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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Social Checking Services are Watching You

August 5, 2011

 

The work place and technology keep changing. It used to be easy to get a job. You fill out an application, do an interview and you either get hired or not. Simple. Now most corporations have you apply online that takes close to an hour to fill out. They require 2 phone interviews before an in person interview. Then background checks and drug tests. A lot of prospective employers even google your name to see what they can find out about your activity on the internet. Personally I’ve wondered if this has been a reason I didn’t get a response on many job application in the past 5 years or so.

 

The past few years some companies hire “social checking” services to go beyond the general google or any other search engine findings. A recent study by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) shows that 50% of employers are taking advantage of the new services up from 34% in 2008 and 20% are planning on using the services. These “social checking” companies specialize in watching and reporting applicant’s activities on social networks like facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc. looking at everything from blogs to photo albums.

 

It’s entirely legal and complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Some question whether it is invasive of individual’s privacy come up but it seems pretty cut and dry. Most of us know by now that what we make public on the internet is open for anyone to see if we don’t make it private. Even if a person makes it entirely private there are ways around it.

 

The question of reliability of the information gathered because people present what they want to say about themselves and try to give the best not necessarily the most honest version of themselves on the social networking sites.

 

Personally I’ve been aware that what I post and say and do onine can be seen by everyone. Some of my sites, blogs, pictures, statements etc are definitely a bit risqué and even pornographic at times. I’ve accepted this fact as an artist and writer. I am willing to put myself out there to be true to myself. My art and writing has never been mainstream and I have nothing to hide. It’s more important than hiding everything to please others including prospective employers.

 

I know a lot of people that won’t have anything to do with me online due to the nature of their careers. They keep everything private and hide out only connecting with their closest of friends and family members.

 

If I’m ever hiring I might use a service but I’ll be looking for honest people not the ones that seem “normal”. I feel bad for the people that don’t think about it and have pictures of their parties and drinking and wild side that a social checking service finds and may ruin their chance of a career that they wanted.

 

Then again is the real you the person that sits in front of an employer for an interview or the “you” you project online? Either way there’s some kind of deception and some honesty.

 

For me, I am just going to keep doing what I do. Post what’s on my mind. Or maybe start my own service. Hmmmm.


Don’t Read This if You’re a Member of facebook

July 30, 2010

Another friend deleted me on facebook. A real friend in real life. You know facebook, right? Everybody is on it. I’ll bet your grandmother is on there. Right? It’s just a social networking site. Why does it bother me? Why do I bother other people? It’s just an internet web site to post pictures, talk, make comments to each other and try and have fun in between living in the real world. It’s also addicting for me. I’m an addict.

In the spring of 2003 someone I knew told me about this site called Friendster. You probably never heard of it, right? It was like MySpace and facebook but a little more primitive. I went on there to make new friends and maybe meet a woman. I went on some dates and it didn’t work out but at least I was networking a little bit and taking to new people. I liked it.

During the summer of 2003 one of my Friendster “friends” told me about this new and exciting site called MySpace so I tried it out. I liked it. It was a lot of people with interests like myself and I started to go wild on there. I was finding old friends and meeting new friends. I started dating from there too. I went on a lot of dates and talked to a lot of people that summer. Then I discovered “blogs” or journaling. I had tried journals online before but without knowing if anyone was reading it I felt like it was worthless.

It started when a friend of mine started writing to impress each other and ourselves. Then a girl got involved so the three of us would write and comment on each other’s writing. I was really into the feedback as well as the writing. I basically wrote the way I did now telling stories of my real life and my feelings and reactions with the occasional story and poem thrown in. It became bigger than the three of us. Other people started commenting and writing as well. MySpace became my new artistic outlet. I soon started writing a novel. That’s another story.

I was on there for years and eventually used it to market my bands. I used it to book bands when I was a booking agent for a local bar. Between the writing and promoting I really made full use of MySpace. Of course I kept social networking and making new friends and finding old ones. It was a great time on the internet.

A friend sent me an invite to join this other social networking site called facebook. I wasn’t really interested and I threw together a half assed profile in 2006 and pretty much forgot about it for well over a year. Friends at work kept bugging me to get on there. “I wrote on your wall last week and you didn’t comment.” They’d say. I didn’t know what a wall was. Great another language I had to learn. Suddenly MySpace started filling up with more and more people that were less social or interesting and I kept getting friend requests on this facebook thing. What made it a little more interesting is that people I haven’t seen or heard from in years were contacting me including family members.

I joined everyone else as facebook started to boom and take over the social networking market. After I learned how to utilize it I started to like it. I kept writing on MySpace. I felt more free on MySpace since I was fiends with family and friends that didn’t know what I was about on facebook. I kept my facebook fairly tame for this reason and I was picky on whom I was friends with. I only wanted to be friends with those I actually knew. This was a lot of people because I had a lot of internet buddies from MySpace jumping over and requesting me. As long as I knew them it was cool.

I’ve become pretty addicted to using facebook. I enjoy networking, sharing videos, etc. I still held back a lot of my darker stuff and thoughts because of the family and certain friends that I didn’t know that well. I do post a lot of things because I love being on there.

When I got fired from my job in May 2010 I made a decision to stop censoring myself and start promoting myself in all internet avenues. MySpace was drying up and less people were reading and commenting on my blogs. I created my own blog site on wordpress.com. richhillenjr.wordpress.com. I started linking it to my facebook profile. I also started making videos for my poetry, spoken word and songs. I created a “fan” page for myself on facebook as well. My goal is to keep everything linked together and use facebook to promote myself and I figured I’d make some new friends as well. Have fun and network. That’s what facebook is all about for me today. I started reaching out and finding more and more friends that have things or friends in common and request their “friendship”. I accept anyone’s request unless they look like a spammer that just wants to sell things. That’s ok too. For them. I like to mix it up and hope that the people I am friends with get what I’m about and like what I sell or write or do.

I take a chance everyday that I’m going to piss someone off or offend them with something I say on there. The people I thought I might scare off surprise me as well as my close friends. The family and friends that I though might get offended or get tired of me posting too much tell me that they like what I do and some of my close friends that I thought got me deleted me. I admit that my feelings get a little hurt when this happens but since they are my friends I ask them. Their answers are either that they are tired of logging on and seeing a bunch of posts from me or that some of my pictures or comments were offensive to them. At least they admit to the reasons. I shouldn’t really care. In the long run I don’t but sometimes it bothers me.

We are all different people and perceive things differently. They have the right to delete me as much as I have the right to say or post whatever I want. That is that, right?

It sure took a lot of words just to say that my friends deleted me. Thanks fro reading. Ha.


Damned Yellow Socks: the Biography of a Novel

July 10, 2010

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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