A true story of a 10-year blackout that left Cory Damon questioning "What Happened? Who Am I?"
As far as I can see, What Happened? Who Am I? will be the first published book in the world about experiencing a blackout.
Note: The proper term to use for what happened is highly controversial. The more social and true-to-what-happened term is 'blackout', but the proper psychological (clinical) term may be extreme 'dissociation' following a blackout. Both terms are closely related. For example, 'blackout' and 'dissociation' are both defense mechanisms that are generally triggered by the same causes. They're also both used for the same reasons and can both last for years. While I admit that I was dissociated, I cannot in good faith refer to the condition I was in as simply 'dissociated' as it was much more than that. I've received opinions on the matter from several psychologists who specialize in both areas. I'm also noting the opinions of literary agents and marketing professionals. If 'blackout' is not decided as the appropriate term for my book (even if that was technically the condition), then there is a possibility that the term 'blackout' will be substituted with 'dissociation' or a more detailed description of 'dissociation subsequent to a prolonged blackout' to make the book more suitable for a public release. Same title, same content, different term. In my opinion, 'blackout' is the more accurate and compatible term. However, I do acknowledge that 'blackout' may not be the most appropriate term to use in my book. Clinically speaking, dissociation may be the more appropriate term for a book release. Either way, neither terms will be used much in my book (story).
When I was 15-years-old, a tremendous level of fear and extreme personal conflict led me to blackout for almost 10 years. Blackout is a type of defense mechanism, such as denial or dissociation, to block out, cope with, or deflect fear, trauma, injury, or conflict. When I came out of it, I was a 25-year-old kid.
■ I went six years without having a conversation (in person or on the phone).
■ At 25-years-old, I had never driven a car or had a driver's license (I was 26 the first time I drove a car).
■ I've never been with a woman (I've never had sex). I'm now celibate.
■ During the 10-year blackout, I had become so lost in the dark that I had to speak in different voice pitches as a way of finding which voice was my real voice. I had lost my identity to the blackout — really lost it.
■ I was so far from reality that my mind and body was unable to continue maturing into adulthood. Consequently, I was not able to grow hair on my face until I was 25-years-old.
■ The main muscles in my body began to regularly spasm (twitch) from the lack of normal amounts of exercise and possibly from the stress/fear caused by isolation.
■ I went seven years without working a job. I was broke, hurt, and in need of money but too afraid to work. Getting a job meant that I would have to be around people and talk to others. At the time, my self-image was distorted and my self-esteem had reached such a low point that I would cover my face in public. In the summer, I would wear 3 to 4 shirts and pants in 98 degree weather to hide my bones. I was afraid to smile or speak. More than anything, I was blacked out and could not consciously recognize that I was unemployed. The thought of a job crossed my mind, from what I can remember, only a few times during those 7 of the 10 years (I was employed until age 17). If I would have came out of the blackout sooner, then I imagine that I would have been able to consciously recognize that I was unemployed, hurt, and needed to rehabilitate from my injuries.
■ I went eight years without being in a relationship, and six years without speaking to someone of the opposite sex.
■ I was in complete isolation from the world, people, and even myself for more than seven of the almost 10 years.
■ Most of what happened will not be listed or written as you see above.
Luckily, I blocked out and denied most of what could hurt me.
I fought, and I won!!!!!!
When I finally came out of the blackout, I used my eyes for the first time, breathed for the first time, and lived for the first time. The experience was amazing.
■ Mainstream compatible (I used to code and design computer software from age 13 to almost 15 with the goal of my creative ideas one day going 'mainstream'). Comedy, the tragedy, and the drama are all included in my book. I have the childhood that led into the blackout, the psychological susceptibility to blackout (I was still a kid at the time - children are much more likely to block out negative experiences than adults), the spark and flare, and the somewhat happy ending with all of the Hollywood special effects.
■ The writing process for What Happened? Who Am I? is planned for three months at a log cabin. It's not one of the cabins that are customized for writers ("Writers cabin") but would be fine for this project.
■ A blackout can last hours, weeks, months, and sometimes years. Some people blackout their whole childhood. Not many people go too deep to come out of it, though. With most people, I imagine that something or someone is always there to bring them out of it over time. Work, family, friends, events, wife, children, a relationship, or other elements are/were probably there to snap them out of it or slowly bring them back.
■ I remained isolated in a room with none of the things listed above, so I stayed in a constant state of blackout, dissociation, denial, and mental block.
■ Due to my blackout, I was one of the few American born 25-year-old US citizens who had never driven a car in my generation — in the whole country. I never had a license either. That's of course not counting those who are/were in jail, handicapped, mentally unstable, live near subways, or suffering from a disease or disorder. The majority of (not all) American born citizens in my generation have driven a car before the age of 25.
If I had never been so far gone, I would have re-entered life much sooner. There would have been that moment of realization where I consciously thought to myself "......wait a minute......I'm 23-years-old and have never driven a car!!! What am I doing? What Happened? WHO AM I???"
■ I stopped maturing for almost 10 years. After age 15 I was unable to continue maturing into adulthood. The condition I was in had mentally and physically delayed my growth into an adult male.
* The cause of my late growth and development was not inherited or drug induced, a nutrition issue, or fluke. I was not suffering from a disease or disorder, low testosterone levels, or genetic problems.
What Happened? Who Am I?
Title subject to change. I chose this title because "What happened?" and "Who am I? were two of the first thoughts that circled in my mind when I came out of the blackout.
* The cover graphic may be edited later.
What Happened? Who Am I? will be artistically written with the time and care of a true masterpiece. The book will contain the unimaginable and moving account of blackout, denial, mental block, and the true loss of identity during years of isolation. The opening content explains my character and nature that leads into the main content of what happened before, during, and after the blackout. There won't be much dialogue in the book, because there was no conversation during most of What Happened. There will, however, be a vast ocean of emotion and depth. Some vulgar language.
Why the cabin?
There are plenty of places with monthly residency specifically for authors to rent for writing, but it's cheaper if I just rent a small cabin like many other authors out there.
This book is my work of art, my masterpiece. There is personal meaning attached to this project that goes beyond the purpose of sharing my story.
What I'm trying to say is that this book needs to be written professionally with the proper workspace and adequate time. The story needs to be told in a way that allows me to apply myself without limitation. To do that, I need the cabin.
If this project funds, then I'll have the necessary tools for the proper writing process that the book deserves. For me, for the readers, and for the world!
■ Being tucked away in the woods can bring out powerful emotions. The environment of the cabin will make it possible to connect with my emotions on a deeper level and then apply those emotions in the book.
■ Being surrounded by nature in the forest is vital to the writing process of my book because of the content. This is a book about blackout, loss of identity, and isolation. Also, as a young boy I lived next to a large forest area that I would often play at for hours. See the connection there?
■ To create a work environment that is fit for the project (and to simulate past experiences). I can't work under my current conditions.
■ I don't have the luxury of time. In the cabin I can do in three months what would normally take a year.
The cabin kills a hundred birds with one log.
I'm planning to stay at one of the cheapest cabins available. 1 bedroom, small, and located in a wooded area miles from the city. The stay is planned for three months, which is a sufficient amount of time to complete the rough draft. I'll then break for a month to prepare for revisions and final copy.
The money will be used to help pay the cost of the cabin, supplies, and food.
Advertising and promotion will be paid out of the book sales, if any, and my pocket.
I have to pay for a skilled editor, web work, better cover work, publishing, and a bunch of other stuff too.
Any amount raised past the goal will go towards a professional editing service to edit the rough draft and final copy, upgrades for the project (better supplies), upgrades for the book and book site, extra time to write if needed, printed copies for business and hot chicks, and promotion.
250-275 pages in 90 days. No picnic. I'll be writing around the clock and only working the rough draft (except for chapter 1). The final copy will be worked on when I return from the cabin.
Writing this book is going to be a difficult but passionate venture. There is no room for error. The content has to remain relevant for decades. This is my heart and soul. My blood, sweat, and tears will be put into writing this book.
I'm writing this book to share my story, relate to those who faced a similar struggle, handle business, and for many personal reasons. What Happened? Who Am I? will be listed on some well-known sites. Amazon, for example.
What Happened? Who Am I? will give hope to the lost. This is a story of struggle and self-discovery that is the first of its kind, yet relates to so many people out there. Above all, this book should entertain, interest, inspire, and touch the hearts of thousands of readers.
The cause of the blackout and what blackout is can be found on Updates at the top.
This is a photo of me before the blackout at 15-years-old. My mother took this picture of me.
There are more pictures of me under Updates at the top
I'll probably replace or edit this project description with a project status message at the end of the campaign.
Yes, I have a webcam.
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." - Proverbs 4:23
The details of the book content are on the FAQ below.
The main content contains what happened before, during, and after the blackout (which may be referred to in the book as 'disconnect' or 'dissociation').
Again, I'm writing a comedy, tragedy, and drama filled true story. There is a focus on the fact that I experienced a blackout, to a degree, but the main content is along the lines of "What Happened?" and "Who Am I?".
The book should come out very tasteful.
pledged of $3,800 goal
seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on July 5, 2012.
Jun 5, 2012 - Jul 5, 2012 (30 days)
Pledge $5 or more
Backer log-in account to the website with private blog documentation of the three month writing process. Backer accounts also have access to an update stream so that you can see what is happening with the project, know how much progress has been made on the book each week, and various other streaming content from the project.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $15 or more
Everything that you get for $5 plus you will be the first to get the eBook before the public release so that you won't have to wait as long to read the book! You'll also get a What Happened? Who Am I? sticker mailed to you with a thank you letter.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $20 or more
Everything that you get for $5 and $15 plus your name will be listed under a special thank you on the last page (or last two pages) of the book. To make things fair for everyone, the order of names goes by who pledged first. If you claim one of the perks below but do not want your name in the book, then you can still claim one of the perks below and opt-out of having your name listed.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $35 or more
Everything that you get for $5, $15, and $20 plus a signed paperback copy of the book and a What Happened? Who Am I? bookmark. Comes with a certificate of contribution mailed with the book (Add $5 for international shipping).Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $50 or more
Everything that you get for $5, $15, $20, and $35 plus TWO bonus chapters of the book that are not included in the public release. The bonus chapters are more personal details and will be included in your version of the eBook and the printed copy. You will also get some samples/peaks (quotes) during the three month writing process so that you can read some snippets as the book is being worked on.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $100 or more
Everything above + a signed hardcover Special Edition of What Happened? Who Am I? There will be a printed thank you note to you on the last page of the book! (a specially printed version) Plus, the special edition of the book has author (me) notes at the end of each chapter. You'll also get early access to Chapter 1 of the book so that you can read Chapter 1 before the rest of the book is completed. The paperback copy is replaced with the hardcover Special Edition copy for this reward.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $150 or more
Everything above + your website or book will be listed under "Links" on the main menu of the site with a description of your website or book.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $250 or more
Everything above + A second signed hardcover copy in addition to the Special Edition version, two bookmarks, two stickers, 10 free eBook download codes and some video documentation of the writing process. The $150 reward is excluded from this reward.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012