behind the smile

Where do you say what you can’t?

They tell you to be buoyant. They tell you to be enthusiastic, strong, confident in the words you write, the words you share and hope the world will see. When people visit or hear about my Kickstartercampaign, they don’t want to read my woes or worries.

For now, I put on a plastic smile like a McDonald’s server and don’t show the terror. For now I don’t say what I am truly feeling.
People don’t want their bubble popped. They want to feel confident in my project, to be lifted higher in the buoyancy of my words, as forced & manufactured as they may be at times.

I want to make them happy. I do care. I try to give them what they look for, and I hope by writing the words I will also be lifted.

I can’t write “If this campaign isn’t successful I’ll probably die before the book is finished”. As true as it is, threatening people to support my campaign probably wouldn’t go over too well, y’know?
Still, boiling in this head is the knowledge of what will happen if this campaign doesn’t succeed. The things that only I have known.

Until now.

THIS is where I can scream. Most the people I know on Facebook don’t take the time to read anything over a few sentences, regardless of what they say. Here I find a sanctuary, either real or imagined. On WordPress.
This is where we ALL can be real, be vulnerable. This is the shower we sing in.

My book is all I have anymore. All there is left in me to give. Due to the way this disease works and what it’s done to me I can’t really perform, can’t work. I don’t know the days I’ll be too exhausted or in too much pain to do more than pass the day in bed. Though those days are less, they still happen – and the rest are filled with such a growing hatred for the life I’ve been living since I was released from the hospice that I know with certainty that it’s something I can’t go on with.

The book is/was/will/would have given me a reason, a new breath, a purpose. To go back to living each day worried about getting herbs, to go back to each week with the only thing I can focus on is begging more friends for money to afford them is no life at all.

Every waking moment I’ve had the thought of how my life would change to keep me going, to soon be able to live a life that matters, to have a purpose for each breath.
To enjoy life. This is what the success of the campaign would offer me.

I have envisioned myself a thousand times or more waking up for the first time in years with the excitement of living, of having something I needed to do besides beg for more money. I would sit in random café’s writing, sipping coffee for the flavor and remembering with clarity the amazing life I have lived, smiling to myself as I lifted my head & turned to look out the window and knowing that I’m doing something good. That I once again had value.

I would sit at my Mother’s dining room table, facing the back yard wo I can watch Ruby play, run in and out of the door with the dog my mother and I would find for her in a rescue. She says she wants one and I could get it for her, help her take care of it. Help take care of my Mother. She would come home and ask me about my book, and I would share the stories I had written that day. She would get to know me and I her. We have 48 years to catch up on.

I would hold my head up, a smile glinting off the green in my eyes and hinting on my lips. People would know again. I would know myself again. This is why I am. This is me. I would be full and in love with life. It’s been so long, so long – but I woke, rang the bell above my grave and purpose came to dig me out. I sucked the fresh air into my lungs and this empty heart was filled.

They would read my stories, my life laid bare, naked for them to see and they would see themselves. They would find the parts, the lines that made them stop & look up with a sudden spark of understanding that it only took a decision, that the past didn’t matter and all the smallness they felt would be washed away in the ink of my words staining their face with a determined grin. They would mark the pages, underline sentences, read it again and maybe buy a copy for a friend or two. They would write to me and I wouldn’t feel so alone anymore.

This campaign needs to succeed. I need to write my life, give it away.

The heart inside of me is weary, vacant. I say I love people hoping that in the spoken words I will remember how. The smile on my face is an advance taken from when I can feel it again, when my heart fills with the knowledge that my life has changed from the barren desert it has become. Beg for money, get herbs. I’ve been kept alive by the possibility of the book, the knowledge that when the campaign succeeded it would be written. Take it away and I have nothing I need to live for and I need a reason.

I try to write with an empty heart and find all I can hear are the sucking noises like those a straw makes in a cup that’s been drained by a ravenous thirst.

Also haunting me is a thought.
In September 2010 I walked happy & full of energy into the hospice/respite that I was supposed to spend only three months in. Up until that moment I worked every day on my magazine, setting up interviews, making the site better, writing reviews and each morning stepping out of my motor-home with a smile. Even though my legs were bleeding, swollen, leaking the poisoned fluid my liver couldn’t process and in extreme pain, I still walked with purpose and pride to the café knowing there was something I was needed for.

I wasn’t able to work on CultureFlux in the hospice. I had been doing fine (relatively speaking) before I walked in, living in poor conditions with no money, food, and only enough water to wash my face in the morning – but I had a reason to go on. I loved being able to help other performers through the magazine and I loved giving them a voice.

Within a week my body began to shut down. My skin began falling off, hair coming out in clumps, and I was barely able to walk. One week.

What will happen if the campaign doesn’t succeed? When I don’t have the dream of writing & publishing the book to keep me alive anymore?

The herbs have kept me healthy, but it’s purpose that keeps me alive. From the edge of death in the hospice to the 4.5 years following, I had two things to live for: Finding my Birth Mother and giving this book to the world, hoping my life will inspire theirs.

I have found my Birth Mother.
For anyone who reads this, thank you for letting me vent, and don’t get me wrong – it’s not always like this inside my head. There are still many times when I realize it’s only the 6th day with 5x that more to go, and anything can happen. Hell, Oprah could see it and announce it to the world! It could go viral on Youtube! Anything! The most important thing I need to remember is to NEVER GIVE UP, even as much as I want to and as hard as it can be to dredge up the energy to go on. WE DO NOT GIVE UP.

http://bit.ly/NGGKickASS

I’m going to keep on fighting like hell for the success of this campaign, to make this dream a reality and again have my heart filled with purpose and passion.

It IS possible, and I’ve come from behind to achieve my goal more times than I can count. I mean hell – isn’t that what we do with EVERY dream we realize? We are WARRIORS, and this is what we do!

For anyone interested what all the above is about, here’s a link to my Kickstarter campaign! I wouldn’t mind at ALL if you supported it by making a pledge and/or shared it as far & wide as you can – you would be my new favorite person!
Just – don’t include the above, okay? (winky face)

And when you go there, please take a second to check out the update – I was *amazed* with what people said and want the world to see it too!

To all out there in WordPress land – thank you for being here for me. And thank you for not charging for my therapy.
Any comments of support or suggestions on how

 

 

 

A strange separation


vlcsnap-2014-12-04-21h38m30s235I look at old videos that I took while in Maitri. Things I haven’t seen since recording them, “footage” that no one else has seen, nor likely ever will unless you ask – and I don’t think you want to.
Better to hide behind the hint of truth that you already know.

These are the things I need to remember when I see other friends going through the hells that they do – so few of us tell the whole story. We’re afraid to.
We aren’t looking for sympathy, not looking for “oh, you poor thing…” We know. We know how you feel because we feel it more. We feel it more because we have that badge sewn into our flesh. Trust me, this is nothing against you… in fact, I hope you never do understand. I hope that you never have the capacity to empathize on that level. Your well wishes *are appreciated…

But what we truly seek is understanding. A person to cry *with* – not someone who cries for us. Only in those (thankfully) few people can we find some sort of twisted kinship.

Please don’t get me wrong – I love you. GODS, how I love you, for your caring, for your support, for the way that you *don’t* understand…

But I watch the videos, and even I, who have lived through that time, am disgusted at what I see… the decomposing flesh, the blood, the “fluid” that stained everything I slept in or wore, frequently soaking through the three layers of gauze & bandages to the pants Nd dripping on the floor of the cafe… And for the greater part of five years (the decomposition began *long* before I went into the hospice) – that was just another part of daily life. Brush my hair & remaining teeth, splash water on my face, peel the dressing and flesh from my legs try not to scratch because GODS they itched from the poison seeping out… and what do I need to do with CultureFlux that day?

THis seems like an entirely different life, the one I am living now… an entirely different person – finding my Birth Mother, being solid and “stable” enough to at least let a dog “think” that everything is wonderful… – even to the point of daring to offer my heart to another…

And remembering how wonderful that feels, even in the pain that it has brought.

Recently a friend said to let go of the past and focus on the future. I understood what was meant, and in many situations the person woulld be right – *IF* my past – this *particular* past were holding me back from myself and who I continue to become – but as I said to the person after a bit of thought – “In order to see where I am going, I cannot be blind to where I’ve been.”

We all go through what we need to, so we can give the lessons we have learned…

and I think I pretty much lost my train of thought… if there was one to begin with.

Perhaps the most important thing however – as grim as it may look to others, keep fucking smiling – and to everyone who *can’t* understand… please keep it that way.

You’ll find out enough about it in my book. That’s as close as I *EVER* want you to get…

I love you.

 

MomMe3

My Book Support launch is LIVE! Tell the WORLD!

THE OFFICIAL EARLY-BIRD LAUNCH IS FINALLY OPEN!

 

(More details about the book in here, but just skip to the bottom if you wish to get straight to the special Early-Bird Supporter Rewards & details.)

 

Fire-breather, stilt walker, street performer, traveler. Harley-Davidson technician, Hazardous material controller, Hurricane Katrina volunteer, artist, writer, published poet, online magazine creator, event producer… I have lived many amazing lives, realized many dreams – but the story came terrifyingly close to ending before I had a chance to make my most important dream come true…

 

“kSea flux [Casey Porter] is a living embodiment of artistic spirit. He throws himself completely into his work and fears nothing but the chance to gain access to new and more bizarre talents.”
~ Amanda Palmer,
Author, singer & songwriter, TED Speaker, etc. ‘The Dresden Dolls’, AFP

 

On October 6th, 2010, at the recommendation of my doctor, I was accepted and admitted to a private, 15 room hospice/respite in San Francisco called Maitri. What was scheduled was a 3 month stay to offer me rest & care to get my fight with Hepatitis-C under control.

A couple weeks after I sauntered through the front door, my life took a grim & completely unexpected twist.

My body began to shut down, and it meant business. What was supposed to be only 90 days of care & healing was re-scheduled a bit – and became 18 months of fighting for my life.

Western medicine has its limitations, and unfortunately I was no match for them. When I saw that not even my doctors or nurses expected me to live and had generally resigned themselves to making my last days as comfortable as possible – it was then I knew I had to take things into my own hands, because I sure as hell wasn’t ready to die. Screw going gently into that good night – I was going to rage. (Thanks, Dylan Thomas!)

There was also one thing that I still needed to do. The largest thing I had ever dared dream, & I had already invested over 25 years of my life into – finding my Birth Mother, and the Father that didn’t know I existed.

Dying was not an option I gave myself. I fought it with everything I had inside of me, and  there was a daily battle I faced at times to not only believe that I could live, but questioning whether I wanted to.  It would have been so much easier to give up, let nature take its course, and quietly fade from this life. I had stashed away enough morphine to make it easy… but every single time, something made me put the pills back in the bottle, hidden for perhaps another day.

This will not be an easy story to voice, but it needs to be. I must go back to what I was thinking & feeling at the time (which, at times, wasn’t pretty) in order to say what needs to be said – but I didn’t go through the hell I did to selfishly keep this story & all I’ve learned from it locked inside.

It can help people, & it needs to be told. I have not only survived, but I am living. I am thriving, and continuing to chase down my dreams.

By the way – I have found my Birth Mother(!), and she’s awesome. We’re getting to know each other, and I’ve even been able to see her a few times.

I also, just a month ago at the end of September, found and contacted my Birth Father who had no idea I even existed – and he’s excited to get to know me. We’re excited to know each other – 47 years of catching up should give us plenty to chat about.
This is an unapologetic, pull-no-punches, authentic, inspiring and even sometimes laugh-out-loud story about transformation, personal growth, doing what you believe is right and fighting like hell for it…

 

Though the specific journey written about in this story is solely mine, there is something in it for absolutely everyone who has ever faced – or ever will face a seemingly impossible challenge – or pretty much any challenge at all.

 

In order to have it published and promoted, in order for it to get out there and be able to help people, I need your support! It’s a huge project, and it will take more than me to get it done – but I’ll do nearly all the work.

 
I am anxious and THRILLED to finally get this going, so I am offering Limited Edition Rewards for a short time during the one & only:

KICK-ASS EARLY BIRD PRE-STARTER REWARD SPECIAL!
   ***Ends COMPLETELY on Sunday, December 7th!***

Early-Bird Reward Details!

All supporters will be noted and thanked* in my (brand new) book blog, (https://notgoinggentlybook.wordpress.com/ ) where they will get updates, more details about the book and it’s process. Supporters also will be allowed into a special section of the blog with behind the scenes videos, posts, photos, and content solely for them!

*If you wish to remain anonymous, please send note with your paypal donation message – and Thank You!

Support should be sent through Paypal.com to this email address created specifically for the Book Campaign:
*****NotGoingGentlyBook@gmail.com*****

 

*All levels in the Early-Bird Campaign magically include a digital download AND a hard copy of the book!

 

Book Release Planned For Tuesday, September 15, 2015!!!

 

And Now –
THE AWESOME REWARDS for YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT!

 

$25

  1. Digital & Hardcover copy of my book.
  2. Absolutely amazing good karma.
  3. Special access to private supporter blog area!

 

 

 

$50

  1. Digital & Signed hardcover copy of my book, personally thanking you for your support!
  2. Wonderfully Incredible Karma!
  3. A Virtual Hug & Kiss (if you’re into that sort of thing.)
  4. Special access to private supporter blog area!

 

 

 

$100 (Only 20 Available!)

 

  1. Everything in the $50 level plus:
  2. A hand-crafted (by me) leather book-mark, each one awesome, different & original. (Not just a slab of leather – it’s going to be special!
  3. A personalized, handwritten poem by me. To you, thanking you.
  4. Special access to private supporter blog area!

 

 

 

$200 (Only 20 Available!)

  1. Everything in the $100 level except three signed books, plus:
  2. A personalized, handwritten poem by me for you, thanking you for your support of this project.
  3. Two Tickets to the amazing, earth-shattering Book Release Event & Party, in September of 2015
  4. Special access to private supporter blog area!

 

 

 

$300 (Only 10 Available!)

  1. Everything from the $200 level except five signed books plus:
  2. A personalized framed handwritten poem by me. To you, about you, on really fancy paper.
  3. A happy dance video of me personalized for and thanking you, that you are allowed to share anywhere. (If you really want to.) I get to choose the music.
  4. Special access to private supporter blog area!

 

 

 

$500 (Only 10 Available)

  1. A very unique & only one of its kind in the entire *Universe* Custom Leather Book Cover to fit my book, adorned with fancy things and created (as much as tastefully possible) with hints of your unique style & personality.
  2. A personalized framed handwritten poem by me. To you, about you, thanking you.
  3. An actual printed “thank you” in the front few pages of the book with your name, showing my appreciation for being one of the amazing “Early Bird” supporters.
  4. All the stuff at the $50 level except with five books for yourself & to share with friends!
  5. Special access to private supporter blog area!

 

 

$1000 (Only 5 available!)

 

  1. Video of “A Day in the Life of Me”, shadow style… but not a typical day where I just sit at the computer and write or think about writing the whole time.
    Action! Adventure! Puppies! LIFE! Maybe even people – and ending the day with a toast to you! Whether you live in or outside of S.F., you can see this beautiful city through my eyes!
    (And yes, you are allowed to suggest things you wish to see me do. I’m not shy – but be tasteful, okay? We’ll talk.)
  2. All the amazing rewards in the $500 level except with TEN books to give away to friends! If you give me names I will thank them as well in the inscription!

 

$­3,000 (Only 3 available!)

  1. EVERYHING in the $1,000 level of support, PLUS:
  2. FOUR tickets to the book-launch party & show which is guaranteed to be truly amazing, AND you will be invited onstage to be personally thanked by myself and perhaps a few other people who have been waiting for this book.
  3. 1 0n 1 Conversation with The Author (me!) in person (Limited to the S.F. Bay Area) or over Skype for up to 2 hours, where you may ask me anything you wish – or we just have a good Fair Warning: I don’t do small-talk.

That Support email for Paypal is: NotGoingGentlyBook@gmail.com

And – thank you again, SO incredibly much for supporting me in this amazing project!

Love love love,
~ Casey

 

 

 

 

 

It’s HAPPENING! (almost)

Fire-breather, stilt walker, street performer, traveler. Harley-Davidson technician, Hazardous material controller, artist, writer, published poet, online magazine creator, event producer… I’ve lived many amazing lives.

On October 6th, 2010, at the recommendation of my doctor, I was accepted and admitted to a private, 15 room hospice/respite in San Francisco called Maitri. What was scheduled was a 90 day stay to offer me rest & care to get my fight with Hepatitis-C under control – turned into 18 months of fighting for my life…

And I am writing a staggeringly impressive, captivating, and almost unbelievable story of my amazing journey, which will serve as a beacon of hope for anyone who has ever – or will ever – face a difficult challenge in their life. You will be inspired, intrigued, and engaged.  It will resonate with you & relate to you. You will see yourselves in my story.

In essence, this book will be my way of “paying it forward”, returning the love and generosity to those who helped me through it all, and hopefully inspiring others I don’t even know yet to never, ever give up. This life is simply far too beautiful to let go without one hell of a fight.

I just need to get the book published, and in order to have control over the message the story will carry (& everything else about the book) I’ve decided to publish it myself.

In order to do so, I will need your support, so…

The Early-Bird Launch  is opening on MONDAY!

So why am I doing this pre-Kickstarter “soft” launch?
First, I’m excited as hell to get this book written and published as soon as possible. In order to have a great Kickstarter campaign, a LOT of work will be going into that – which will likely not be completed until early December.
I have already compiled 93 pages (over 29,300 words) of notes, thoughts & memories, and I know that more will come as I go through those. This book is going to be quite an epic journey – as it should be. It’s not every day that someone comes within a hairs breadth of dying – not once, but twice, lives to tell about it, and then goes on to accomplish the largest dream I have ever had – finding my Birth Mother & Father (who by the way are awesome people!) This is an incredibly ambitious mission, there is a lot to tell – and in the telling I know I can inspire & help countless others.

Second, there are certain rewards that I want to offer for your support that are very limited and special – things hand-made by me with tons of love and gratitude crafted into them. While * of course could offer these in the main campaign, I wanted to give them to those who are as eager as I am to see the results that this book will have, as I foresee the publication of it being just the beginning of a new & amazing journey.

Third, it will help me keep the main campaign at a reasonable number. Kickstarter also takes a large chunk for their fees, so this will assist in that as well.  I’ve looked deep into what it will cost to edit for continuity, copy-edit, cover design, publish & format digitally, get included in catalogs & Amazon, make free copies available for reviewers, promote, promote, promote etc. – I’m going to do this right, and it will be a truly beautiful book – one you can judge by the cover… almost. All modesty aside, the story itself will be (is) nothing less than astonishing.

Fourth – The sooner I get the word out there and get people excited in the book, the better!

 

Keep an eye out on Monday for the announcement & more details about the book – I’m just polishing up a few final things, and it should be delivered to your inbox or wherever you are seeing this message) in the early afternoon!

Are you as excited as I am about this?

Much love, and thank you for making this life so extraordinary,

~ Casey

digging up the bones

The book is coming together. I have a rough outline done, have figured out a way to have all the things that need to be said brought into it by bouncing around in time, and as a result it even will be spending some time with my The Dresden Dolls & what I learned from working with them.

With all that needs to be said, it won’t be an easy book to write – I know that, I expect it. In order for it to be written, in order for it to have a chance to *help* people, I will need to bring back the very worst time in my life – not just in words, but in all of me.

I will need to go back there, to magnify the passions and pain that inspired it – and then, when it is finally finished, I will be able to give them a proper burial so that I can move to another place.

It’s not going to be easy.
It needs to be done.

in the direction of my dreams…

On Thursday, late afternoon, my cell phone rang. As I didn’t recognize the phone number, I did what I almost always do with blocked or unknown numbers – just let it go to voice mail.
“Hi Casey, this is, um, Don Mathern, just, uh, trying to touch base with you…”

It was a message from my Father.
Strange, the thought that this is the first time in my life that I’ve heard is voice. A very concise message, business-like – but I think I can understand. When confronted with having to leave a message for a 47 year old son that you never knew you had… I don’t think there’s a script outline for that anywhere.
Not even on Google.

He wants to talk. Get to know me. Get “together”, but I don’t see a trip to Boise anytime soon in my future, and I’m fine with that…

But – holy crap.

He said that he will be out of town until Sunday, which is good – it gives me a little time to process.

It’s been exactly four years and one day since I walked into the hospice. Thinking back, it’s been quite an eventful time.

Literally dancing out the door after over 18 months in a hospice then hospital, nearly dying twice & astounding the doctors & nurses when I found the strength & fight inside of me to live…
Finding & meeting my Birth Mother…
Blessed in finding the most incredible girlfriend & partner I could even hope to imagine.( Simultaneously amazed and terrified…)
Spending the first birthday of my 47 years in the company of the amazing woman who *gave* me this blessed life…
Finally wrote to the guy who was the other part of creating me, and didn’t have the slightest notion I existed…
and… he’s willing to get to know me?

Yeah, the past few years wouldn’t exactly be what you would call “boring”.

It certainly makes me wonder what is next.

I need to get my business going – create the means to help others. Write a book. Speak. Let people know that regardless of how bad things get, tomorrow will be better. Always. If you’re alive, you have the natural ability to create your future life – and it’s worth fighting for.
I promise you.
As I am the author of this particular story, I can do much more than only talk of what has already happened. I have the power to decide how the rest of the story reads as well – how the chapters are written, constructed, created – and lived.

We all do.

So… what happens next in your story? Don’t just write what has already happened – write what happens next.

I need to believe.

 

And life, as painful as it is, painful as we allow it to be, still goes on. Still goes on for some of us, those who aren’t ready yet, haven’t fulfilled our quota in this one, having not lived their full purpose.

I see it every single day in this neighborhood, bodies wasted away to nothing, skeletal faces, some hunched over in impossible angles but still somehow making it down the street. I can’t help but wonder how they are still alive, what their lives must be like, and – how blessed I am. How blessed we all are.

Lost, another dear friend today, so very full of love and laughter, of wisdom, of pain, perhaps – but in all the times I saw him, he never let on that he might have been. He stood straight, he laughed from his soul, his smile could make even the darkest days brighter – even the memory of it.

Lord had a certain adolescence to him, he had found a way to remember the wonder and love for life of a child, where everything, as old as it may have been, was new. In my experience he seemed to love everyone with the same conviction, and knowing.

He lived his full purpose, and then some. I need to believe this. I need to believe this for everyone I have watched die.
I am tempted to say there have been to many, but just perhaps – there have been just enough.

Tonight I again opened a bottle that has been sitting for many days, poured a three finger glass, and opened my kitchen window at the back of my building to pour a sip, O.G. style, on the ground for the brilliant fucking people that have blessed me with their knowledge, wisdom and love. It filtered through the flat grey steel bars of the fire escape, but found its way to the dirt three floors below.

This goes out to all of you. Lord, English Don, Ron, Ernesto, Ruby (not my dog, not named after her) Alisun and Alison, so very many others that I watched die horribly slowly, and the two dogs that have passed, Bear, in 9th grade – and of course Bean. Far, far too many others, enough to almost consider myself immune.

I understand death, or at least I thought to enough to not have this effect me in any way, but… I still have a heart, and still have shitloads of fight inside o me. Lord reminded me of that. You all did.

“If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus one day, so I will never be without you.” ~ Winnie the Pooh

All those who passed, I’ll see you again – that is certain – but fuck, really… stop that leaving is shit – though I know you must go. Just don’t really dig it, at all.
We will meet again.