A Craving To Kill For

What do you crave?

For me it’s chocolate. Dark chocolate. I have had a love affair with junk food since mom started going to the thrift store and freezing boxes of Devil Dogs, Ring Dings and Yankee Doodles. My brother, sister, and I went crazy for those.

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Unchecked my craving will give me a bulge around the middle, high cholesterol, and a few other health problems that can be worked off by munching carrots and working out like a madman.

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In the last two months I’ve been working on a project that involves more serious cravings for heroin. These cravings drive people to do tragic things to each other. The stories I’ve read have made me physically sick and writing this book has been difficult.

One particular aspect of my research has plagued me. Heroin addicts get clean using Methadone in clinics, or by sweating it out at home. Either way, beating the addiction means a horrible sickness that lasts a week and involves sweating in the fetal position with cramps, vomiting and the worst fever symptoms you could imagine.

Even while addicts are taking the drug, they require a larger and larger dose to “get off E”. In other words, addicts need more and more of the drug just to feel ok. It becomes harder and harder to get high and many times they are stealing or prostituting themselves simply to get rid of the sickness that will eventually consume them.

I’m awed by the power of not only the drug, but the other emotional and life issues that would inspire someone to go back to heroin after kicking it. Sweating it out is a deterrent for sure, but recovering addicts go back over and over. Some have been in detox dozens of times. Thinking about this boggles my mind and assures me of heroin’s power.

I won’t risk my life and my health by trying heroin, so I’m going to explore my own cravings.

I’ve made a bet with myself. Or maybe I’m conducting a psychological experiment on myself to help put me in touch with the three recovering addicts in my new book. Starting today, until I finish writing the book (or I crash and burn), I am going to go on my No Junk diet and get in touch with the cravings I have for junk food.

Anyone is welcome to join me.

Here is my official list of banned foods (yours may vary):

  • No Chocolate… granola bars with chocolate chips are ok
  • No Fast Food – McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC… Subway is acceptable
  • No Donuts, Cake, Cookies, Pies… birthday cake for my kids is acceptable
  • No Candy
  • No Soda
  • No Ice Cream

I allow myself the following:

  • Beer and wine
  • Pizza
  • Chinese food

As time progresses I’ll check in with my word count, my success on the diet, and the affect my cravings have had on me over the week.

If you decide to join me on the challenge, don’t be shy. Post a reply and let me know how you are doing.

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Are You Afraid of Me?

I’m a big guy but even in my mysterious-looking author pose I don’t find myself very intimidating. I had the good fortune of being raised in a place with near zero crime and when I finished growing, I was 6’ 2”. When I walk into a bar or down a dark street, I’m not the guy people choose to make trouble with, but I’m not one to start it either.

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In the last few weeks I’ve met people in real life who thought it odd that I have a pen name. They think I’m hiding something sinister behind my nom de plume. Like in my real life I’m a mass murderer who takes women and young children and cuts them up in the name of research for my books. Really? Me?

When I finished Sin & Vengeance I had a number of people, mostly parents of children my kids wanted to play with, look at me very suspiciously. They wondered where I got the ideas for that book and they wondered (out loud!) if they should let their children play with mine. (Sorry kids if you felt isolated. It was my fault.)

I had been wondering why people find me scary this week when I got an email from a reader. Some themes in my books touch a nerve for people and they share their experiences with me. Some are so horrifying they make me feel physically ill. The evil things people do to strangers and more often than I want to believe, their children, explain why good people are afraid of someone like me. I’m large enough to have the potential to hurt them and that is enough. They aren’t spooked by me, but by things that have happened to them or their loved ones in the past.

The people who are doing these atrocious things live all around us and they are not afraid of me in the least. I’m learning about them as I research the heroin culture for my new series. I hear true stories of what people do to each other for drugs or money. I see particular graffiti as advertisements of drugs for sale. I see drugs being passed from hand to hand. I see the results of drug users stripping an abandoned home. This happens all around us and we do nothing.

The people selling drugs, pimping girls, robbing homes, and molesting children see me as a sheep not a citizen. As someone who will stand by and do nothing as they harm whomever they choose to get their drug or satisfy their fantasy. We’ve outsourced the responsibility for building safe communities to the police even though they can do almost nothing to protect us from crime. That is why criminals are not afraid.

I hope there comes a day when we begin to take responsibility for the world around us, a time when a potential burglar sees someone like me coming down the street and he’s very afraid.