As some of you may know, I recently co-authored a book with my awesome writing partner, Keltie Colleen. Entitled, The Imperfections of James & Kate, the book is a real-life love story - or as close as you can get to being real without being real. Wait, what? What does that even mean, Chris?
It means that there is one common theme all of my books have in common: me. Simply because, well, I don’t know how to write anything else. Whether it deals with the abuse I survived as a child, the bulls I ran from in Spain, or the shady back-alley dealings as an adult, they were all extensions of me as a boy who unknowingly turned into an adult when his back was turned.
So when it came time to write my first book of fiction, I didn’t know how to begin so I followed the tradition of Bukowski - James is my Henry Chinaski.
Today marks one month since the book has been officially released and I have slowly been receiving emails asking to know more about the specifics of the story so without giving away spoilers for those who haven’t finished the book or who have yet to buy one and support me (yeah, what are you waiting for?) - the chapters written by me (as James) and largely rooted in my real life.
The interactions with my grandfather, the story of the fight on the train (the full real story is in my best-of book Maybe He’ll Grow Out Of It), Dayshawn, the financial struggles of a writer, the story the florist told James happened to my mother in real life, Lanie, the arguments, so many are have been taken from my real life verbatim. This is why the book opens with the disclaimer of:
"This really isn’t a true story
but that all depends on whom you ask”
So was there a real life James and Kate? Not exactly.
But it’s as close to “Based on a true story” as you can get.
The Imperfections of James & Kate along with the rest of my titles are still available at: Deadxstop.com
You know, I never realized just how many cowards there are in this world. So many who walk away from any real confrontation or stance.
My world has been shaped by this community of punk rock and hardcore music. A collective of misfits who came together and bonded over frustrations and insecurities - even if we won’t freely admit it. So when someone in my world, of my mindset, begins to display aggressively passive behaviors to things we all agree are fucked, it’s beyond disappointing.
Today we read that Steve from New Found Glory was arraigned on multiple charges of child molestation and counts of child porn on his computer. And almost as quickly as people were erupting in outrage, there was a small group of people out there immediately defending him. And it made me think - why? Why are people so quick to defend something so serious. Something that we know is so offensively common in our world. And what I realized is that it’s not so much that he was in a band they liked as much as it is that they are cowards.
Oh sure, the band had a lot to do with it. I mean, if you found out the guy who handed you your latte every morning was arraigned on multiple counts of child molestation you probably wouldn’t want to see him much less defend him. So why? Because you know multiple charges like that don’t just appear out of nowhere. But this has more to do with people being terrified to confront that what they know is wrong. We all would like to pretend that the people we know and the things we bought into over our lifetime is real and true because if it wasn’t, well then, that means we got fooled. And no one likes being the fool.
I know this because one of my my best friends of 20 years recently got accused of rape for the 4th time. And that’s four times too many. He was pulled into the police station and questioned but there was no evidence because the victim, who had the courage to walk into a police station and give a statement, unfortunately waited too long so he was let go. And just like that he’s back on the streets. Going to shows. Walking the sidewalks. Chatting with friends and even still employed as a security guard at one of Chicago’s most prominent venues. I’m sure this will get back to him at some point and I say, I don’t give a fuck. I believed in him and I was fooled. I’ve seen the damage and months of trauma in the eyes of his most recent victims and I chose to draw a line in the sand. I’m here - and rapist and rape-apologists are over there. I chose to cut ties with multiple people who support him. People I was GOOD friends with. Why? Not because they’re simple cowards, but because they have weak hearts. Because they choose to go on shaking his hand and asking about his day and when you do that, you’re saying “I don’t believe you” to his victims. And call me crazy, but I actually believe in this community. One that bonds over the fucked up matters in this world and actively raises and hand that says “I want no part of that.” And when you brush the darkest parts of humanity, rape and child abuse, under the rug because the accused is in a “cool band” or they “play sports really well” or “well, they’re nice to me” - you become part of the problem.
I was a victim of child abuse. And maybe that is why I take this so seriously. And maybe that’s why you don’t. Because maybe you were never a five year old boy that had to live through it. Because you never had to have someone NOT believe you. And maybe it’s because you never knew what it was like when your father was laughing and shaking hands and singing along to songs and having friends over for dinner when you knew how dark and rotten of a human being he was at night.
If there is one thing that I need you to take away from this is RAPISTS AND CHILD MOLESTERS DON’T LOOK LIKE RAPISTS AND CHILD MOLESTERS! They look like your friends or your doctors or your bus drivers or your moms or your dads or like ANYONE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD! Rapists and child molesters laugh and sing and dance and drink beer and eat pizza just like you! So just because you say to yourself, “Well, I mean, he was nice to me!” Doesn’t mean shit to the victim. I’ve met Steve from NFG a few times, I have hung out with Ian Watkins from Lost Prophets and I lived with my father for years and guess what? They were all really nice guys - until they thought they could get away with the crime of taking advantage of a child.
Your apathy isn’t cool or edgy or punk.
It’s a trite and old joke that only shows just how insincere you truly are.
"If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything" is all bullshit rhetoric if when it comes time to take a real stance and draw a line in the sand you would rather take the path of least resistance. And I don’t want those people in my life. When you know rape statistics (2-6% account for false claims) which means roughly there’s a 94% chance an accused rapist is guilty, combined with the fact that you know MOST victims never press charges, why would you NOT choose to believe a victim?
Because most people are fucking cowards and don’t back up their words. And while that infuriates me, it’s worse for the victims. Because when you immediately back a “famous dude” - you’re telling that five year old boy, that 14 year old girl, that 21 year old woman, that they are a liar.
And that makes you a goddamn shameful coward.
Lately I have found myself shouting, “People are the fucking worst,” a little more than usual. Enough to the point where it made me take a step back and ask myself, Am I becoming that cynical?
Truth is, I dislike most people. Before you think I’m talking about you, I’m probably not. Most people that I surround myself with on a regular basis made the cut, so you’re safe. But I also think that most people believe that saying you “dislike” someone means you “hate” someone - and that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Remember when I wrote an entire book about going on hundreds of dates in a few months? Well, somewhere in there I made a dating analogy to a school lab partner. You know when the teacher would randomly pair you with some person in class that you weren’t friends with? Not that you particularly hated them, just that you had nothing in common with them enough to justify a friendship. You were nice enough to them and studied together and made the experiment work but in the hallway you never gave anything more than a head nod.
Weighing the thousands of meetings, dates, and interactions, I have come to realize that 10% of the people you meet are some of the worst humans in the world, 10% are some of the greatest people you will ever meet, and 80% are nice enough but will forever get the head nod.
Maybe that’s me being overly judgmental or jaded but it’s taken me decades to stop beating myself up trying to fit into what is expected of me on so many levels. I recently read something to the effect of, you spend your youth desperately trying to fit in and you spend adulthood desperately trying to stand out. And that was when I realized that I wasted so much of my life feeling unhappy because I couldn’t/didn’t live up to the standards of others. For better or worse, I simply wasn’t destined to be ordinary. I have tried normality and it feels like wearing a heavy polyester suit at a long easter church mass with no air conditioning - I just can’t wait to get home and put on my emotional black band tshirt.
I can’t do a certain life. And sometimes I wish I could. I wish I could be happy with what makes other happy. I wish I could be content with what was normal, my life would be so much easier. But I can’t fake it. I have tried and I feel like tearing my face off for being so untrue to myself.
So I accept it. Me. And sometimes I walk down the street quietly loathing people, and I still give a respectable head nod. But most of the time I run toward that amazing 10% who make life tolerable and wonderful. I surround myself with equally self-loathing non-civilians who motivate me with their smiles and their unbridled enthusiasm for all things non-ordinary.
I wish I could say that this is the life I chose - but that would be a lie. Because if anything, I would have chosen the life with least resistance. But that’s not how things worked out and that’s fine. More than fine. Because I get to call you my friend.
Former Rockette, famous blogger and current Insider host on CBS, Keltie Knight is at it again with her second book,The Imperfections of James and Kate, released Friday Feb 14th 2014. Keltie is very prominent in the entertainment business, she has been a professional dancer for years, had her share in dating celebs, has interviewed countless people, and has since formed an astonishing career for herself as a blogger, and writer. Keltie say’s since her last book, Rockettes, Rockstars, and Rockbottom she has written around 5 or 6 books, though this one of James and Kate “really stuck to the core”.