Solo

“Assume everyone will betray you, and you’ll never be disappointed.”
Solo: A Star Wars Story

Today is May the Fourth — affectionately known as Star Wars Day. So I’m obviously wearing my Millennium Falcom t-shirt and Star Wars: Episode IV is playing on my Blu-Ray player right now. I’ve loved Star Wars ever since I was a kid; maybe because, when I was a kid, life — and people — were so much simpler.

Needless to say, I am extremely excited for the upcoming newest installment of the Star Wars saga: Solo: A Star Wars Story, which chronicles the younger years of Han Solo (who is, incidentally, my favorite Star Wars character). Read more

Body of Lies

“If you live like it’s the past and you behave like it’s the past,
then guys from the future find it very hard to see you.”
Body of Lies 


I’ve been lying to myself. Ever since the moment I stepped out of prison, I’ve been lying to myself. I’ve been perpetuating a fallacy upon myself which has diluted my entire world-view and skewed my perspective of life. Because ever since I walked out of prison, I’ve been trying to convince myself (and everyone around me) that I’m a better version of who I was. I keep trying to convince myself that I’m a more moral person than who I was, a better husband than who I was, a better father than who I was, and a better friend (to my few remaining friends) than who I was. Read more

#BeTheChange

“It’s more comfortable to label me insane,” said the killer from the movie SE7EN.

“It’s very comfortable,” the detective replied.

I use this example often to describe why society feels “more comfortable” labeling people like me a “pedophile” or a “sexual predator” rather than seeking the actual causes for my choices and behaviors. However, I do not discount this perspective. It certainly is “more comfortable” to cast an accusatory finger upon someone who has done something terrible and immediately attribute his/her choices to some sort of sick affliction or mental illness. Read more

Ready Player One

My generation grew up playing “Super Mario Bros.”(Bros, not brothers, although it’s read “brothers,” it’s spelled “Bros.”) If I ever make it to Heaven (which is still 50/50 at this point), I’m going to ask God how many hours of my life were spent trying defeat Bowser and rescuing Princess Peach. And no matter what the answer, I will be both shocked and not at all surprised.

“Super Mario Bros” is obviously the quintessential classic Nintendo game. It is a two-player game, but only one player could play at a time. So if, for example, you were playing with someone who was very good at the game, you may sit for quite a while until that player’s turn was over. Thus, if Player One was Mario (as it was) and Player Two was Luigi (as it was), then choosing to play as Mario meant you played first, and playing as Luigi meant you had to wait until Mario died before you could play. Read more

Do I Matter?

My first mainstream book, After 3PM, comes out in three weeks. And I wrote it for one reason: To change the system; to change perspectives; to make a difference.

But I find myself asking the pessimistic (yet potentially real) questions: Will my book make a difference? Will I make a difference? Will I matter?

If nothing else, these difficult years (ever since 2010, when I committed my crime) have made me an extremely self-aware person. Essentially, “I know my place.” Or, at least, I know what place society demands I remain: Out of sight — Out of mind. But that’s not what I’m doing. Read more

Shoot the Messenger 

When did contemporary culture become more interested in the person conveying information than the information actually being conveyed? In a world that seems to (on the surface) crave intellect, this indisputable phenomenon is the most nonintellectual approach to obtaining information imaginable. In the same way that we used to idolize men like Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather, we now seem to take a sick pleasure in watching the downfall of people like Keith Olberman and Brian Williams. And now, incontrovertible facts are called into question, merely due to the individual relaying the fact. And I suppose I never really grasped this concept until I experienced it first-hand. Read more

The Weight of Depression

“Hemingway has his classic moment in ‘The Sun Also Rises’ when someone asks Mike Campbell how he went bankrupt. All he can say is, ‘Gradually, then suddenly.’ That’s how depression hits. You wake up one morning, afraid that you’re gonna live.”
—Elizabeth Wurtzel, “Prozac Nation”

Right now, I’m reading Prozac Nation, a memoir by Elizabeth Wurtzel. The subtitle of the book is, “Young and Depressed in America: A Memoir.” I can relate because, a) I have a prescription for Prozac (which I don’t take); and b) I’m certainly depressed in America (though I’m not as young as I used to be). But what really drew me to this book was the foundation of the book: A writer struggling with depression, trying to make sense out of life, fighting self-destruction, and all the while, trying to be a writer.

Continued one-on-one therapy has helped me realize how and why I become self-destructive when I experience the depths of depression, how depression has related to my sexual addiction, and how to cope with depression when it hits. Read more

Heroes & Villains

“We’re all the heroes of our own story, without even realizing we’re probably the bad guy in someone else’s.”
Everything Sucks

I was reading an article once about one of my favorite movies, The Dark Knight, and the writer said, “When you’re a kid, you cheer for Batman; when you’re an adult, you realize the Joker makes more sense.” This struck me as a bit of a cynical view of the world, regardless of how brilliantly Heath Ledger portrayed the Joker in that film. But it also made me wonder if being a villain had some sort of a morbid glamorous appeal to it. For example, I went to college with a guy who said (on multiple occasions), “The movie Blow always makes me want to be a cocaine dealer.”

But trust me, being the villain isn’t glamorous; it’s torturous. Read more

Selective Morality

Why is our contemporary society so selective about our own morality, based simply on the object or individual? Essentially, why is it okay for certain people to be immoral based on who they are or the medium in which the immoral behavior is being disseminated?

Why do Americans claim to despise immoral behavior in certain contexts, but seem to readily accept it from popular culture, politicians, athletes, and actors? Why does it take extreme instances of immorality (such as Harvey Weinstein) for people to finally speak out against this sort of thing? Read more

Loyalty

When I was at my lowest, there were people who were there for me.

And knowing that, I will — for the rest of my life — be there for them. I owe so much to so many people for being unconditionally supportive when I was in the depths of recovery; recovery not simply from being in prison, but also recovery from sexual addiction as well as the painful recovery from the self-revelation that I was, at the age of 18, raped.

Fortunately, I am able to talk about that — the most traumatic experience of my youth — but I am also a little afraid it seems cliche or even cheesy for me to continue to talk about it. But the truth is, I’m still dealing with it, I’m still handling it, I’m still coming to terms with it, so I still need to talk about it. Therefore, since I’m a writer, I need to write about it. Read more