NOTE: PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO THE ‘FUTURE (OBJECTIVES)’ SECTION IF YOU’D PREFER. THEY’RE ALL THAT’S IMMEDIATELY RELEVANT TO MY PROJECTS, AND ALL THAT MANY PEOPLE CARE ABOUT. ALSO, IF YOU HAVEN’T READ REALITY BYTES YET, I WOULD RECOMMEND THAT YOU SKIP THE “PAST” SECTION UNTIL YOU HAVE. THAT BEING SAID, I’VE INCLUDED THE WHOLE STORY FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO KNOW WHAT LED UP TO WHERE I AM AND WHAT I’M DOING.
I grew up in Seattle, WA, with my parents and grandma (AKA little sister). I was a spoiled upper-middle-class “bundle of joy” who most grown-ups (but certainly not peers) thought was too amazingly remarkably wonderful to be real and would grow up to be either a Yuppie or a Missionary. I’m grateful they were wrong…after all, only the good die young.
Throughout my childhood, I had countless interests that came and went. The one persistent one, however, was writing. I wrote my first book at age three (yes, really…handwritten but bound…though the spelling was horrendous). In fifth grade, I wrote a mini time-travel trilogy that my teacher read to the class and I ended up publishing in the school library. Granted, that only contributed to my ostracism at the time.
As a teenager, the adolescence angst kicked in (#cringedays…although # didn’t mean “hashtag” in those days), and I got to be a much bigger pain in the ass (though I never got in major trouble). At fifteen, I was labeled as Aspergian, and bombarded with the pressure to overcome many problems, some of which I didn’t even know I had. How’s that for a 180? 😆
In 2004, in my young adult quest for independence (which really started when I was two), I began school at the University of Redlands (an upscale college in an otherwise obscure town next to the infamous San Bernardino). All the adults (even though I was technically one) would ask if/when I was going back “home,” and this continued throughout my mid-twenties. But I always knew I was a So-Cal guy at the core, who just got stuck in Seattle for 18 years. I personally never saw their logic in assuming I would linger in a certain area just because that’s where I happened to be born…and I still don’t.
That said, I was perfectly willing to “have my cake and eat it too.” Despite my self-proclaimed independence, I still mooched off mom and pop, who paid for my entire education out of pocket…no student loans (I still don’t take that for granted)! And my personal life/level of “togetherness” at age 18? Let’s just say I wasn’t quite up to par with Sophie Sanders (that will make sense when you read my novel)…but to be fair, women do mature faster.
I had been brainwashed to believe I had a “disorder,” or even a “disability,” instead of simply alternate neurology. This, combined with the misguided idealism of youth, can cause one to think and do some foolish things. And so it came that, when surfing the web in my dorm late one night, I would come across one site that would ultimately shape my path for the next several years. (Get your mind out of the gutter…it wasn’t that kind of site.)
I still remember that evening in September 2005. I was 19, had just begun my sophomore year, and was unwinding at my laptop in my single room. At that point in my life, I was cynical and disgruntled (for a 19-year-old, anyway). So you can imagine my curiosity (despite skepticism) when I came across a link to an eBook entitled Change Your Personality: Cure Asperger’s by Becoming a Completely Different Person.
(Side note: the book evolved over time, with such titles as Popular Prick, Popular Life, and Popular. From what I saw, it reached its peak around 2008 and 2009, incorporating an entire program…seminars, audios, etc. It no longer seems active. I have nothing against the founder or his program, and would like to acknowledge him out of respect. The only trace of the book I could find in 2018 is here.)
After a brief correspondence with the author, I bought the book and embarked to carry out this experiment myself. Of course, supposedly “curing” Asperger’s wasn’t enough (to be fair, the aforementioned program soon stopped using such preposterous phrases). I planned to graduate and use my alleged experience (combined with my Bachelor’s in Psychology) to shake society, challenge the condition on principle, and help liberate others while also pissing a lot of people off. That would be my ticket to high society. (What can I say? I’ve been a fame & fortune whore my whole life.)
Right away, this book became my bible. It involved changing one’s entire style of thoughts and interactions with others. Since I lived on a college campus, I was in a nonstop social setting, so the program was in constant action. I was much more extroverted in those days, so it wasn’t draining…in fact, it was fun at first. I even passed for a pseudo-social “normal” guy…at least I thought so. I was one of those guys everyone seemed to know, and had buddies across all circles. This uniquely occurring experience lasted a little over a year.
In Spring 2007, however, things took a major nosedive. I logically decided the best way to complete this experience would be to join a fraternity, and thus be part of the pop crowd (Aspergian-to-frat-boy…there’s an impressive “transformation”…and no, that didn’t seem like sarcasm at the time). Lo and behold, I was accepted by Sigma Kappa Alpha (also called SKA, pronounced ‘skah’)…one of the five social frats at the U of R (they’re not found at any other colleges…the school’s too small for national chapters). Unfortunately, when SKA aggressively recruited me, I wasn’t aware that (unlike the Beta Xis) they were the fraternity of outcasts, who would accept most anyone. Thus, being a member was 100% counterproductive to my goal.
To make matters worse: once they had me in their hands, I basically served as the Gimp in Pulp Fiction…only the Gimp got much more respect from his sadistic masters. Once I lived in this small frat house, I became largely isolated from mainstream campus (again, 180 degrees from my goal), and an outcast among the outcasts. After being broken down and ridiculed relentlessly during pledging, all the progress made from the book (and a lot more) was undone. Every time I would try to incorporate the “program,” it would come across as obviously forced (and thus weird or awkward), only to intensify the stigma and bullying. I even had a speech impediment develop out of nowhere…for the first time in my life!
SKA knew nothing of my background, my diagnosis, my eBook and its purpose, or my ambitions. All they saw was an awkward clueless retarded kid they could use for good laughs…and whenever girls came over, they would see to it that I stayed in that box. I was nominated as ‘Greek Man of the Year’ as a sarcastic joke, which made everyone crack up at a SKA meeting…as if I were suppose to accept this role unquestionably. My senior year in college was middle school all over again…on steroids. And it was Hell.
I suppose this was ultimately my fault, as I was swimming against the grain, and thus destined to fail. In April 2008 (a month before graduation), I concluded that the book’s experiment had not worked, and I would always be Aspergian. A brief phase of self-pity followed, but I quickly made a drastic paradigm shift that gave me twenty years of maturity almost overnight.
I graduated with my BA in 2008–SKA in the past, and a healthy, realistic perspective of what Aspergian meant–simply a different form of neurology, with its own alternative set of strength and weaknesses, like another race. By then, I was an Assistant Manager for Cutco knife sales. We took an honorary office trip to Vegas, and I was the one everybody in the office looked up to and respected (the only manager in the circle, and the highest in sales). This contrasted greatly with my trip to Vegas just over a year before–my SKA formal–where I was the designated scapegoat and underdog. It was clear that my new approach was working, and I could now look at the woefully failed experiment from a detached and objective place–exactly what a perceptive black-humor author needs. 😁
I got my MBA in 2010 (which proved about as useful as a gold star sticker on a kindergartner’s forehead), and that’s when I moved to LA County. Throughout my 20’s, I Craigslist surfed rooms-for-rent and bounced from one living situation to another…all over greater LA, though always in it. I’ve stayed here at all costs, because I intend to be famous, and this is where I need to be.
I first thought of the title Reality Bytes in 2010, and during the years above, various scenes (and key points) came to mind. I would often think them up while walking around the neighborhoods drunk and smoking a Black n’ Mild (ah, the good old days). It turns out that my SKA experience fueled the material for my novel. Also, I suppose I have them (in part) to thank for the rhino-skin, clear & objective view, and caustic wit I have today–all of which contribute to my writing (and overall entertainment) style.
After leaving Cutco, I had many menial jobs, including: cleaning rental cars, endless telemarketing, loss prevention, sub-prime auto insurance sales, working at an Indian restaurant, and even working with autistic kids through Easter Seals (who promptly fired me).
Amidst all this, I actually finished Reality Bytes in 2014. After outlining it like a graduate thesis and aligning the plot perfectly (as an analytical type, I had to do it this way), it only took 2-3 months to do the actual writing. Then I ended up sitting on it for four whole years 😠 , until I finally found a committed Beta reader, then (naturally) an editor.
And yes, I do identify as Aspergian. Do I, by definition, fall on the autistic spectrum…or anything else in the DSM-V? Nope! Confused AF? It’ll be clarified clearly and logically in my upcoming article. But make no mistake: despite my discussion of the term, my book is not confined to it.
On the contrary, just about anyone should identify with aspects of Reality Bytes, a phenomenon that should reveal itself as you read it. Everyone who’s read it so far expects it to be a big hit. The only thing is…my, shall we say, limited social circle is holding back the promotional process. 🤨 Not for long, though, because we have social media.
I’m a self-employed delivery driver. That’s how I pay the bills, while remaining free to set my own schedule and meet up with others in the entertainment industry.
Other than that, I’m living the day-to-day life in L.A., with the goal of establishing myself in the public eye. Hence, I’m always open to new experiences and making new connections. Please scroll down to the bottom section to see who I am particularly interested in meeting.
I had to put “objectives” in parenthesis, because nobody actually writes their own future (no matter how many thousands of bucks they’ll spend for a seminar that does nothing but tell them they can…simply paraphrased 40 ways and watered down to cover three days minus the lunch breaks and sales pitches).
That said, my immediate plan is to begin going live on Instagram, discussing things from my perspective (As you shall see, I can make an interesting conversation out of just about any topic, so don’t miss it…unless you’re easily offended and prefer Live Streams to give you the warm fuzzies…plenty of Instagram stars cover that niche already). As I continue to establish myself online and in person, I hope you enjoy my first book. Please pass the word on if you do.
Though I have other writing ideas, I’m primarily interested in transitioning to screenplay & production, as well as having a talk show. Another option is to make Reality Bytes into either a feature film or mini-series. I’m open to collaborating with others in the entertainment industry, preferably in the L.A. area. I’d be interested to hear from such people, including (but not limited to):
- Producers (regarding Reality Bytes, or an alternate idea)
- Writers & Producers of reality shows (I’d definitely consider being on the right one…nothing’s too taboo for me)
- Actors and Actresses, particularly who have read Reality Bytes and believe they would be well-cast as one of the characters
- Film Funders
- Bookstores, universities, and anyone else interested in distributing my novel in bulk
- Writers interested in co-authoring a novel (This would have to be the right person and book)
If you have something you think I might consider, I can be reached via the contact form on my site.