Last week I promised to post an excerpt from my book every weekend. I'm going to keep that promise, but I'm going to change the format a little bit. Because the excerpts are so damned long, and tend to push everything else either all the way to the bottom, or off the page entirely, I've started a separate blog. The only posts on that blog will be book segments.
The title of the book is "Blow Up the Outside World" -- taken from the name of the Soundgarden song whose lyrics seemed especially appropriate.
Therefore, the address of the excerpt blog is www.malcontent-outsideworld.blogspot.com.
There's also a link at the top of the links to the right.
The basic story behind the book...
When I woke up in a dark hotel room, pretty much everything that had happened to me up to that point was a blur. I wasn't quite sure where I was. I wasn't quite sure how I'd gotten there. The reason was because I hadn't slept -- really slept -- in more than a month. Somehow though, I must've managed to pass out hard in that hotel room, finally, because when I pulled myself up out of bed, stumbled across the floor and flung the curtains open, my reality hit me like a sledgehammer.
I was staring out at the smoking wreckage of the World Trade Center.
It was September 13th, 2001.
Everything pretty much came back to me then.
Two weeks earlier I had been in rehab in South Florida for a VERY nasty drug addiction. I hadn't slept because I was detoxing and going through the nightmare of early recovery. When I got out of rehab, my wife at the time had left me. I had no job. I had no future. I had nothing. I was staying in the guest room of my parents' home outside Miami, trying to talk myself out of suicide.
When the attacks of September 11th happened, as much as I hate to be postmodern, I thought of the words of Tyler Durden.
It's only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything.
I took a leap of faith by packing my bags and driving north. My thought was that an opportunity to do something -- anything -- for those who were going through infinitely more pain than I was just might be the only thing that would give me some purpose again and keep me alive. I would've handed out water if I that's what they'd needed.
As it turned out, I got a call from an old friend of mine at NBC who offered to put me to work on the biggest story in American history. It changed my life.
I lived in a hotel for four months -- the same hotel I woke up in that first morning -- I met families who were going through hell. I hope I made some kind of a difference for them. I worked with some of the most talented people in the world. I rebuilt my life during one of the most difficult and unique times in history. America had never seen a time like this, and I used it become a new person.
Strange days indeed.
But that's only half the story -- or actually, only a third.
The story is told in three separate timelines which run concurrently throughout the story. I detail the time leading up to my decision to go into rehab -- when I carpet-bombed my marriage and job in Los Angeles by doing enough drugs to kill an elephant. I also detail my time in rehab -- when I came to the realization that recovery would have to be on my own terms. And of course, there's the period following the attack -- when my entire life changed at the epicenter of 9/11. That tragedy -- shared by millions -- provides a pretty startling backdrop for one very personal story.
Anyway. I've been writing all day dammit. I'm tired. All I can say is, I hope you enjoy.
Oh yeah, and today's excerpt involves an ex, who as it turns out was living in New York at the time of the attack.
And one more thing -- the wife I'm referring to in the story obviously isn't Jayne, the really amazing woman I'm married to now and have written about extensively on this blog. I suppose I'd be giving away the ending if I admitted that it was. Suffice to say that if I had salvaged my marriage with my ex-wife, I probably would've eventually killed myself anyway just for the quiet.