 

Joan Hillen

Joan Marie Siani Hillen

Mother

 

Great mission                         from God

And country

Joan died                 for it all

So young

Brave

Young

 

“Love is a

Four letter word” Joan sang

Protested war

Civil rights

Entertained thousands

 

Joan brought me into this

World I am still figuring out

You spent years

In wards of hospitals

I never understood

They never understood                      YOU

 

Oh MOTHER. I understand now.

I love you now

Now that it’s too late.

 

Joan of Arc

Joan Baez and

YOU


Today Again

July 28, 2011

Shit. It’s today again.

Lazy. Not so much. I sit. I lay. I spend the day trying to make my meets end or end meets or meats.

Pay bills. No money. Get money. Owe money. Pressure. Stress.

Mail. Social Security sent me 5 separate 10-page packets to fill out. Explain my disabilities. I tell them that the experience of filling out the forms triggers all of my disabilities. It’s true. I get almost halfway done and have already medicated myself with over the counter and prescriptions.

A night of watching Kevin Smith movies and eating the sheet of dried seaweed my roommate gave me. Wash it down with any liquid I can find to dehydrate and rehydrate me.

I create imaginary masterpieces to get the toxins out of me and into you.

Piss more toxins and negative energy away in the toilet every hour from drinking too much water all day. It’s good.

More pain. More anxiety. More pills. More time.

I sleep peacefully.

Dreams are so much better than my life sometimes. I wake up disappointed and sweating. My bladder is full. I spend 5 minutes straight unloading.

Stumble in the hot house turning on every fan and I play with the thermostat.

Drink water and wait for my coffee. Cigarettes and water.

Shit. Today again.


Epiphany Shmiphany

June 20, 2011

 

I’ve been waiting to sit down and write about an “epiphany” I had a little over a week ago. Epiphany. For such a soft word that is almost pretty as it rolls through my mouth it is a powerful word. I’ve had these changes in attitude and  realizations ( a harsher sounding word that’s way less powerful). I was basically going to tell you about the “epiphany” that I have told you about and have experiences over and over. I guess I should mention it briefly then move on, huh?

 

I was watching a documentary about Hubert Selby Jr, author of classic novels like Last Exit to Brooklyn and Requiem for a Dream that were made into fantastic movies, about a week and a half ago. Learning about the struggles of the life of an artist is just rehashing what I already knew. An artist is born that way. Born to struggle through life so he can create art. That is his purpose and contribution to life. In a world of money oriented and materialistic people, we the artists, are giving instead of taking. As soon as we share our creations with at least one other person our art is art.

 

Ok, I’m not going to go on on and on about my purpose in life and your role in it. Basically I was just reminded of what I need to remember and keep forgetting. The struggle is the burden and consistency and I have to comment, react and create from it then give t away.

 

“I am an American artist I have no shame.” Patti Smith

 

The past few weeks have been terrifying, incredible, amusing, and on and off weird.

 

I’ll start with right now. At this moment I am sitting inside a coffee shop in Collingswood, NJ. I just finished talking to a friend I’ve hung out with only a few times but when we see each other there is this bond we have and we end up in deep conversations about art, music, addiction and sometimes the meaning of life itself. Ha. He’s in a similar situation as me and we always get along.

 

I went to the welfare office at 7 am this morning and spent over 2 hours trying to get some kind of assistance. I followed it up with a visit to unemployment to waste another hour or 2. It wasn’t a complete waste. My unemployment is back on. I just had to fight for the weeks they held back. This is fantastic news after waiting almost a month without the money and bills are adding up.

 

When you’re broke. Really broke. You start thinking about every coffee, donut, dinner out, pizza delivered, soda, etc and you over analyze what you wasted money in the past while still spending the same money on the same things. Oh yeah, the air conditioning is killing my roommate and me. Both he and my landlord suggested I turn it off and leave the house each day and hang at a coffee shop or somewhere with internet connections. These days that’s pretty much every coffee shop and eve restaurants and bars.

 

I went home after the unemployment office. It was about noon. 5 hours spent on trying to get help and it was semi successful. I still had the entire day ahead of me. I still do. I rubbed one off watching Judge Pierno or whatever her name is to relax. Not long after I got a phone call from the lady I spoke with at the unemployment office to tell me that all of the past money owed to me will come through. I was more floored by the fact that the woman called me back as soon as she found out than I was about the money. That was just really nice. I was ready to get out again and head to the pharmacy and then relax at the coffee shop. I am relaxed despite the caffeine.

 

I just ran into a girl I knew from a group I used to attend. Young, beautiful and great body and she is a fellow writer. A talented writer. I had such a crush on her a while back. I had so many fantasies about her in the past few years. I haven’t seen her since this past winter when I fist grew my beard and hair long and she called me a Wooly Mammoth and I was embarrassed and I was already anxious borderline agoraphobic. Weird. It was just a cute little name-calling and borderline flirtation that helped speed up my already progressing reclusiveness.

 

Irony. Now that I am leaving the house I run into the girl that I not only had a crush on but made me not want to go out anymore. I have to admit when I first laid eyes on her I got a little anxious and I pretended not to see her. I wanted to hide and jump up and call her name. I didn’t. I went back to writing what you just read. What I just wrote. I felt comfortable when she approached me on her way out. She was actually working, looking for a story to cover for one of the publications she writes for.

 

We talked a little bit about writing and how good it was to see each other then she left and here I am. This is the message of my writing today. Random events that mean nothing and mean everything to me.

 

When I got here I randomly started talking to a guy I never met before about misery versus happiness. I happen to be learning and relearning that life is a struggle and it’s what you put into it. This is before I met the others here today.

 

Last week I went to Philly to sell my cds to a shop where I’ve known the owner for a while. We had a great talk and he gave me a great price and I left a happy man. I wandered to a coffee shop I’d never been to greeted by 3  barista angels that worked the registers and coffee machines. People talked to me and greeted me like I was someone. I grabbed my drink and tipped then sat right outside so I could smoke. Huh… I haven’t had a cigarette yet since I entered the coffee shop. Usually I jump right out side and smoke. If I did that I wouldn’t have run into my friends. Shit. Now I want a cigarette. . .  .

 

*Dramatic pause for Rich Hillen Jr’s cigarette break*

 

Great smoke break. I’m texting my friend maybe girlfriend that lives in New Orleans all about my day. She’s another story. We’ve been talking about moving in for a while but we can’t afford it yet. A long drive and she has a pooch.

 

Just 3 weeks ago (maybe 2 and a half weeks) I was so desperate and stressed about my financial condition and it’s slowly pulling itself together.

 

Once I had my “epiphany”, I felt better over all and knew things will work out if I make the effort and try not to feel or come off desperate. I was ready.

 

My roommate told me about a music shop in Collingswood that would probably give me a good deal on my amp I’ve wanted to sell. I headed out one night to sell the amp and I ran out of gas within 4 blocks from the store. I laughed. My gas gage isn’t always working right and it says that there is less gas than is in there. I was on empty and was planning to get gas after I sold the amp.

 

This teenager appeared out of nowhere and started pushing my car. We couldn’t budge it for some reason. I was a foot from the corner street wedged on the curb. I called my close friend that lived in Collingswood and he was on the road going to a show and couldn’t help. I was pretty far from a gas station. I racked my brain finding someone in the area that could and would help me out.

 

I called my filmmaker friend who I’ve worked with on a few projects and he came through for me. I was still in a decent mood. I was also lucky enough to have had a gas container. So my friend picked me up, took me to the gas station and back to my car. It worked out because he wanted to talk to me about his upcoming projects. Just as we pulled up near my abandoned giant red beat-up 1994 Lincoln Towncar there was a Mini-Cooper in front of it and my cell phone rang with an unrecognized number. I just said to my friend that it looks like my mom’s friend’s car and it was my mom on his cell phone. I laughed again. My mom and her friend were parked there checking to see if I was ok. I was. They left. It was starting to get windy and a storm was on the way. I gassed the car up, thanked my friend and drove off to get gas.

 

I debated going to the music shop because of the gas problem and the storm brewing. I went anyway. It was a great decision. There were 2 women sitting in there with a guy that worked there. I jumped right to business and didn’t even check out the ladies. I wanted money. I knew exactly how much I wanted for it and the guy looked at and tested it. He left to get the owner to look at it and appraise it. While he was gone I looked at one of the now noticeably pretty women and she said “Hi Rich.” I knew those eyes of hers. It’s been over 20 years but you don’t forget her eyes. I said hi and I was a little uncomfortable yet happy. Memories rushed through my head of all of the nights I hung out with her, her friend and my weirdo friend. Many drinks and many other things. I tripped on acid with this girl at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She was at my college graduation party. One night we got really stoned and went back to her place to look at her art (she was an incredible artist). We had a most memorable passionate night that we agreed not to tell anyone about. I wonder if it made it special because it was a one-time deal. It doesn’t matter. Here she was face to face 20 years later and looked the same.

 

I knew she lived in the area for years and heard about her musician boyfriend/fiancé through a friend of mine. I did run into her once 10-12 years ago and it was a brief conversation because we both had somewhere to go. So you can probably guess who owned the music shop I was standing in hoping to make a buck from. It was the infamous boyfriend/fiancé or whatever. Then I talked to him about the people we had in common. We talked after he paid me righteously for the amp of course. I left feeling good.

 

Then came the storm as I was leaving. A physical storm followed that Sunday afternoon after “helping” out my uncle who is really my great aunt’s live in boyfriend clean offices. I pulled muscles in my arms and shoulders. This triggered my infamous Trigeminal Disorder. The pain was at its’ worst since I was first diagnosed with it in 2005. I was running out of pain meds and I couldn’t refill them for a week. I took migraine aspirin and sleep aids. I spent most of the next 3 days away to escape the explosions in my face. I was in extreme pain for 3 days then the recovery took a day or 2. I was finally back in the world and that’s when I sold my cds and hung out in Philly.

 

This past Saturday I did my usual “helping” out my uncle whose not my uncle. Afterward, I met up with my adopted mother, the one that raised me, to have lunch in honor of my adopted father whose 2nd year death anniversary that also fell on Father’s Day. We were supposed to meet up the next day but she changed her mind and we had a great dinner and conversation.

 

On my way out I ran into another friend I’ve known for years sitting on a bench and I voluntarily joined him. This is a big step for me to be social and I hung out with him for an hour in the hot sun drinking an iced coffee from Starbucks. I was in a good mood. I headed home and watched some movies and did a little writing.

 

Sunday was Father’s day and my adopted father’s death anniversary. It was an awkward day. Having 2 dads can be difficult. My focus was on the dead one who raised me and not my biological father who came back in my life as an adult and has been there for my for over 20 years now. I called him and text him. We decided we will celebrate when I can afford it. It ended nicely.

 

Shit. This was a random bit of writing that went on forever. If you’re still reading, God bless you and thank you for sharing my life as it’s still spinning in and out of Epiphanies, pain, poverty, good memories and hopes of tomorrow, meanwhile, living in the moment no mater how good or bad it gets.

 

Ride on.

 

Right on.

 

Write on.

 

 


Contagious Mental Illness?

June 7, 2011

Is depression contagious? Are negative people really emotional and psychic “vampires” draining and infecting another person? I guess it depends on the people involved.

 

I’ve had many relationships with people that drain me emotionally. Some say I let it happen. Others believe that some people “feed” like vampires off of other people they perceive stronger or even anyone that will let them in.

 

I have always attracted people that drain me because I like people and I see qualities beyond what other’s see. In theory it’s a nice thing but in reality it’s a no win situation. I have found that despite my innate self-absorption, I am extremely sensitive to other people’s moods that surround me.

 

It’s been written about in psychology, psychiatry, sociology, and personal experiences books, novels, poems, studies and blogs for years. Self help books emphasize the importance of surrounding yourself with the people that have what you want. Experts suggest that if you hang out with people that are happy and successful you can develop their qualities. The 12 step programs have a saying “Stick with the winners”. That is quite the ironic statement. It implies I must judge people as winners and losers. It also holds some truth.

 

I have always had an attraction to people labeled as outcasts, freaks, misfits, weirdoes, creeps, and anyone different from the norm. As it turns out these people are all emotionally damaged on one level or another and can be a negative influence on my life. Being sensitive to the energy, vibes and emotions of people that surround me I tend to compare myself to them and sometimes take on their negative qualities.

 

As human beings we are all naturally attracted to people that have similar qualities to ourselves. Myself. I spent years relating mostly to mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, abused, socially abandoned people. In my estimate it was my way of relating to and understanding my natural Paranoid Schizophrenic mother. I know this about myself and I still act upon it.

 

As I’ve written and expressed many times in the past I have increasingly become a recluse in the last 3 years. It is getting to the point of agoraphobia. Some of my friends are sick of hearing about at this point. As much as I want to be alone and don’t want to leave the house when I am in a social situation whether it be a trip to a convenience store, visit with family or even my room mate I can be extremely social out of habit. Most of my life I’ve been social and extraverted.

 

The past 8 months I have lived with a fellow mentally ill friend. Other people have suggested that living with him could be bad for me. Since I am sensitive to other people’s energy and moods I find myself feeding off of him. When he is aggravated it aggravates me. When he is depressed I get depressed. When he is manic I get aggravated. We do have times when our moods are centered and we get along but over all I am uncomfortable living with someone when their moods affect me. It’s not anyone’s fault. He once reminded me that about 95% of his moods and whatever he is going through has nothing to do with me. I try and hold onto that and move on.

 

I need a new life.


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