I have always considered myself a writer, since I was very young, had always dreamed of being one. My first attempt was when I wrote a novel at 19 or 20 or so and sent it to every publisher in the United States, and found they were polite enough to send rejection letters. That was kind, I had no idea. I lost that book in my divorce, it was probably trash. I remember feeling resentful when “Left Behind” became successful, as mine was a similar idea, however I’d attempted to create a scientific explanation for every Biblical prophecy, so the “Rapture” as it were, was going to be something quite different in my book.
I’d not intended my first book to be on Recovery, that is for sure. I’d never published anything other than an editorial about walking around ground zero after 9/11, and it was a hell of an effort. I lost my job writing it.
Publishing it pissed people off. Writing about other people, no matter how trivial or unread a writer you may be has an intense emotional effect on the other people, I truly did not know this and continue to be amazed by it. I’m a complete unknown, the book sales are so low they almost cost me money, and yet ex’s and oh’s will get upset to this day from time to time about this books contents, of which were written 5 years ago, about the 30 years previous. We are all very sensitive though and I guess one thing it has taught me is to have more empathy for others feelings, and privacy. Thank God I published with a pen name.
I’d really hoped my autobiography work was done with the book, (and I could get to writing sci-fi) but it looks like life is going to be throwing me a few more challenges. In 8 years of sobriety I have accomplished a lot and have been more successful in my business career than I would have ever imagined, so I’m grateful, but I’d hoped to put the ever so personal and painful memoir business behind me.
The Good Book says to let your light shine, and we all shine in different ways, I’m better at writing than being one on one with people, so we all use our gifts, or we should try I believe. I had hoped I was done writing about my challenges because frankly I didn’t want anymore.
I’d thought of going back and adding the financial amends and accomplishments I’d attained but thought it would be too tacky, but this will simply be worth adding I suppose.
I have to have open heart surgery. I don’t know when, six months a year, maybe longer, but I currently have four aneurysms and they are steadily growing. Fortunately I have amazing health insurance and one of the top Cardiologists in the nation, so I will be fine in the long run, but it will be no fun.
I will be put to the test, I will be cut open, all my ribs cracked in two places, and moved out of the way for a man’s hands to cut out my aortic valve and replace it with a mechanical one, and then have four stints shoved up my groin artery to strengthen the vascular walls. I will be on serious pain medication for some time, (my drug of choice incidentally) and I will have to enjoy, and then withdraw from them all without drinking or cheating on the medications, which is a challenge. Now I’ve already done this several times with more minor procedures, but this will be a bit more amplified and accentuated than just having a few screws removed from my ankle.
So you see, much against my will, I will have more to add to my story.
And despite the one poisonous review on my Amazon page http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984595503 , it really is a good story, and I have overcome quite a bit, without drinking. Furthermore, in response to said review, I’m not Hep C positive, Interferon cures it these days thank God. It’s sort of the entire point of the book, making that review especially hurtful. Additionally, while I wish this person would remove that review on Amazon and she accuses me of writing about people I have dated, A) I’ve never used even my own name, and B) I have never used another’s either. C) I have learned a lesson and will never mention, even in the abstract, another person on my blog without their explicit permission beforehand. I have removed every single instance of mentioning another person on my blog and will continue to adhere to this etiquette, and I do apologize for having hurt, however accidental, anyone I may have by writing about my own life, and those that were in it. I’ll not repeat the mistake, however subtle or anonymous.
I’m simply too tired to battle the world on this, and I’m not a tabloid journalist, but a simple writer, and this book has helped people, I know because they write me, and surely there will be additional heart patients in sobriety that could be helped as well reading about the pain I’ve endured, and still stayed sober through.
I never intended to hurt anyone with this blog or my book at all, in fact quite the opposite, and it’s still the biggest lesson I’ve learned in dipping my toe into the waters of writing and publishing, is that people’s feelings are very easily hurt, and it doesn’t matter if I intended to or not.
So for that I apologize, and I have removed, and will continue to not write about, even in anonymity, anyone I meet or is in my life on this blog. This blog is about recovery and overcoming addiction and other obstacles life throws our way.
I’ll also be creating a new blog, for a Science Fiction venture I’m going to take on, and I can assure you, having learned the lessons I have on this anonymous blog, I will damn sure not write about anyone using my real name, God only knows this has been painful enough for me.
Still I think its been worth it, no, it’s not a best seller, or a massive deluge of people who write me about my book helping them but more than one has, and while yes, it’s embarrassing having strangers know the intricate details of my life, and eccentricities, I think it’s been good for a select few, and I don’t think the work stands as an embarrassment, I think it’s overall a good, maybe unfinished effort.
I did what I could with what I had at the time, and now I have a bit more, I’m going to invest a bit more into it, and of course add the heart surgery, and be successful with that (God willing, 5% mortality rate is pretty good odds though) and apply the lessons I’ve learned.
The man who makes no mistakes never tried anything.
I appreciate the followers I have here, and more is to come, in the not too near future.
Additionally, I will relaunch later on with a new title so as to not be so subtle, Hippopotamus Sea, simply doesn’t pick up the SEO strategy something more obvious with Hepatitis C in the title would, or something to that affect would, as much as fucking HATE that name, if it ends up getting to more people who actually need the book, well then I guess its worth the artistic sacrifice. Furthermore, it will be professionally edited, and paired down to a more palatable version and a cheaper paperback version and I’ll make an effort to get it into AA approved literature, though I don’t have any big hopes or expectations on that. Another slight complication is that people with Hep C no longer even have to do the 12 months of Interferon, I think the masses are down to months with a much lighter load of the more harmful side effects, so that is good for humanity, but odd timing for a book about Interferon survival, lol, oh well, I’d rather they cure it with a pill than make my book a success, haha.
Seriously though, if you have Hep C and are in recovery, keep on keeping on, it gets better, and you CAN be cured, to imply that you can not, by saying I did not, which is a lie, is just cruel, no matter where it is coming from, ignore that and keep your head up, you can stay sober, and be cured of Hep C and get your amazing blessed life back!
Life is good, God is good, keep on keeping on, and write me anytime!
Jared Bryan Smith