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Welcome to the Circle: The Mental Health Book

A collection of writing about mental illness, redemption, loss & gratitude.

Welcome to the Circle: The Mental Health Book

A collection of writing about mental illness, redemption, loss & gratitude.

$6Delimiter075
Pledged OfPledged Of Goal
84
Backers
45Days Time To Go

All Or Nothing This Project Will Only Be Funded

About

Welcome to the Circle: The Mental Health Book

I never expected to wind up in a mental hospital.  I was class treasurer, member of the homecoming court, varsity wrestling champion, head of my academic class, and a distinguished college graduate.  But life threw me an unexpected turn.  After college my mental health suddenly declined.  Anxiety turned into phobia.  Depression turned into despair.  Frustration turned into rage.  Irritability became wild mood swings  I went from being a happy, social person, full of life and humor, to someone who desperately wanted to avoid the world and couldn't tolerate its onslaught of stimulation and slights.

Welcome to the Circle is my story and the multitude of lessons I've learned along the way.  Through 27 accessible, intimate, and insightful essays, poems, lists, and practical guides, I will share what I went through in a way that can reach the reader at the core.  More than just memoir, Welcome to the Circle is a meditation on the mental health journeys all of us must take to become better humans.  It is full of useful advice about how to navigate mental illness in all its difficulty and unpredictability, either for you or for the ones you love.

Mental illness is not a dead end; it can be a powerful beginning.  In the 7 years since I was hospitalized, I found effective treatment with both therapy and medications.  I reconnected with family and friends around the world.  I started a successful global initiative for Wikipedia.  I met my strong, brilliant, and beautiful wife.  I became a loving stepfather.  Along the way I learned and practiced how to help others find their own way into recovery.

My mission is to impact each person who has personally experienced or witnessed the struggle of mental illness.  To end the stigma and shame that prevents people from getting the help they need.  To show that recovery is possible, that mental illness can be survived, and that it can be transformed into a dynamic and thriving new chapter of life.

Your support will help share this message with the world, so that you can grow, and so that you can better understand and help others along your path.  My goal is to make a positive change in people's lives, to shift society towards compassion and acceptance, and to move each of us towards a fuller realization of our precious and vibrant potential.

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Here's what early readers are saying about the starting draft:

"These pieces reflect deep compassion and committed empathy. I read it in one sitting." - Maggie D.

"The way it is written is just beautiful. The writing is full of emotion and one can feel that it's sprouting directly from the heart." - Satdeep G.

"Fantastically raw." - Gabe O.

"I was laughing and crying. It is educating me on many levels." - Susan O.

"The writing has an intelligence, a vulnerability, and the most perfect use of English vocabulary. What what all of it has in common is an openness, an honesty, a kindness, and an ability to grab the reader. The style is so refreshing and unusual, especially in today's world." - Kathy G.

"This book moved me." - Sue C. 

Meet the Author:  My Vision

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What's going to be in the Book?

Welcome to the Circle will be about 130 pages: a nearly 30-thousand word creative collection.  It's going to be an inviting and engrossing mix of writing styles and work lengths. The topics cover will mental illness and loss--the hard parts--and well as redemption and gratitude--the uplifting parts.  The focus is intimately personal at times, or broadly applicable to treatment in general. The collection will be imbued with variety and themes of experience, reflection, guidance, and hope embedded throughout.

I want anyone to be able to read this book in some form.  Mental health is more important than profit.  Because I want you to really feel and learn what this book is about, I'm keeping a draft version of the entire work available online for everyone anywhere...

You can see the draft online version right now:  welcometothecircle.net

To support your individual quest through the book, all versions of Welcome to the Circle will come with a helpful Choose Your Own Adventure index so you can pick from the different types of works you're looking for.  Dive into the essays, sit down with the poems, tick through the lists, or dig into the guides.  Of course, you can also read it straight through.  Many early readers said they read it in one sitting!  

Here's every piece that's going to be included:

Essays

Journey of a Wikipedian, True Stories Aren't Always Easy to Tell, Sex and Sanity, A Eulogy for Paradon, The Crisis Killing Our Boys, Humans of Planet Earth, I Am Feeling Lucky Now

Poems

Horizon, Liminal, Convenience, Stonefruit, Haikus, Before Sean, Hamsa, How to Save Someone's Life (Part 4), Sedona, Hafiz Remixed on the Eve of My Wedding

Lists

A Few Thoughts for Being in Community, Welcome to the Circle, If I Can Make It, Curated Thoughts for Inadvertent Witnesses, How to Write a Facebook Suicide Note

Guides

How to Save Someone's Life (Part 1), How to Save Someone's Life (Part 2), The Atomic Method, How to Save Someone's Life (Part 3), What Do We Do Now? 

What Will You Get?

Through this Kickstarter campaign you can choose your own package, type of access, and level of support.  It's easy to get your chosen version through Kickstarter:  you just pick the package that fits you best, put in your details, and make a secure payment.

Welcome to the Circle will always be available in a free, online version, for all readers, anywhere in the world.  The packages in this Kickstarter add great bonuses to that, and they support me in my continued advocacy and allyship.

The most lightweight and inexpensive option is a complete digital version with full online access.  It comes with no restrictions or DRM.  It is yours to read on any device or share with the ones you love.  Just contribute a small gesture of support--to keep free access available for everyone.

If you prefer more structure in your books, you can select a digital edition 'Your Way', with the pieces organized by type rather than in their organic sequence.

For those who want the book in their hands, you can get a fully bound, professionally printed paperback edition with cover art.  Take it with you, read it in bed or out in nature, or hand it to someone in need. To make your printed copy extra special, the book will be signed by the author with a note just for you.

To go further and connect the book to your life, you can select a package that includes a video-chat, online consultation, dinner with the the author in gorgeous Santa Cruz, or a guided co-writing experience about your path in this life.  We can discuss the book, or reflect on wherever you are in your journey.

Last, you can choose to become a patron of my lifelong passion to make mental health insight and education as widely accessible as possible.  This deeply meaningful contribution is an investment in me as a creative writer and as an advocate for people dealing with and recovering from mental illness.

The way Kickstarter works is that if we don't meet the minimum $10,000 funding goal, everyone just gets their money back.  So, we're in it together to make this happen!

Support this campaign and get Welcome to the Circle! 

Here are 7 reasons you'll want to read Welcome to the Circle:

  • You are personally struggling and want to gain insight and hope
  • You love someone who needs help, but you don't know how to help
  • You want to learn what mental illness really looks and feels like
  • You need advice getting someone into treatment or onto medication
  • You believe our society can grow in its compassion towards mental health
  • You're on your path to recovery and want to stay healthy and keep growing
  • You crave innovative writing and want to support independent creators

Please select the package that works for you: your budget, needs, and dreams.  Support mental health.  Support recovery and hope.  

Please also share this campaign with your friends, family, colleagues, and peers.  Help make it a success by posting about it on social media or sending the campaign link to people you care about. Here's a short link to share: bit.ly/CircleKickstarter

Thank you so much for your support, your belief in me, and your collaboration on this journey of healing.  Because of you, Welcome to the Circle can come to life.

Risks and challenges

I started writing individual pieces of this collection nearly five years ago. Some of them have been published before, but many are entirely new. Putting the pieces together is a big challenge!

Many pieces need to be rewritten, copy edited, and then put into a compelling order. The book also needs a polished introduction, table of contents, conclusion, and acknowledgements. The text needs to be formatted for printing and fitted with the right font and margins. I need to design appealing cover art for the book and lastly arrange printing for hopefully hundreds (or even thousands) of copies to be shipped around the world.

Digital delivery will be easy and painless. It's a matter of one email per person. Hosting for the online version is already established.

Physical shipping will require me to find a suitable, affordable, and high-quality printer, and to then handle the logistics of sending parcels to different countries. This will take a little more time but is a completely typical activity for any bookseller.

Setting up calls with patrons is a simple matter as I have been a remote online employee for 10 years and working on the Internet is a regular part of my life. I've left those packages unlimited, but also made them sufficient to support my time investment.

I will keep you updated throughout the campaign about how the writing, editing, formatting, design, and printing are going. It's going to be fun!

The biggest risk, for me, is not getting this book out into the world, where I think it can make an impact and help people.

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    Digital Patron Edition

    Want to support the free web version? Keep Welcome to the Circle available to everyone everywhere with a small but meaningful contribution. You'll get your own pdf version and full online access to the complete book. You'll also get a personal thank you email with rich new insights. Includes your name (if you want) in the online version Supporters List.

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    Digital Edition Your Way

    Want more structure in the arrangement of the pieces? Get your own digital version and full online access organized by type (essays, lists, poems and guides) rather than the organic sequence. You'll still have access to the original online version, too. Have it your way! You'll also get a personal thank you email with rich new insights. Includes your name (if you want) in the online Supporters List.

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    Signed Paperback Edition

    Want to hold Welcome to the Circle book in your hands? Get a fully bound, professionally printed paperback edition of Welcome to the Circle with a personal signature and note from the author. Comes with full online access and a downloadable pdf version. You'll also receive a thank you email with rich new insights. Includes mention (if you want) in the online supporters list.

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    Share Pack: 3 Signed Paperbacks

    Want to spread the love around? Get a great discount on 3 signed fully bound paperback editions to share with friends or family. You'll also get full online access and your own digital pdf. Comes with a personal thank you email with rich new insights. Includes your name (if you want) in the online Supporters List.

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    Author Chat and Signed Paperback

    Want to chat with the author? Discuss the book, or anything else you want, in a 30-minute video chat. Comes with 2 fully bound, professionally printed paperback editions signed with a personal note. You'll also get full online access and your own digital pdf. Comes with a personal thank you email with rich new insights. Includes your name (if you want) in the online Supporters List.

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    Psych Education and Signed Paperback

    Want some feedback on your own journey? Get targeted psychological education and compassionate peer support in a private and confidential 60 minute video chat. Discuss strategies for recovery, treatment, and healing about you or a loved one. Comes with 2 fully bound signed paperback editions with personal note. You'll also get full online access and your own digital pdf. Comes with a personal thank you email with rich new insights. Includes your name (if you want) in the online Supporters List.

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    Author Dinner and Signed Paperbacks

    Want to sit down with Jake Orlowitz for a sunset meal overlooking the Monterey Bay in Santa Cruz, California? Discuss life, the book, your journey, or whatever else is on your mind. Comes with 3 fully bound personally signed paperback editions. You'll also get full online access and your own digital pdf. Comes with a personal thank you email with rich new insights. Includes your name (if you want) in the online Supporters List.

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    Write-Your-Story Experience

    Want to write about your story? Spend 3 hours with the author working together on your own poem or essay, with thoughtful guidance and expert writing assistance. Comes with 3 fully bound, signed paperback editions. You'll also get full online access and your own digital pdf. Comes with a personal thank you email with rich new insights. Includes your name (if you want) in the online Supporters List.

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    Book Reading and Discussion

    Want to bring Jake Orlowitz to your store, event, book group, conference or organization? Host the author for a 2-hour special reading plus an open discussion on mental health. Comes with 10 fully bound, professionally printed paperback editions signed with a personal note. You'll also get full online access and your own digital pdf. Comes with a personal thank you email with rich new insights. Includes your name (if you want) in the online Supporters List. (Note: travel costs are not included and availability depends on location).

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    Patron Champion: The Author's Journey

    Want to contribute to Jake Orlowitz's continued creative writing and mental health advocacy? Help end stigma and support people on their paths to mental health recovery with a generous investment in the author. Comes with your choice of 'You Write It' experience, dinner with the author, or private video conversation. Includes 5 signed paperback copies of Welcome to the Circle. You'll also get full online access and your own digital pdf. Comes with a personal thank you email with rich new insights. Includes your name (if you want) in the online Supporters List.

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