Thursday, 26 April 2012

Excerpts from the Introduction and Chapters 1-2


"Fear of failure prevents many people from taking on a project, of course, but my greatest fear has always been venturing down this stark road alone, down lanes of memory replete with pain, regret, shame and so on. I still fear this, but I am at a point in my life where my pain exceeds my fear, and I now know that I must write this book if I am to have any relief; any freedom."

"While there was much drunken, drug-induced idiocy throughout my life, particularly during my years as an adult entertainer, I refuse to hide behind the facile excuse of temporary insanity brought on by intoxication ... I made a decision to live a morally questionable and risky life based on perceived rewards, and, far short of removing my sense of right and wrong, the drinking and drugging merely minimized my give-a-shit factor."

Chapter 1 - My Earliest Memories

"I seemed to make friends with the other children in my neighbourhood fairly easily and was, all-in-all, a pretty likable kid. I didn’t get into any major trouble, wasn’t a rebel of any note and hadn’t yet come to prefer my own company. I certainly hadn’t developed the deep sense of misanthropy that would later become the lens through which I chose to see the world."

Chapter 2 - Home Life as a Boy

"All of the houses in the picture were black and white except for one, which was fully coloured in. Our teacher asked us what we thought the coloured-in house represented ... “Home; it reminds me of home," someone said ... "There is an old saying:  'home is where the heart is,'" the teacher said ... I must have sank into my chair with just about the most contemptuous look a sixth grader can muster painted on my face.  By the age of 11, I was already proficient in the art of cynicism, and fluent in expletives.  Sorry, teach, home isn't where the fucking heart is in my world, I thought bitterly." 

"To this day, I remember the smell of my dad's clothes when he came home from work: the sharp scent of steel mingled with the oil, dirt and fumes that he waded through all day in the factory ... I thought my dad was the smartest, toughest and most understanding man on the planet. I wanted to be him, and I watched him carefully."

"My mother and father couldn’t be more different in character, personality and temperament. How they are still together, nearly 40 years later, and they’re both still alive, is a mystery to me. My best guess is that my dad has a rather traditional view of the institution of marriage, took his vows seriously, and only sees two viable options for terminating the marriage: his death or hers."

"I would be absolutely self sufficient, relying on no one but me. I would thus avoid disappointment and eliminate the possibility of developing and fostering the kind of resentments that seemed to cripple my mother. Obviously, my plan wasn’t as airtight as I had imagined, and it wasn’t long before I was just as socially isolated as she seemed to be."

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