Touch me. Touch me like you didn't touch me last night.
Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "benjamin sTone" journal:
I DREW YOU SOME NEW ART. It is informative and historical and things.|
Tags: art, comics, comix, new, non-fiction, nonfiction, things i can't draw, wtf
|I crave fiction that isn't Sir Reginald.|
Getting to work on it soon.
With luck, done by tonight, along with a piece of non-fiction for nykki and pensylvania_joe. ;D
Tags: fiction, nonfiction, nykki, pensylvania_joe
| I live for days like today.|
You see, I work at the main library at the University of Illinois, which has over 10 million books. I work in an area where we process and do repairs on books heading to our high-density shelving area. We often find a number of strange things in the books, from ink blotters made by the “Orient Coal” company in 1922, to envelopes full of stamps from the sixties, to a filled-out-but-never-sent subscription card for AMERICAN MAGAZINE dated 1940.
One of the most fascinating finds we’ve ever made was a pristine, string-bound, several page marriage certificate dated 1912. Most interesting was that it was from British Columbia. The certificate was found before I started working here, but I thought to myself, “Why don’t I spend a few minutes trying to track down any family that may still be living?”
I never thought I’d have any use for those bizarre genealogical websites, but on that day I did. I tracked down a distant relative on the East coast, living in one of the Carolinas. He was fascinated by the find, and asked if I could mail it to him.
I took proper care in packaging it, using non-acidic archival boards to guarantee that it wouldn’t get beaten up on the way to him. I later received an e-mail that he had received it and one from another relative who had seen it. Both sent their thanks, but I expected that to be the end of it.
Today I got the surprise of being visited by the youngest son of the couple in the certificate. He and his wife are from a town about 30 minutes from here, and though they rarely make even small trips, they came to visit the man who got a mysterious piece of their family’s history and passed it on.
The couple are in their eighties, and it turns out that the man had never known that much about his father, as he had died when the son was quite young. He said that certainly nobody knew that his parents had been inexplicably married in Canada, since all evidence pointed to their having been in Wisconsin their entire lives—well, except for the fact that the groom's father was born in Bohemia in 1848 and had come through the Port of New York, and had sworn off any allegiances to foreign powers (“particularly to the King of Bohemia ", according to a document they showed me a photostatic copy of) and sworn sole allegiance to the United States of America. Having known nothing about the marriage itself, they certainly didn’t know that it had taken place at the “home of the bride’s parents.”
The couple who came to visit me were as kind and polite as could be, and shared that they had both graduated from the University of Illinois in the same year, after having gotten married their junior years. Indeed, the husband had intentionally fallen ½ credit short of graduation, just so he could be in the same graduating class and ceremony as his wife.
I showed them one floor of the 10 stories of bookstacks (which are, indeed, quite huge), and told them how lucky we considered ourselves for having found such a gem in so many books. The husband got goosbumps and shook my hand for the third time, telling me that he said that he and his family were the lucky ones and thought it was fabulous that the marriage certificate had not only been found, but returned to a family who never knew it existed.
I expressed to them that I work here not just because I love books, or because my coworkers are fabulous, but because every day I touch history, and on some particularly wonderful days...history touches back.
Current Location: 1408 W. Gregory Drive Urbana, IL 61801 (U of I Main Library)
Tags: amazing, bookstacks, history, library, marriage, nonfiction, university of illinois
I’ve never been as much of a slut as I could have (should have?) been. I've never known why. I just never did all the
people things I knew I could have.
My brain is terrible and broken, but somehow—just as I remember where I purchased nearly all of my 1500 books and 300+ cd’s—I remember everybody I’ve kissed, male and female (Insert Shock and Awe Here) and all the circumstances, and everything that those moments remind me of.
I wonder how many of these people I'll end up writing about.
For now, for the first, I remember E.O.
Listening to the Razormaid remix of "Soviet Snow"...now "True Dreams of Wichita" - Soul Coughing
PS – Quote of the Day? “I'm wearing a skirt and your wife's shirts.”
Tags: auld lang syne, houston, kissing, memories, nonfiction, old, rice university, young
Oh What A Night|
God bless Constantine “Taki” Iatropoulos. He was a mad bastard, but we loved him.
Taki had run a lot of eating establishments in his life, from a high-end establishment in New York that used to have people like Zoot Sims and Dean Martin as regular guests, to a Weenie Wagon on the streets of Champaign, Illinois.
Sometimes Sara and I bought hot dogs and polish sausages from him when we walked past, never suspecting that I would spend two and a half insane years working for him.
He opened his new restaurant in a “cursed” space. In six years, it had seen five restaurants come and go, sometimes for good reason. That didn’t deter Taki, though. Hanging the battered and worn painting that once belonged to Billie Holliday on his wall, hanging a whole bulb of garlic over one of the doorways (“it keeps away the evil eye”), and establishing that the whole joint was a smoking section, he set out to sell saganaki and 50 kinds of hamburgers, souvlaki and lemonade shake-ups, gyros and chocolate cake.
After about 3 years and some change, a crazy life and two or three packs a day caught up with him. Taki got cancer that spread quickly, through his kidneys and liver. If his doctor hadn’t been negligent, maybe they would have caught it sooner, but maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. After all, he eschewed all treatment, demanding that he’d rather die of cancer than spend years alive but suffering through chemotherapy and radiation on something that couldn’t be cured.
( Anyway, here’s a true story. Only Joe Smith’s name was changed to protect him. Or, rather, ‘cause I can’t remember his real name.Collapse )
Tags: auld lang syne, mykonos, nonfiction, restaurant, taki, writing
Regarding My Being Published...|
By Friday, I'll know for certain, but I might as well mention it now. It's close enough that I doubt I'll jinx it. If I do...I know who to blame: me.
Anyway, it's a VERY short piece (350 words) on three historical female pirates, for this magazine here:
That's right, not only am I editing manga for DrMaster Publications, but I'm also about to get paid for a one-page piece in the magazine that prints manga like One-Piece, Naruto, YuYu Hakusho, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more.
And, to put a fucking cherry on top, after some e-mails with the EiC of Shonen Jump last night, he assigned me another piece, on the basis of the quality of my LadyPirate piece.
I never said I wanted to be a writer; I said that I was a writer, and that I would be published.
Who hearts all of you, and is ready for his goddamned close-up
Tags: drmaster, nonfiction, published, shonen jump, writing
The benjamin Brain Chronicles Begin:
Three is The Only Number; in other news, Poisonous
Leaves Resume Their Attacks After Years in Hiding
for a while that everybody has obsessions, that everyone has compulsions. They’re
a simple fact of ordinary life for everybody in the world. Some people must
alphabetize their CD’s, some wash their hands when they’re not certain that
they’re actually, dirty, and who hasn’t felt that nagging sensation at the back
of their skull that even though they just locked the car door, maybe
should go check it again? And please don't take any part of this entry as "I'm crazier than you!" I don't subscribe to the whole "Don't bitch about losing your finger, I lost my whole hand!" method of pain-comparison. All I'm doing with these entries is laying out how I feel and how I work. I understand that others have stronger OCD, others weaker, but none of us get a prize for it, right?
At what point can one see the
difference between standard deviation and the truly skewed? You know that time
you had to wash your hands? Imagine that all the time. Had to make sure you
turned off the stove? How about doing it nine times?
I am in no way trying to portray
myself as the most OCD motherfucker on the planet, it’s just that some people
seem to think that—because they, too, do a few of these things on occasion—I’m just imagining that I’ve got it as bad as I do. Allow me a moment to
explain what I mean when I say that my life is a constant fight against the O’s
and C’s. And The OC, but that’s different…
Three…an interesting word. Say it
aloud. Three. Not bad, huh? Do me a favor, I want you to reach for something
near you and touch it. Now, try to remember the exact way you touched it, and repeat it two more times. Whoops,
that last touch wasn’t quite the same, was it? Okay, remember that one, but try
to finish the first trio, please. Okay, good, but now you’ve only got one of
that other type of touch. Maybe you don’t need three of that one. Maybe you
could get away with one more of it, and then a single instance of another type
of touch. Oh, shit, that last one was JUST like the first one, wasn’t it? That
makes…four and two? Unacceptable. Let’s see how we can fix this…two more of the
first, then three new ones, and a single new NEW one. That will make six of one
(acceptable, a multiple of three), three of another, two of a third, and one of
a fourth. Nice. That last bit even makes a nice pyramid.
Now take a sip of water. Follow
above procedure. Tap your index, middle, and ring fingers on a surface, three
times. Now just the middle and ring, twice. Now just the index…mmm, pyramid
again. Now do this again with everything you ever do in your entire life. You
just took a step through MY door.
Maybe I better explain the pyramid.
You see, three is Teh NuMbR. It’s where it’s at. Multiples of three also work,
and three times three times three? Awesomeness. There is a pattern of three,
however, that works extra-perfectly, and that is to do something three times
and two times and a single time. In my mind, this is visualized as a pyramid, built from the bottom up:
3 3 3
Sometimes I even count off as I do something.
Am I drinking a glass of water?
Count the swallows, benjamin… threethreethree, twotwo, one. Okay, good. Now set
down the water glass. Rotate, so that the dimples on the side of the glass
match up with the sides of the square coaster. Now, rotate the coaster 45
degrees, so it’s a diamond instead of a square. Now line the corner up with the
edge of the table. NOW you can go back to watching the Romanian news on Scola. Until you’re thirsty again. Or need to
That’s a sampling of the threes.
That’s what ninety-some percent of my everyday actions are dictated by. Not
that alone, oh no…that’s just part of the process that my brain runs through
with nearly everything ever. My OCD piles other rituals, other obsessions on
top of that, but three…man, three’s the motherfucking FOUNDATION of my LIFE.
Even non-countable things get counted. Hugging somebody? Rub your hand up their
back, count threethreethree in your head, rub your hand down their back, count
twotwo, one. Nice. Well done, benjamin, you’ve been granted a brief respite.
Some days I wonder what it would be
like not having to do everything in a multiple of that number. Usually, though,
I’m too busy worrying about how the poisonous wind-blown leaves have returned
after a number of years on hiatus, and are once again trying to stab me in the ankles. Fucking autumn bastards.
Ask me about them later, I’m going
to work. And as I walk to the bus, I will walk three times in one sidewalk
square, two in the next, and one in the last, even if I have to leap off into
the grass to make sure I don’t go over that number.
Maybe a little smack, first, to
take the edge off.
Oh, and feel free to add comments about your own O's and C's, or ask questions...
Current Music: “She’s The One” – Robbie Williams
Last Book I Read a Page of: The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Washing: The Experience and Treatment of
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – Judith L. Rapoport, M.D.
Tags: 3, counting, disorders, fuckbrain, nonfiction, ocd, tourette's syndrome
A Shift in Tone|
In order to
make sure that I win, I’ll be adapting my journal/listserv slightly. Yes, I’m
still going to have my writing exercises and things I’ve simply shat onto the
computer because they were in my head.
really want to work on throwing finished, polished stuff at you. As such, I
will be doing so. This is because I’m going to be submitting more writing, I am
going to be published, and I am going to win.
going to be expanding upon my brain. Allow me to explain that a bit.
A lot of
people tell me I act crazy. With every passing year it becomes summarily more
and more difficult to convince people that, for all intents and purposes, I am
not “acting.” No, I’m not going to be hurling handfuls of my own shit at
people, nor do I think that crazybugs live in my head, but MY BRAIN IS
NOT LIKE YOURS. I have decided that journaling my brain will be an
interesting process, and should give some insight into why I act the way I do,
but also help me understand it all a bit more.
For those of you who have not been
with me the whole time, here’s a “laundry list” of my brain: Tourette’s
Syndrome, OCD, alternately-diagnosed Depression or Manic-Depression, ADHD. In
addition to this, I seem to have symptoms of general crazy, which come and go
with every passing day. You know, symptoms that made me stop reading about
schizophrenia a long time ago…
For a somewhat vague intro course,
read this: What it's like in my brain.
HINT: Not "72 and Sunny...every day!
Things to expect discussion about:
why crossing the street with my back to a car turning the corner means I’m
going to get shot in the back, every time; I must know how many pages this book
has; what if I just think I think I’m hearing voices?; what
my protective “Thinking Cap” (c.f. Golden Age Flash) looks like; school
pictures that look like I have the plague; why Sara sometimes calls me Flick;
yes, I need all three carry-ons, asshole; I heart Hypothetical Situations; and
why Three is The Best Number Ever.
It’s hard for me to explain all of
this without details. As such, I’ll be providing them. I will also be taking
requests, i.e.: what the fuck is up with Tourette’s, anyway?; if you know the
door is locked, why do you keep checking it?; can you tell me why you wrote a
story about zombie sex?; Hypothetical Situations?; et cetera.
Want to know? Ask. I have no sense of shame or embarrassment.
In short: more substance, kids.
More writing. Better writing. And “What the fuck is wrong with him?” Tell your friends about me, if you
think they’ll enjoy me.
Tell them, “Crazy writer writes about being crazy. And writes stories,
too.” A fan base can start anywhere, and a shamless plug is a shameless
Now I’m off to eat Mexican food,
drink boozahol, and then finish salvaging what I can from my desktop computer
onto my New Laptop Which Still Doesn’t Have a Name.
Oh, and remind me sometime to tell
you about “In My Mind’s World, I Love All of You.”
benjamin lee sTone
Tags: crazybugs, depression, disorders, fuckbrain, me, nonfiction, ocd, tourette's syndrome
TOURETTE'S can be FUN!!!|
Random Tourette's Story #1:
About a year and a half ago, Sara decided that she didn't like our cool wooden soap dish
anymore, and has decided that it would be much more Madd Stylee to keep
the soap on an antique bread and butter plate from her grandmother's
Now, with Tourette's Syndrome often comes OCD. Mine
is more germ-related than clutter related, but I do complusively do
things like alphabetize CD's, organize my books by author, subject, and
size, et cetera. One of the things I hate is filth, and for some
reason, my brain long ago decided that even soap build-up on a
soap-dish is filth. So I decided to wash it.
I've got the bathroom sink on, I'm scrubbing the
soap off with my fingers, when suddenly Tourette's Boy comes out and
says, "Hey! Let's twitch your right hand...ready...NOW!!!" at which
point, I throw the dish about two feet to my right, and it lands in the
bathtub. Like all good, ancient china hitting someting made of
enamel-covered, metal, it broke. But only into four pieces.
If I weren't used to such things, I'd be totally
depressed. As it is, I'm a little down, apologize to Sara on behalf of
my chemical imbalance -- "I HAVE A MEDICAL CONDITION!"
is heard far too often in our house, in regards to one part or another
of my collection of disorders -- and we put the plate back on the sink,
hoping to glue all four pieces back together soon.
Within a week, I have opened the medicine cabinet
and knocked out my shaving cream, which lands on the plate and blows it
into about 75 pieces. I could blame that on Tourette's, but that would
Tags: fuckbrain, nonfiction, tourette's syndrome
|I wrote this a while back for a local publication and thought it might be interesting here.|
Feel free to ask any and all questions you may have. Remember, I have NO sense of shame or embarassment, so all questions are welcome.
Perhaps I should do a series of these, one for each of my disorders: Tourette's Syndrome, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Manic-Depression, Vitaligo, et al:
( Non-Fiction About My Tourette'sCollapse )
Current Music: “Which Will” – Nick Drake
Last Book I Read a Page of: “To Kill a Mockingbird” – Harper Lee
Last Movie: HAPPY TOGETHER, H.K., Wong Kar Wai
Next Movie: GODZILLA vs. HEDORAH (aka Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster)
Tags: fuckbrain, nonfiction, oral fixation, tourette's, tourette's syndrome