Please allow me to introduce my novel--Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography—a fictional memoir based on my own experience of dealing with schizoaffective disorder and post-traumatic stress.
“No, Ben. What I’m asking is: Are you the vehicle, and Georgie rides around in you? That is why Ben’s the driver, right?”
BENJAMIN (BEN, BENJY) SCHREIBER has Tourette’s syndrome, which causes him to display uncontrollable tics and hops, and to stutter and swear inappropriately. He is bullied through his school years and can never form firm friendships, especially with women. He is simply incapable of happiness. In his late twenties, he plunges into a downward spiral of drug and alcohol abuse, which culminates in an attempted bank robbery using a cell phone as a fake bomb. He is arrested and placed under psychiatric evaluation, where his psychiatrist, Dr C, quickly sees Ben’s affliction as more than just Tourette’s. Ben is not alone: Inside his head lives GEORGIE GUST, Ben’s alter ego. Georgie is obsessed with his manipulative but extremely sexual next door neighbor CLAUDIA NESBITT and shares a sadomasochistic relationship with her that is supported only by his obsession—Claudia has no love for Georgie. Ben is desperately searching for someone—Claudia Nesbitt as the Perfect Woman—who will provide him the unconditional love that he never received as a boy. He finds it easier to retreat into his mind to share Georgie’s sick obsession with Georgie’s cruel and abusive Claudia than to deal with his real issues. Dr C senses that Ben is suffering from some type of post-traumatic stress that occurred early in Ben’s childhood and that he uses Georgie as an escape when bad memories start to surface. It is up to Dr C to help Ben face the buried terrors of his childhood so that he can finally let go of Georgie and reduce him to the literary character that the writer Ben wants him to be.
As its title suggests, Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography is actually based on my own experiences as a person diagnosed with a comorbid schizoaffective spectrum condition. Ben and Georgie and Claudia were/are all part of my past, part of what has led to my becoming a writer. Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography represents my first manuscript of appreciable length. Its target audience is adult readers who enjoy the transgressive style that best depicts the intricacies of a mentally ill mind. Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography weighs in at roughly 250,000 words and is fully complete.
How simple it is to see that we can only be happy now, and that there will never be a time when it is not now. Would I trade my comorbid schizoaffective spectrum condition? No way. Never. Too many gifts, like Georgie Gust and Claudia Nesbitt, come along with it.