The Fragmentation Podcast

8
Oct

The Oxygen Tank [Leprechaun Podcast] Transgressive Fiction

The Oxygen Tank by author, Jonathan Harnisch is a non-linear story of schizophrenia and obsession. Rather than having a chronological plot, it exists in a series of maddening hallucinogenic episodes that combine Benjamin J. Schreiber's deepest insecurities and darkest fantasies. In every one of these manic flashes, the same characters appear: Georgie, the alter-ego living in Ben's body, and Claudia, the object of his twisted desires and destructive obsession. These "schizophrenic blue-movie skits and sleazy hardcore porn-flicks," as Ben describes them to his psychiatrist, open a disturbing window into the psychopathy that controls his every day.

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30
Sep

Porcelain Utopia

A fictional novel that explores the inner workings of the schizoaffective mind. This book is not just to provide a picture of how mental illness disrupts the reality of the sufferer, but more importantly to share how creative pursuits like writing can have tremendous therapeutic benefits. Its target audience is adult readers who enjoy the transgressive style that best depicts the intricacies of a mentally ill mind.

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15
Sep

Living Colorful Beauty

Mentally-ill sexual abuse victim, Ben Schreiber undergoes psychiatric sessions while rambling through memories of sexual exploits. Nominated for the Crimson Quill, finalist INDIEFAB, finalist National Indie Excellence Awards 2016, shortlisted 24th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards, BookLife Prize for Fiction.

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15
Sep

Lover in the Nobody

Independently wealthy schizophrenic offers to pay his neighbor to be his sexual torturer. Nominated for the Crimson Quill, finalist INDIEFAB, finalist National Indie Excellence Awards 2016, shortlisted 24th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards, BookLife Prize for Fiction.

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13
Sep

Melt Away

A beautiful film about new tears for old grief, and loving what was and what was not. I competed Melt Away while undergoing a dark, deep experience with depression, existential despair and with new tears for old grief. I am glad to see so many people have appreciated Melt Away's inherent beauty. I thank you, all, to God, and to all my fans, friends, and family for playing such a unique role in my experimental pieces, although perhaps without you knowing it. I am brought to a deep sense of nostalgia for good times long gone, from lost film footage in the archives here at the production office to experimenting into the depth of new ground, and new artistic expression. I suffer from a rare and comorbid mental health diagnoses, namely those within the schizophrenia and autistic spectra. My mental illnesses have blessed me over the years with many creative gifts. So, with immense gratitude, I thank you, my muse, wife, and my family, friends, and fans.

Watch Now:
28
Aug

Love and Limerence (2016)

Envision a blend of a mentally ill mind with unsurpassed resiliency and fiery intellect and your result would be the brilliant Jonathan Harnisch. An all-around artist, Jonathan writes fiction and screenplays, sketches, imagines, and creates. Produced filmmaker, fine artist, musician, and published erotica author, Jonathan holds myriad accolades, and his works captivate the attention of those who experience it. Manic-toned scripts with parallel lives, masochistic tendencies in sexual escapades, and disturbing clarities embellished with addiction, fetish, lust, and love, are just a taste of themes found in Jonathan's transgressive literature. Conversely, his award-winning films capture the ironies of life, love, self-acceptance, tragedy and fantasy. Jonathan's art evokes laughter and shock, elation and sadness, but overall forces you to step back and question your own version of reality. Scripts, screenplays, and schizophrenia are defining factors of Jonathan's life and reality - but surface labels are often incomplete. Jonathan is diagnosed with several mental illnesses from schizoaffective disorder to Tourette's syndrome; playfully, he dubs himself the "King of Mental Illness." Despite daily symptomatic struggles and thoughts, Jonathan radiates an authentic, effervescent, and loving spirit. His resiliency emanates from the greatest lesson he's learned: laughter. His diagnoses and life experiences encourage him to laugh at reality as others see it. Wildly eccentric, open-minded, passionate and driven, Jonathan has a feral imagination. His inherent traits transpose to his art, making his works some of the most original and thought-provoking of modern day. Jonathan Harnisch's struggles with his mental health conditions are interlinked with the incomprehension of non-sufferers, which provokes him to explain his reality. He has explored a range of media, including film, music, and now the written word, to help the general public understand exactly what it feels like to suffer from schizophrenia. By fictionalizing the day-to-day meetings of multiple personalities, he is illuminating a corner of psychiatry that few understand. As an author with schizophrenia, Jonathan Harnisch is ideally placed to share the unusual perception commonly defined as 'mental illness'. Harnisch is not dealing with an altered reality, but a double reality. His main characters, Ben Schreiber and Georgie Gust, perfectly illustrate how two lives can share the same body.

Watch Now:
28
Aug

Glamorous (2016) [Romance Fiction by Jonathan Harnisch] - (First Draft)

Envision a blend of a mentally ill mind with unsurpassed resiliency and fiery intellect and your result would be the brilliant Jonathan Harnisch. An all-around artist, Jonathan writes fiction and screenplays, sketches, imagines, and creates. Produced filmmaker, fine artist, musician, and published erotica author, Jonathan holds myriad accolades, and his works captivate the attention of those who experience it. Manic-toned scripts with parallel lives, masochistic tendencies in sexual escapades, and disturbing clarities embellished with addiction, fetish, lust, and love, are just a taste of themes found in Jonathan's transgressive literature. Conversely, his award-winning films capture the ironies of life, love, self-acceptance, tragedy and fantasy. Jonathan's art evokes laughter and shock, elation and sadness, but overall forces you to step back and question your own version of reality. Scripts, screenplays, and schizophrenia are defining factors of Jonathan's life and reality - but surface labels are often incomplete. Jonathan is diagnosed with several mental illnesses from schizoaffective disorder to Tourette's syndrome; playfully, he dubs himself the "King of Mental Illness." Despite daily symptomatic struggles and thoughts, Jonathan radiates an authentic, effervescent, and loving spirit. His resiliency emanates from the greatest lesson he's learned: laughter. His diagnoses and life experiences encourage him to laugh at reality as others see it. Wildly eccentric, open-minded, passionate and driven, Jonathan has a feral imagination. His inherent traits transpose to his art, making his works some of the most original and thought-provoking of modern day. Jonathan Harnisch's struggles with his mental health conditions are interlinked with the incomprehension of non-sufferers, which provokes him to explain his reality. He has explored a range of media, including film, music, and now the written word, to help the general public understand exactly what it feels like to suffer from schizophrenia. By fictionalizing the day-to-day meetings of multiple personalities, he is illuminating a corner of psychiatry that few understand. As an author with schizophrenia, Jonathan Harnisch is ideally placed to share the unusual perception commonly defined as 'mental illness'. Harnisch is not dealing with an altered reality, but a double reality. His main characters, Ben Schreiber and Georgie Gust, perfectly illustrate how two lives can share the same body.

Watch Now:
5
Aug

A Sensual Obsession (2016)

Nothing is taboo if you have an angle on it.

Watch Now:
11
Jul

Room of Books: The Brutal Truth

A collection of personal essays exploring the author's experiences battling schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. Prolific writer and filmmaker Harnisch (Porcelain Utopia, 2016, etc.) explores his personal struggle with mental disorders in this short collection of autobiographical pieces that he originally wrote for his "online community dedicated to mental health." Throughout his adult life, he writes, he's received myriad diagnoses from doctors, including PTSD, depression, and schizoaffective disorder. His book elucidates the day-to-day activities of a person who suffers from such conditions, and the author mentions frequent communication with therapists, a demanding cigarette addiction, and many sleepless nights. At times, the prose is hard to parse and the content can feel repetitive. However, the author shares some incredible insights into what it's like to suffer from the rarely understood symptoms of schizophrenia. In one essay, for example, he describes his experience of paranoia: "We have become the target of a vast conspiracy stretching on invisible webs....It lives in the telephone wires, the cell towers, the papers, and even online....It nests in the hearts and minds of my family, friends, and loved ones." He also sheds light on what it's like to suffer from delusions: "Symbols, mythology, and connections, even coincidences, take on a very deep and personal meaning, a very deep and personal context." Ultimately, although this work is challenging and heavy, it's also uplifting, as the author never loses hope for recovery; instead, he remains tirelessly optimistic: "I keep moving ahead, as always, knowing deep down inside that I am a good person and that I am worthy of a good life." A courageous, if difficult, self-portrait of one man's suffering, as well as his hope for recovery. — Kirkus Reviews

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8
Jul

History of Sex [Audiobook] – July 8, 2016, by Jonathan Harnisch (Author)

“It’s like I'm too far away, in time, from when I would actively participate in things, enjoying them while they were happening…” Ben Schreiber mostly inhabits a world within himself, sharing it with his alter ego Georgie, living often non-linearly in a process of psychosis with visions and images of characters that fade in and out. In reality, Ben is in sessions with his therapist, Dr C, who is inviting him to recall family memories. Inside his own world, Ben is in front of the cameras he has set up in his home office, telling his story. In it, he recalls his sex education as a child, the sex ed. in class counterpointing his father’s pornography and the relationship his father may or may not have had with Gladice, a sexually provocative woman who has similarities to and elements of Claudia, a woman Ben meets aged thirty. Claudia captivates Ben when they share an early ‘moment’ together while smoking and a physical one that involves Ben’s foot fetish in which he paints her toes and makes love to her feet. Claudia urges Ben to go ahead and write about his life and experiences. Ben again begins to recall his early sexual experiences. A particularly vivid one is the day he is with his grandmother at the gym and he sees her friend fully naked in the changing room. Darlene, at least in Ben’s version of the scene, temptingly and languorously dresses herself in front of him. Ben also sees his own funeral, attended by numerous ex-girlfriends (even an ex-boyfriend) who talk about how, in spite of Ben trying to be considerate at first, the relationship always failed when Ben’s behavior degenerated. Ben discusses his failure to engage with life with Georgie. Georgie encourages him to make changes, to find work (even though Ben is rich), to find friends, to seek whatever it is he really wants, to face up to why he acts and lives life as he does. Back in therapy, Ben is with Dr C, where he begins to relate a story of his grandmother, of her toughness during his childhood. Flashing forward to another session, Ben as Georgie is very agitated. Inside his mind, the ghost of his grandmother visits Ben at home. Georgie is there too, helping Ben to recall and face the subdued memories of this woman. Georgie is eleven years old… he thinks he wants to do anything to help his sobbing, lonely grandmother until… Although he wants her to leave his bedroom, he is frozen as she sexually assaults him, the experience mixing with the pornography and sex ed. he has recently been exposed to. Again with Dr C, Ben is highly anxious, pacing. Georgie encourages Ben to open up to Dr C. He does and breaks down, crying hard. In Ben’s internal world, a number of characters attempt to console Ben, including his wife, Kelly, who may or may not have been real, as he comes to terms with his childhood memories in the following days. Ben looks up to the cameras, says his goodbyes, and leaves. Author, Jonathan Harnisch has written the bestselling and award-winning novels, Lover in the Nobody, Living Colorful Beauty and When We Were Invincible. He is also a noted controversial mental health advocate, and fine artist, blogger, podcast host, patent holder, hedge fund manager, musician, and film and TV writer and producer.
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4
Jul

Room of Books: Living Colorful Beauty

Living Colorful Beauty is a twisted, intensely character-driven ride. In Living Colorful Beauty, author Jonathan Harnisch tells the story of Ben, a man diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome, schizoaffective disorder, and several other issues. Ever since his youth, Ben has been both plagued by mental illness and obsessed with venality. As he navigates through an unstable, directionless life and leaves a string of shattered romances in his wake, he generates a fictional character, Georgie Gust, to deal with his many paraphilias and neuroses. But with the introduction of a new psychotherapist, Ben may have a chance to let go of his doppelgänger as well as his overwhelming insecurity. Though the book is saturated with Ben's sexuality, its prevailing theme is actually his struggle to come to terms with his mental health. The entire book reads like a Freudian therapy session, so the ultimate resolution of Ben's problems is appropriate. Ben's internal creative process is integral to the book's effectiveness, since much of the psychoanalysis Ben receives seems to come from himself through the lens of his fictional creation, Georgie. The book features an almost claustrophobic amount of navel-gazing, which may be intentional. At times, the reading experience leaves no doubt as to how the book's main character could drive himself crazy with his recursive, obsessive self-examination. Ben and Georgie have an interesting and nuanced relationship. At times Ben seems completely unable to control his double while simultaneously being one with him. He often reassures himself that his creation is the inferior man, citing Georgie's pumpkin-like body as the reason that nobody will ever want him. On the other hand, of the two of them, Georgie seems to have the more active love life. Ben reaches for emotional intimacy through relationship after relationship, but his illness, issues with women, and physical demands--the Georgie in him--constantly hamper his progress. As the narrator, Ben's point of view colors all of the other characters. Several of these, in addition to Georgie, are or may be fictional, mere expressions of Ben's illness. This is especially true of the women in Ben's life. There are comparatively very few men in this story, but the women are usually of a seductive and even predatory type. Ben aggressively sizes up the ladies he knows, from his girlfriends to his therapist, in terms of their attractiveness, perhaps in an attempt to balance the scales, since in his own perception, women are domineering copies of his own terrifying mother. Part of Ben's evolution is to move toward a valuing of women beyond his mother issues, a satisfying direction for this character to travel. Living Colorful Beauty is a twisted, intensely character-driven ride that ends on a hopeful note. It may interest fans of Charles Bukowski and Tom Robbins.

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2
Jul

Room of Books: When We Were Invincible

Written in the vein of Catcher in the Rye or The World According to Garp, Jonathan Harnisch’s When We Were Invincible is a coming-of-age novella, which details the experiences of outsider Georgie Gust navigating the fictional St. Michael’s Academy, a prestigious East Coast boarding school. Georgie suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome and early onset schizophrenia, which makes his journey all the more poignant.

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2
Jul

Room of Books: Lover in the Nobody

A young man battling extreme mental illness brings his sadomasochistic fantasies to life in Harnisch's (Sex, Drugs, and Schizophrenia, 2014, etc.) latest novel. As this riveting story opens, Georgie Gust, a suicidal Tourette's syndrome patient, tells his doctor he wants to leave the mental institution where he's been committed. When the doctor puts him off, Gust finds himself buffeted by violent fantasies of escape, and he even prepares to hang himself. The novel plunges readers into the mind of a man at war with his own urges, memories, and sexual obsessions. After a scene shift, Gust's chauffeur, Ben, delivers him to his empty home, where Margaret, his only friend, visits to check on him. However, she annoys him because "she seems to care." Later, Gust, a foot fetishist, gives a pedicure to his sexy neighbor, Claudia, in a scene lit with unexpected poetry and poignancy. As the narrative viewpoint flickers among Gust, Ben, and a quasi-omniscient third-person perspective, Gust's voracious appetite for pain prompts him to hire Claudia to torment him. (He has wealthy parents, so he spends cash liberally.) When Claudia's house goes up in flames, she moves in with him, and their sadomasochistic bond descends into extraordinary, hallucinatory violence. In Claudia's hands, Gust discovers new depths of masochism, and she finds joy in tormenting him. Despite the garishness, brutality, and squalor of many passages (which are not for the squeamish), more sophisticated readers will appreciate the extraordinary feat Harnisch has accomplished. He lucidly, poignantly conveys a mind riven with what are, after all, human vulnerabilities: mental pathologies, shameful fantasies, anguished doubts about the natures of reality, love, and memory. In the hands of a lesser writer, these themes would splinter the narrative. Fortunately, the author masters his material; readers will believe the voices that vivify it and compassionately wish them to find the healing that eludes them. An extraordinary, harrowing odyssey into an embattled self, full of humor, compassion, and a rare understanding of mental illness.

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22
Jun

Fragmentation [Audiovisual Book] by Jonathan Harnisch

Jonathan Harnisch’s postmodern literature relies on narrative techniques such as fragmentation, paradox, and the unreliable narrator. In Fragmentation, Harnisch has outdone himself, for good or ill, with the strangest, saddest, most confusing, and unedited, schizophrenic, psychosexual stream-of-thought narrative imaginable, a work suffused with almost evangelical zeal in the service of disillusion. Author, Jonathan Harnisch has written the bestselling and award-winning novels, Lover in the Nobody, Living Colorful Beauty and When We Were Invincible. He is also a noted controversial mental health advocate, and fine artist, blogger, podcast host, patent holder, hedge fund manager, musician, and film and TV writer and producer.

Watch Now:
22
Jun

Fragmentation [Audiobook] by Jonathan Harnisch

Jonathan Harnisch’s postmodern literature relies on narrative techniques such as fragmentation, paradox, and the unreliable narrator. In Fragmentation, Harnisch has outdone himself, for good or ill, with the strangest, saddest, most confusing, and unedited, schizophrenic, psychosexual stream-of-thought narrative imaginable, a work suffused with almost evangelical zeal in the service of disillusion. Author, Jonathan Harnisch has written the bestselling and award-winning novels, Lover in the Nobody, Living Colorful Beauty and When We Were Invincible. He is also a noted controversial mental health advocate, and fine artist, blogger, podcast host, patent holder, hedge fund manager, musician, and film and TV writer and producer.

00:0000:00
16
Jun

The Finale of Sex Drugs and Schizophrenia by Jonathan Harnisch in High-Definition

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.

Envision a blend of a mentally ill mind with unsurpassed resiliency and fiery intellect and your result would be the brilliant Jonathan Harnisch. An all-around artist, Jonathan writes fiction and screenplays, sketches, imagines, and creates. Produced filmmaker, fine artist, musician, and published erotica author, Jonathan holds myriad accolades, and his works captivate the attention of those who experience it. Manic-toned scripts with parallel lives, masochistic tendencies in sexual escapades, and disturbing clarities embellished with addiction, fetish, lust, and love, are just a taste of themes found in Jonathan's transgressive literature. Conversely, his award-winning films capture the ironies of life, love, self-acceptance, tragedy and fantasy. Jonathan's art evokes laughter and shock, elation and sadness, but overall forces you to step back and question your own version of reality. Scripts, screenplays, and schizophrenia are defining factors of Jonathan's life and reality - but surface labels are often incomplete. Jonathan is diagnosed with several mental illnesses from schizoaffective disorder to Tourette's syndrome; playfully, he dubs himself the "King of Mental Illness." Despite daily symptomatic struggles and thoughts, Jonathan radiates an authentic, effervescent, and loving spirit. His resiliency emanates from the greatest lesson he's learned: laughter. His diagnoses and life experiences encourage him to laugh at reality as others see it. Wildly eccentric, open-minded, passionate and driven, Jonathan has a feral imagination. His inherent traits transpose to his art, making his works some of the most original and thought-provoking of modern day. Jonathan Harnisch's struggles with his mental health conditions are interlinked with the incomprehension of non-sufferers, which provokes him to explain his reality. He has explored a range of media, including film, music, and now the written word, to help the general public understand exactly what it feels like to suffer from schizophrenia. By fictionalizing the day-to-day meetings of multiple personalities, he is illuminating a corner of psychiatry that few understand. As an author with schizophrenia, Jonathan Harnisch is ideally placed to share the unusual perception commonly defined as 'mental illness'. Harnisch is not dealing with an altered reality, but a double reality. His main characters, Ben Schreiber and Georgie Gust, perfectly illustrate how two lives can share the same body.
Watch Now:
12
Jun

The Day I Decided to Take Charge of My Life

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. Although schizophrenia is not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms can be very disabling.

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4
Jun

Porcelain Utopia [Audiobook]

Ben Schreiber suffers from a range of physical and psychiatric disorders, ranging from Tourette's syndrome to narcissism, borderline personality, and schizoaffective disorder. He is hospitalized after a drug-crazed attempt at a bank robbery and is now under the care of Dr C, a female psychiatrist. Ben has little faith that psychiatric medicine will help him rid his mind of the delusions and hallucinations that his disorder presents, as it has done little for him thus far. He also knows that Dr C will not be treating him alone: He must introduce her to the cast of characters that share his brain, including Ben's alter ego, Georgie Gust. Ben/Georgie are not classic "split" personalities: Georgie is a hallucination that springs from Ben's disease and physically shares Ben's life, making his symptoms even worse. Dr. C begins to suspect that Ben draws upon Georgie to help him avoid the bad memories that he has suppressed for his entire life and that underlie his post-traumatic stress and anxiety. She must try to get Ben to explore his relationship with Georgie, and the sexual fetishes that are triggered by Claudia Nesbitt, Georgie's highly sexual and manipulative girlfriend, so that Ben can become once again the loving person he once was. She encourages Ben to talk about Georgie and Claudia in their sessions, and more importantly, to write about them as therapy. Ben discovers that writing gives him increasing freedom from the obsessive invasion of his thoughts by Georgie and Claudia and from his dreadful past memories that Dr C slowly uncovers. He begins to hope that converting Georgie to a literary character in the pages of an autobiographical novel will slowly remove him, along with Claudia, from Ben's mind forever.

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2
Jun

The Finale of Sex, Drugs, and Schizophrenia by Jonathan Harnisch

"Let's get the facts straight up front, to avoid any confusion later," the author states at the start of this wild, candid book. "I am a person first, a human being, just like anyone else. Maybe a little different, that's all." That difference is a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and this extensive work explores the realities of mental illness through a whirlwind of fictional, narrative pieces and personal reflections. Along the way, it takes readers to places of depravity and confusion. Its characters include Ben Schreiber, a precocious but mentally ill youngster in Armani jeans, who explains his troubled life to the ever-calm Dr. C, after trying to rob a bank with a cellphone. Schreiber discusses his alter ego, Georgie Gust, a masochist and foot-fetishist, who's wealthy enough to pay his neighbor Claudia to torture him; indeed, he seems capable of enduring any type of humiliation, so long as it doesn't involve actually working. The first-person narrator regularly interrupts the proceedings to offer generally off-topic details: "(Parenthetical Pet Peeve) Commercials for unappetizing products shown at meal times...feminine hygiene products, jock itch, yeast infections, etc." The scattered narrative uses diverse literary mechanisms, to say the least, mixing elements such as journal entries, a screenplay, a straightforward melodrama involving a Tourette's sufferer at a private school, occasional celebrity name-dropping ("I met Joanna Cassidy, Dick Van Dyke, Robert Downey Jr, Mel Gibson, and others"), and a dapper figure named John Marshal, who, when asked his opinion of a party, responds, "I'd scarcely be a good judge of that.... My life is taken up with writing." Making sense of it all in any traditional way, it would seem, isn't really the point. From horrific scenes of child abuse ("She did. She raped me. My grandmother") to glimpses of triumph ("I can start taking control of my life"), this long book's many scenes of anguish and hope are difficult to take in, by any estimation. Whether readers will find the difficulty worthwhile depends largely on their tolerance for twisted tales. 

00:0000:00
26
May

It’s All in a Day’s Work from Lover in the Nobody by Jonathan Harnisch

A young man battling extreme mental illness brings his sadomasochistic fantasies to life in Harnisch's (Sex, Drugs, and Schizophrenia, 2014, etc.) latest novel. As this riveting story opens, Georgie Gust, a suicidal Tourette's syndrome patient, tells his doctor he wants to leave the mental institution where he's been committed. When the doctor puts him off, Gust finds himself buffeted by violent fantasies of escape, and he even prepares to hang himself. The novel plunges readers into the mind of a man at war with his own urges, memories, and sexual obsessions. After a scene shift, Gust's chauffeur, Ben, delivers him to his empty home, where Margaret, his only friend, visits to check on him. However, she annoys him because "she seems to care." Later, Gust, a foot fetishist, gives a pedicure to his sexy neighbor, Claudia, in a scene lit with unexpected poetry and poignancy. As the narrative viewpoint flickers among Gust, Ben, and a quasi-omniscient third-person perspective, Gust's voracious appetite for pain prompts him to hire Claudia to torment him. (He has wealthy parents, so he spends cash liberally.) When Claudia's house goes up in flames, she moves in with him, and their sadomasochistic bond descends into extraordinary, hallucinatory violence. In Claudia's hands, Gust discovers new depths of masochism, and she finds joy in tormenting him. Despite the garishness, brutality, and squalor of many passages (which are not for the squeamish), more sophisticated readers will appreciate the extraordinary feat Harnisch has accomplished. He lucidly, poignantly conveys a mind riven with what are, after all, human vulnerabilities: mental pathologies, shameful fantasies, anguished doubts about the natures of reality, love, and memory. In the hands of a lesser writer, these themes would splinter the narrative. Fortunately, the author masters his material; readers will believe the voices that vivify it and compassionately wish them to find the healing that eludes them. An extraordinary, harrowing odyssey into an embattled self, full of humor, compassion, and a rare understanding of mental illness.

00:0000:00
25
May

Chance Encounter (High-Definition)

I completed Chance Encounter while undergoing a dark, deep experience with depression, existential despair and with new tears for old grief. So many people appreciate this film’s inherent beauty. I thank you, all, to God, and to all my fans, friends, and family for playing such a unique role in these short experimental pieces, although perhaps without knowing it. The holiday seasons often bring along a deep sense of nostalgia for good times long gone, from lost film footage in the archives here at the production office to experimenting into the depth of new ground, and new artistic expression with my goal of finding and redefining myself, through my art. A new original soundtrack for these films originally shot on both Super 8 film stock and Hi-8 video, will be developed and inspired by the final cut of The Morning After, Chance Encounter, and Emptying His Pockets. All three films on loss, love, and life will enhance with a revised original score, or soundtrack, over the coming months. Please leave comments, if you would. The responses to all the live cuts of these pieces have inspired me to bring The Morning After, which I recommend if you enjoy Chance Encounter, to the film festival circuit. It has been years since I retired from Hollywood film and TV work. It might, however, be time to see what I can do to reconnect with an audience in the world beyond online, once again, in some way, and if not we’ve always had the Internet, after all. Professional financing and marketing, etc., will often cause me a great deal of unwanted stress, which I prefer with not to do. I suffer from rare and comorbid mental health diagnoses, namely those within the schizophrenic and autistic spectrum. My mental illnesses have blessed me over the years with many creative gifts. So, with immense gratitude, I thank you, my muse, my wife, my students, and my family and friends without hesitation. Onward bound, as always.
—Jonathan Harnisch, Harnisch Productions, LLC​
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24
May

The Morning After (High-Definition)

I completed The Morning After in December 2014 while undergoing a dark, deep experience with depression, existential despair and with new tears for old grief. I am glad to see so many people have appreciated my movies’ inherent beauty, especially this one, which has such a profoundly personal meaning. I thank you, all, for God, and to all my fans, friends, and family for playing such a unique role in the short experimental pieces within this short film series of sorts; this being said, perhaps without others knowing how many have inspired my art. The holiday seasons often bring me to a deep sense of nostalgia for good times long gone, from lost film footage in the archives, including a great deal of footage I shot during my days as a student of film and TV production at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU in the mid 1990s and also movies kept here at the production office. I believe I have experimented into the depth of new ground, and renewed visual voice of artistic expression keeping my goal intact, to find and redefine myself, through the arts. A new original soundtrack for these films originally shot on both Super 8 film stock and Hi-8 video, will be developed and inspired by the final cut of The Morning After, Chance Encounter, and Emptying His Pockets. All three films in this series focus on my often recurring themes of loss, love, and life and may be recreated with a revised original score, or soundtrack, in time. Please leave comments, if you would. The responses for all the working cuts of these short pieces have inspired me to bring The Morning After to the independent film festival circuit. It has been years since retiring from Hollywood cinema and professional TV work. It might, however, be time to see what I can do to reconnect with an audience in the world beyond the Internet, once again, in some way, and if not, I don’t think the Internet is going anywhere anytime soon. Professional financing and marketing, etc., will often cause me a great deal of unwanted stress, which I prefer to do without. I suffer from rare and comorbid mental health diagnoses, namely those within the schizophrenia and autistic spectra. My mental illnesses have blessed me over the years with many creative gifts. So, with immense gratitude, I thank you, my muse, wife, and my family and friends without hesitation. Onward bound, as always.

Watch Now:
24
May

The Big Flush (High-Definition)

In a public restroom, the camera pans the closed doors of 4 stalls; the first has an "out of order" sign on it. We hear a gaseous noise, and one by one, three musicians (a guitar player, a bass player, and a trumpet player all wearing tuxedos) flush the toilets and come out of the stalls revealing their musical instruments. Finally, the last to be disclosed is an old lady, Pat (from the "out of order" stall). She goes to wash her hands and is shocked to find in the mirror that behind her, the three musicians, wondering where all the noise came from-- herself or the musicians.

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24
May

The Sitter (High-Definition)

What lengths will a couple go to just for a night out?

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24
May

Ten Years (High-Definition)

After ten years of separation, former prep school sweethearts meet coincidentally and discuss their hopes and dreams together in Long Island, New York. They spend the night together but move in their separate ways by the morning as they struggle with inner conflicts.

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24
May

Wax (High-Definition)

George wanders into a wax museum on the exhibit's last day. The museum comes alive. The mood turns steamy as different fantasies come into play. A sobering sense of the inevitable begins to emerge. He's getting married, but to whom?

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24
May

On the Bus (High-Definition)

Larry, alone and disheveled, walks the streets then boards a city bus, where he proceeds to disturb the passengers with his erratic behavior and verbal outbursts. Disturbing the passengers doesn’t really concern Larry, as one-by-one they each disappear, and Larry finds himself off the bus and in the office of a psychologist, who pushes for information, asking again and again if anything “out of the ordinary” happened on the bus. But for Larry, everything -- on the bus and off -- is completely “out of the ordinary,” and he can’t answer. He can only remember. What he had. What he lost. What he'll never have again. And so he will walk the streets, ride the bus, bother the passengers. Grieving for eternity.

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10
May

The Dreamer Sleeps Without Dreaming, Part Two of Two [Audiobook] Podcast

Everything is more complicated than you think. You only see a tenth of what is true. There are a million little strings attached to every choice you make; you can destroy your life every time you choose. But maybe you won't know for thirty years. And you may never ever trace it to its source. And you only get one chance to play it out. Just try and figure out your own divorce. And they say there is no fate, but there is: it's what you create. And even though the world goes on for eons and eons, you are only here for a fraction of a fraction of a second. Most of your time is spent being dead or not yet born. But while alive, you wait in vain, wasting years, for a phone call or a letter or a look from someone or something to make it all right. And it never comes, or it seems to, but it doesn't really. And so you spend your time in vague regret or vaguer hope that something good will come along. Something to make you feel connected, something to make you feel whole, something to make you feel loved. And the truth is I feel so angry, and the truth is I feel so sad, and the truth is I've felt so hurt for so long and for just as long I've been pretending I'm OK, just to get along, just for, I don't know why, maybe because no one wants to hear about my misery, because they have their own. Noted severely self-loathing and seriously mentally ill author Jonathan Harnisch loses his mind once again through the written word offering his fifteenth literary disaster. The experience of reading this novel, The Dreamer Sleeps Without Dreaming, is similar in its nature to an eerie sensation of savoir-faire as one observes a dog having a bowel movement. For those who've adored Harnisch's epic novels, from Pastiche to his other fourteen literary works, this example of anti-art deserves nothing short of scathing criticism.

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10
May

The Dreamer Sleeps Without Dreaming, Part One of Two [Audiobook] Podcast

Everything is more complicated than you think. You only see a tenth of what is true. There are a million little strings attached to every choice you make; you can destroy your life every time you choose. But maybe you won't know for thirty years. And you may never ever trace it to its source. And you only get one chance to play it out. Just try and figure out your own divorce. And they say there is no fate, but there is: it's what you create. And even though the world goes on for eons and eons, you are only here for a fraction of a fraction of a second. Most of your time is spent being dead or not yet born. But while alive, you wait in vain, wasting years, for a phone call or a letter or a look from someone or something to make it all right. And it never comes, or it seems to, but it doesn't really. And so you spend your time in vague regret or vaguer hope that something good will come along. Something to make you feel connected, something to make you feel whole, something to make you feel loved. And the truth is I feel so angry, and the truth is I feel so sad, and the truth is I've felt so hurt for so long and for just as long I've been pretending I'm OK, just to get along, just for, I don't know why, maybe because no one wants to hear about my misery, because they have their own. Noted severely self-loathing and seriously mentally ill author Jonathan Harnisch loses his mind once again through the written word offering his fifteenth literary disaster. The experience of reading this novel, The Dreamer Sleeps Without Dreaming, is similar in its nature to an eerie sensation of savoir-faire as one observes a dog having a bowel movement. For those who've adored Harnisch's epic novels, from Pastiche to his other fourteen literary works, this example of anti-art deserves nothing short of scathing criticism.

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5
May

Pastiche, Part Four of Four [Audiobook] Podcast

"Be a doer and not a critic," Tony Blair once said. Pastiche, it is, in response to the heavily criticized and controversial author Jonathan Harnisch's (Porcelain Utopia, 2016, etc.) work and life. He offers this colossal work of erotic literary art that mixes styles, materials, etc., wildly varied in style and content. "I am a troubled man," the author confesses, "with feelings. I am not good, but I know how to be good. I burn bridges and build better ones. I can’t make my mind up because my mental landscape is full of wondrous things! I can love, and I am learning to be in love with myself. I don't know how to trust, but I trust I am alive. I make more mistakes than I should so I am continually learning. I am always sorry, and I always forgive myself. I never change and yet I feel changes. I am afraid of letting anyone else in my life too close and yet I find I'm not running away because I am curious. The door to my life is open because I am genuine and authentic and real. People will come and go, and I am blessed that I have known them. The door is too big for it to be blocked by anything that wants to flow free, and the current of life that goes through it pulls with it all its uncertainty." Pastiche is one of the most disconnected, confused intentionally unedited literary masterpieces of independent writer Harnisch's untamed career, exploring its readers to the flighty, turbulent and often disturbing schizophrenic thought patterns, which the disorder presents. The author also struggles with schizophrenia. “I don't think writing is therapeutic. It's real hard for me. It's not an enjoyable process,” Harnisch admits.
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4
May

Pastiche, Part Three of Four [Audiobook] Podcast

"Be a doer and not a critic," Tony Blair once said. Pastiche, it is, in response to the heavily criticized and controversial author Jonathan Harnisch's (Porcelain Utopia, 2016, etc.) work and life. He offers this colossal work of erotic literary art that mixes styles, materials, etc., wildly varied in style and content. "I am a troubled man," the author confesses, "with feelings. I am not good, but I know how to be good. I burn bridges and build better ones. I can’t make my mind up because my mental landscape is full of wondrous things! I can love, and I am learning to be in love with myself. I don't know how to trust, but I trust I am alive. I make more mistakes than I should so I am continually learning. I am always sorry, and I always forgive myself. I never change and yet I feel changes. I am afraid of letting anyone else in my life too close and yet I find I'm not running away because I am curious. The door to my life is open because I am genuine and authentic and real. People will come and go, and I am blessed that I have known them. The door is too big for it to be blocked by anything that wants to flow free, and the current of life that goes through it pulls with it all its uncertainty." Pastiche is one of the most disconnected, confused intentionally unedited literary masterpieces of independent writer Harnisch's untamed career, exploring its readers to the flighty, turbulent and often disturbing schizophrenic thought patterns, which the disorder presents. The author also struggles with schizophrenia. “I don't think writing is therapeutic. It's real hard for me. It's not an enjoyable process,” Harnisch admits.
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4
May

Pastiche, Part Two of Four [Audiobook] Podcast

"Be a doer and not a critic," Tony Blair once said. Pastiche, it is, in response to the heavily criticized and controversial author Jonathan Harnisch's (Porcelain Utopia, 2016, etc.) work and life. He offers this colossal work of erotic literary art that mixes styles, materials, etc., wildly varied in style and content. "I am a troubled man," the author confesses, "with feelings. I am not good, but I know how to be good. I burn bridges and build better ones. I can’t make my mind up because my mental landscape is full of wondrous things! I can love, and I am learning to be in love with myself. I don't know how to trust, but I trust I am alive. I make more mistakes than I should so I am continually learning. I am always sorry, and I always forgive myself. I never change and yet I feel changes. I am afraid of letting anyone else in my life too close and yet I find I'm not running away because I am curious. The door to my life is open because I am genuine and authentic and real. People will come and go, and I am blessed that I have known them. The door is too big for it to be blocked by anything that wants to flow free, and the current of life that goes through it pulls with it all its uncertainty." Pastiche is one of the most disconnected, confused intentionally unedited literary masterpieces of independent writer Harnisch's untamed career, exploring its readers to the flighty, turbulent and often disturbing schizophrenic thought patterns, which the disorder presents. The author also struggles with schizophrenia. “I don't think writing is therapeutic. It's real hard for me. It's not an enjoyable process,” Harnisch admits.

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4
May

Pastiche, Part One of Four [Audiobook] Podcast

"Be a doer and not a critic," Tony Blair once said. Pastiche, it is, in response to the heavily criticized and controversial author Jonathan Harnisch's (Porcelain Utopia, 2016, etc.) work and life. He offers this colossal work of erotic literary art that mixes styles, materials, etc., wildly varied in style and content. "I am a troubled man," the author confesses, "with feelings. I am not good, but I know how to be good. I burn bridges and build better ones. I can’t make my mind up because my mental landscape is full of wondrous things! I can love, and I am learning to be in love with myself. I don't know how to trust, but I trust I am alive. I make more mistakes than I should so I am continually learning. I am always sorry, and I always forgive myself. I never change and yet I feel changes. I am afraid of letting anyone else in my life too close and yet I find I'm not running away because I am curious. The door to my life is open because I am genuine and authentic and real. People will come and go, and I am blessed that I have known them. The door is too big for it to be blocked by anything that wants to flow free, and the current of life that goes through it pulls with it all its uncertainty." Pastiche is one of the most disconnected, confused intentionally unedited literary masterpieces of independent writer Harnisch's untamed career, exploring its readers to the flighty, turbulent and often disturbing schizophrenic thought patterns, which the disorder presents. The author also struggles with schizophrenia. “I don't think writing is therapeutic. It's real hard for me. It's not an enjoyable process,” Harnisch admits.
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30
Apr

Lover in the Nobody [Audiobook]

A young man battling extreme mental illness brings his sadomasochistic fantasies to life in Harnisch's (Sex, Drugs, and Schizophrenia, 2014, etc.) latest novel. As this riveting story opens, Georgie Gust, a suicidal Tourette's syndrome patient, tells his doctor he wants to leave the mental institution where he's been committed. When the doctor puts him off, Gust finds himself buffeted by violent fantasies of escape, and he even prepares to hang himself. The novel plunges readers into the mind of a man at war with his own urges, memories, and sexual obsessions. After a scene shift, Gust's chauffeur, Ben, delivers him to his empty home, where Margaret, his only friend, visits to check on him. However, she annoys him because "she seems to care." Later, Gust, a foot fetishist, gives a pedicure to his sexy neighbor, Claudia, in a scene lit with unexpected poetry and poignancy. As the narrative viewpoint flickers among Gust, Ben, and a quasi-omniscient third-person perspective, Gust's voracious appetite for pain prompts him to hire Claudia to torment him. (He has wealthy parents, so he spends cash liberally.) When Claudia's house goes up in flames, she moves in with him, and their sadomasochistic bond descends into extraordinary, hallucinatory violence. In Claudia's hands, Gust discovers new depths of masochism, and she finds joy in tormenting him. Despite the garishness, brutality, and squalor of many passages (which are not for the squeamish), more sophisticated readers will appreciate the extraordinary feat Harnisch has accomplished. He lucidly, poignantly conveys a mind riven with what are, after all, human vulnerabilities: mental pathologies, shameful fantasies, anguished doubts about the natures of reality, love, and memory. In the hands of a lesser writer, these themes would splinter the narrative. Fortunately, the author masters his material; readers will believe the voices that vivify it and compassionately wish them to find the healing that eludes them. An extraordinary, harrowing odyssey into an embattled self, full of humor, compassion, and a rare understanding of mental illness.

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30
Apr

Living Colorful Beauty [Audiobook]

Living Colorful Beauty is a twisted, intensely character-driven ride. In Living Colorful Beauty, author Jonathan Harnisch tells the story of Ben, a man diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome, schizoaffective disorder, and several other issues. Ever since his youth, Ben has been both plagued by mental illness and obsessed with venality. As he navigates through an unstable, directionless life and leaves a string of shattered romances in his wake, he generates a fictional character, Georgie Gust, to deal with his many paraphilias and neuroses. But with the introduction of a new psychotherapist, Ben may have a chance to let go of his doppelgänger as well as his overwhelming insecurity. Though the book is saturated with Ben's sexuality, its prevailing theme is actually his struggle to come to terms with his mental health. The entire book reads like a Freudian therapy session, so the ultimate resolution of Ben's problems is appropriate. Ben's internal creative process is integral to the book's effectiveness, since much of the psychoanalysis Ben receives seems to come from himself through the lens of his fictional creation, Georgie. The book features an almost claustrophobic amount of navel-gazing, which may be intentional. At times, the reading experience leaves no doubt as to how the book's main character could drive himself crazy with his recursive, obsessive self-examination. Ben and Georgie have an interesting and nuanced relationship. At times Ben seems completely unable to control his double while simultaneously being one with him. He often reassures himself that his creation is the inferior man, citing Georgie's pumpkin-like body as the reason that nobody will ever want him. On the other hand, of the two of them, Georgie seems to have the more active love life. Ben reaches for emotional intimacy through relationship after relationship, but his illness, issues with women, and physical demands--the Georgie in him--constantly hamper his progress. As the narrator, Ben's point of view colors all of the other characters. Several of these, in addition to Georgie, are or may be fictional, mere expressions of Ben's illness. This is especially true of the women in Ben's life. There are comparatively very few men in this story, but the women are usually of a seductive and even predatory type. Ben aggressively sizes up the ladies he knows, from his girlfriends to his therapist, in terms of their attractiveness, perhaps in an attempt to balance the scales, since in his own perception, women are domineering copies of his own terrifying mother. Part of Ben's evolution is to move toward a valuing of women beyond his mother issues, a satisfying direction for this character to travel. Living Colorful Beauty is a twisted, intensely character-driven ride that ends on a hopeful note. It may interest fans of Charles Bukowski and Tom Robbins.

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30
Apr

When We Were Invincible [Audiobook]

A boarding school student with Tourette's syndrome looks for the meaning of life in this offbeat novella. This is recommended to fans of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. When We Were Invincible details the experiences of Georgie Gust at the fictional St. Michael's Academy, a prestigious East Coast boarding school. In the vein of Catcher in the Rye, the novella focuses on Georgie's sense of isolation and feelings of otherness as he navigates his world while suffering from Tourette's Syndrome and early onset schizophrenia. Although the two disorders set Georgie apart from the rest of his classmates, they do not deter Claudia from pursuing a relationship with him. Seeing Georgie as more than a series of tics, Claudia recognizes him for the unconventional intellectual that he is, and together they explore a number of theological and philosophical questions that defy neat and simple answers. Nevertheless, Georgie and Claudia's encounters, whether they take place wandering illicitly off campus at night, through letters and emails, or simply in the hallways and classrooms of their school, have the power to change them both forever.

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9
Apr

Lover in the Nobody [Leprechaun Podcast]

A young man battling extreme mental illness brings his sadomasochistic fantasies to life in Harnisch's (Sex, Drugs, and Schizophrenia, 2014, etc.) latest novel....The novel plunges readers into the mind of a man at war with its own urges, memories, and sexual obsessions... Despite the garishness, brutality, and squalor of many passages ... sophisticated readers will appreciate the extraordinary feat Harnisch has accomplished.... An extraordinary, harrowing odyssey into an embattled self, full of humor, compassion, and a rare understanding of mental illness. -Kirkus Reviews 

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9
Apr

Living Colorful Beauty [Leprechaun Podcast]

At the opening of Living Colorful Beauty, the reader is presented with two protagonists. There’s Ben, the narrator of the preface, who relates the story of the awful sex education classes he sat through in middle school and of his subsequent discovery of his father’s collection of pornography; and then there’s Georgie, a sexual submissive with a foot fetish, who is obsessed with his beautiful and manipulative next-door neighbor Claudia. As the story progresses, however, it becomes clear that Georgie and Ben share a single three-dimensional body. Georgie is a character in a novel Ben is writing, and Ben maintains that Georgie is in fact no more than a literary device. However, it is clear almost immediately that this is not the case. Throughout his life, Ben has received a number of psychiatric diagnoses, ranging from Tourette’s Syndrome to borderline personality disorder to schizoaffective disorder, and he displays some traits of all of these. Yet amid all these diagnoses, the one thing that seems to have slipped under the radar thus far is his tendency towards emotional dissociation, which is closely related to post-traumatic stress syndrome. It is this dissociative tendency that has led Ben to create Georgie, a safe repository for the emotions and desires – primarily sexual – that Ben himself is unable to process. Initially, therefore, the life of Ben and Georgie is fairly well ordered. It is clear from the start that Ben has issues relating to women: his romantic life has been a string of broken relationships and missed opportunities, and though he needs love desperately he finds himself overcome by fear around women. Whenever this issue arises, Ben retreats into Georgie’s relationship with Claudia. Claudia is compelling, manipulative, emotionally abusive, and tremendously sensual. She controls Georgie completely, only allowing him sex at certain times, alternately telling him she loves him and that she couldn’t care less about him, telling him she won’t sleep with him and then inviting him to watch her sleep with other men and other women. Yet Georgie is inextricably drawn to her, accepting all of the emotional pain that comes with his relationship with her as long as he can continue to hope that she may sleep with him again. The sex they share is gritty and fetish-laden, with strong overtones of sadomasochism and violence, and their relationship itself is sustained entirely by Georgie’s obsession. Yet he is unable to let Claudia go. Similarly, Ben claims that Georgie’s relationship with Claudia is based on his own relationship with Heidi – yet as the story progresses, we learn that Heidi is a lesbian whom Ben met once some months ago when she was in town for a conference, and that after one night, she left town and Ben had never heard from her again. In Ben’s relationship with Heidi, mirrored in his imagining of Georgie’s relationship with Claudia, it is clear that his interest is not in Heidi but rather in the image of Heidi, which, in the absence of the real Heidi, Ben can mold into whatever he needs her to be. Heidi is the locus of Ben’s obsession, as Claudia is the locus of Georgie’s; however, the root of these obsessive tendencies lies somewhere else entirely.
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9
Apr

When We Were Invincible [Leprechaun Podcast]

A boarding school student with Tourette's syndrome looks for the meaning of life in this offbeat novella. This is recommended to fans of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. When We Were Invincible details the experiences of Georgie Gust at the fictional St. Michael’s Academy, a prestigious East Coast boarding school. In the vein of Catcher in the Rye, the novella focuses on Georgie’s sense of isolation and feelings of otherness as he navigates his world while suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome and early onset schizophrenia. Although the two disorders set Georgie apart from the rest of his classmates, they do not deter Claudia from pursuing a relationship with him. Seeing Georgie as more than a series of tics, Claudia recognizes him for the unconventional intellectual that he is, and together they explore a number of theological and philosophical questions that defy neat and simple answers. Nevertheless, Georgie and Claudia’s encounters, whether they take place wandering illicitly off campus at night, through letters and emails, or simply in the hallways and classrooms of their school, have the power to change them both forever.
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22
Feb

Freak by Jonathan Harnisch

Ben Schreiber knew Wakefield Academy would be a disaster before he even arrived. It would be the same as his last school--the taunting, the judgment, the panic at being an all-too-obvious schizophrenic in a crowd of teenage brats hungry for a target. His fears are confirmed the moment he steps out of his parent's rusty car to the mocking sneers of his posh classmates. So what does Ben do? He retreats into himself, allowing the second being within his body to rise to consciousness--Georgie Gust, an angry, resentful, Tourette's-ridden personality, suspicious of everyone and trusting of none. Georgie navigates Wakefield campus within the smog of self-hate. He hates how his body twitches and his words betray him, hates how his odd walk brings cruel laughter, hates the stares that follow him when he tries to disappear. Georgie quickly attracts a crowd of tormenters lead by a cocky lacrosse player, Ozer. It's Claudia, however--Ozer's beautiful and troubled girlfriend--who captures Georgie's attention. Claudia alone does not join in with her friends' jeers, choosing instead to come to Georgie in friendship, her own demons lurking just beneath skin's surface. Though Georgie fights to believe no one can ever understand him, Claudia does. She is there when he drinks himself into a stupor every night and shows up for class hungover; she is there when he is harassed and beaten by their peers; she is there when his academic brilliance begins to gleam, nurtured by the support of the philosophy professor, Heidi. It is for fear of hurting Claudia that Georgie begins to care for himself; he stops drinking, throws out his cigarettes, and devotes himself to the pursuit of a prestigious scholarship. But nothing is ever so easy. As Georgie begins to heal beneath Claudia's warmth, he fails to see her own troubles. For how could someone so beautiful, smart, and well-liked know what suffering is? Surely, her problems run only so deep as her cheating boyfriend and exam stress. It is Heidi, the philosophy professor, who calls Georgie out on his selfishness. On the edge of a cliff, Heidi accuses Georgie of choosing hatred and isolation, of rejecting the love of others because hate is easier than accountability. Georgie both wants to be loved and desperately fears it. Georgie's defenses, while justified, are selfish ones, and they lead him to miss the warning signs in the one person he loves. One morning Claudia is gone, and it is Georgie who finds her broken body twisted in a tree on that same cliff where Heidi scolded him. So selfishly had he thought he was the only one with illness; she had understood him better than he ever knew. Claudia's death both destroys and saves him. It is for her that Georgie chooses to use his illness rather than hate it; for her, that he laughs at his absurdities instead of fall victim to them; for her that he opens his life and ultimately wins the scholarship. In the end, it is what Georgie thought impossible that leads him out of the darkness: acceptance. If only he'd recognized it before she chose to die.
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22
Feb

When We Were Invincible by Jonathan Harnisch

Author Jonathan Harnisch often writes about alter egos who live with the same mental disorders that he does, including schizophrenia and Tourette's syndrome. The protagonist of this coming- of-age novel is Georgie Gust, a character who has appeared in the author's previous novels as a sexual fetishist and even another character's alter ego. For readers who may have explored other Harnisch novels, it's best to think of Georgie as the blank canvas on which the author hangs his tales and not try to unify Georgie's mythology. Here, Georgie appears as an angry young man in the mold of Salinger's Holden Caulfield. He's been banished by his alcoholic mother to a boarding school in Connecticut and we meet him during a suicidal episode in a graveyard. Georgie experiences his mental illness as a literal monkey on his back; he is also dangerously self-medicating. The prose is as electrifying as it is terrifying. "Out of the wild jungle one day, rejoining me in full costume, the horn-headed monkey returns to its residence in me," Georgie says. "This time, it was going to try and kill me, the son- of-a-bitch." The majority of the novel concerns Georgie's relationship with classmate Claudia Nesbitt, and hijinks with his buddy "Fitzie." Georgie has thoughtful debates with his Catholic girlfriend about the nature of God and she encourages him to embrace his mental illness, even as his self- destructive nature threatens to destroy him. Much like the title character in Good Will Hunting, Georgie's redemption is somewhat expedient, but the character's voice is utterly compelling and Harnisch inhabits his troubled young hero with compassion and grace. A bittersweet postscript finds Georgie still struggling but determined to triumph: "The consciousness of life is higher than life, and the knowledge of happiness is higher than happiness," he notes. "And, that's what we have to fight against. I'll continue from now on to fight." The author's authenticity no doubt comes at great personal cost, but his writing is elevated by his personal experience. This story deserves an admiring audience.

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15
Feb

Lover in the Nobody by Jonathan Harnisch

Equal parts existential nihilism and fetishistic erotica, this darkly hypnotic novel--in which the lines between reality and delusion are hopelessly blurred--chronicles a mentally ill man's search for meaning in his life, or at least some kind of profound corporeal satisfaction.
Georgie Gust, who has Tourette's syndrome and may be schizophrenic, is also a hardcore masochist and foot fetishist and believes that finding the "everlasting orgasm" is what he needs to change his life. The son of independently wealthy parents, Gust has frequented kinky sex clubs for years without any real fulfillment. But when he becomes enamored with his next-door neighbor--a middle-aged paramedic named Claudia--he offers to pay her to be his torturer, his "personal trainer in pain."
But the fiery redhead takes her job a little too seriously and the humiliation quickly escalates to brutal, life-threatening assaults. His alluring dominatrix with the "perfect, long, skinny toes" is quickly transformed into a psychotic madwoman who is systematically destroying his life: "...that bitch, that whore, that woman I love and hate. She created a paradise and then set it aflame. She is my world and its end, my kinky sex goddess, my creepy-crawly nemesis."
The brilliance of this storyline--and it is brilliant--is in the author's use of the unreliable narrator. The novel begins with Gust in a psych ward after an apparent suicide attempt. As his story unfolds, the reader is introduced to Ben, who may be Gust's limo driver, a figment of his imagination, or an alter ego. The reader is never quite sure until the very end -- when a bombshell revelation turns the entire narrative upside down.
Lover in the Nobody is a poignant exploration into the world of mental illness that is simultaneously deeply disturbing and salaciously spellbinding. It is sure to resonate with readers long after the last page is turned.
-- BlueInk Review
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8
Feb

Porcelain Utopia by Jonathan Harnisch

BEN SCHREIBER suffers from a range of physical and psychiatric disorders, ranging from Tourette’s syndrome to narcissism, borderline personality, and schizoaffective disorder. He is hospitalized after a drug-crazed attempt at a bank robbery and is now under the care of Dr C, a female psychiatrist. Ben has little faith that psychiatric medicine will help him rid his mind of the delusions and hallucinations that his disorder presents, as it has done little for him thus far. He also knows that Dr C will not be treating him alone: He must introduce her to the cast of characters that share his brain, including Ben’s alter ego, GEORGIE GUST. Ben/Georgie are not classic “split” personalities: Georgie is a hallucination that springs from Ben’s disease and physically shares Ben’s life, making his symptoms even worse. Dr. C begins to suspect that Ben draws upon Georgie to help him avoid the bad memories that he has suppressed for his entire life and that underlie his post-traumatic stress and anxiety. She must try to get Ben to explore his relationship with Georgie, and the sexual fetishes that are triggered by CLAUDIA NESBITT, Georgie’s highly sexual and manipulative girlfriend, so that Ben can become once again the loving person he once was. She encourages Ben to talk about Georgie and Claudia in their sessions, and more importantly, to write about them as therapy. Ben discovers that writing gives him increasing freedom from the obsessive invasion of his thoughts by Georgie and Claudia and from his dreadful past memories that Dr C slowly uncovers. He begins to hope that converting Georgie to a literary character in the pages of an autobiographical novel will slowly remove him, along with Claudia, from Ben’s mind forever.

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4
Feb

Of Crime and Passion by Jonathan Harnisch

This is the story of John Marshall, an ambitious and troubled young man determined to climb to the top of New York high society while spreading chaos and misery in his wake. Raised in a household of drunken abuse, John has little hope of anything but a factory job. Then he has an intimate encounter with an enticing woman who gets everything she wants through seduction—and the experience changes John’s life. Stoking his hatred of the rich and powerful, he finds work in the homes of the wealthy as a private tutor, all the while seeking to win the love of their wives and daughters. The series of encounters that ensues builds to a storm of consequences as John strives for his envisioned future while racing to keep ahead of the past. Of Crime and Passion is a story of greed, lust, and the cost of getting ahead by any means.

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4
Feb

The Oxygen Tank by Jonathan Harnisch

Benjamin J. Schreiber has left rehab, but isn't out of the woods. His life, plagued by schizophrenic personalities and Tourette's, exists in series of maddening hallucinogenic episodes that combine his deepest insecurities with dark fantasies. In every one of these manic flashes, the same characters appear Georgie, the alter-ego living in Ben's body, and Claudia, the object of his twisted desires and destructive obsession. In his sickness, Ben writes to his psychiatrist, Dr. C., about these "schizophrenic blue-movie skits and sleazy hardcore porn-flicks", creating with his pen a disturbing window into the psychopathy that controls his every moment. The Oxygen Tank is a dark chronicle of one man's schizophrenia and obsession. In a way no other book on mental illness has done, it provides a direct tap into a disturbing reality (and lack thereof) that tangles love, obsession, hatred, desperation, fear, dominance, and the terrible need to be loved. 
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3
Feb

ALIBIOGRAPHY.COM

Envision a blend of a mentally ill mind with unsurpassed resiliency and fiery intellect and your result would be the brilliant Jonathan W. Harnisch. An all-around artist, Jonathan writes fiction and screenplays, sketches, imagines, and creates. His most recent artistic endeavor is developing music, a newly found passion with results already in the making. Produced filmmaker and published erotica author, Jonathan holds a myriad of accolades, and his works captivate the attention of those who experience them.
 
Manic-toned scripts with parallel lives, masochistic tendencies in sexual escapades, and disturbing clarities embellished with addiction, fetish, lust, and love are just a taste of what is to be found in Jonathan’s transgressive literature. In contrast, his award-winning films capture the ironies of life, love, self-acceptance, tragedy, and fantasy. Jonathan’s art evokes laughter and shock, elation and sadness, but above all it forces you to step back and question your own version of reality.
 
Scripts, screenplays, and schizophrenia are the defining factors of Jonathan’s life and reality—but surface labels are often incomplete. Jonathan is diagnosed with several mental illnesses, from schizoaffective disorder to Tourette’s syndrome; playfully, he dubs himself the “King of Mental Illness.” Despite daily symptomatic struggles and thoughts, Jonathan radiates an authentic, effervescent, and loving spirit. His resiliency emanates from the greatest lesson he’s learned: laughter. His diagnoses and life experiences encourage him to laugh at reality as others see it. Wildly eccentric, open-minded, passionate, and driven, Jonathan has a feral imagination. His inherent traits transpose to his art, making his works some of the most original and thought-provoking of the modern day.
 
Jonathan is an alumnus of Choate Rosemary Hall. Subsequently, he attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he studied film production and screenwriting under Gary Winick and David Irving. During his studies at NYU, he held internships under renowned producers Steven Haft and Ismael Merchant. He is best known for his short films On the Bus and Wax, both of which boast countless awards, including five Indie Film Awards, three Accolade Awards, and Best Short Film and Audience Awards at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival, to name just a few.
 
Despite his impressive formal education and awarded honors, Jonathan is your normal, down-to-earth guy. Meditation, Duran Duran, vivid colors, Patrick Nagel prints, and rearranging furniture are some of his favorite things. Vices include cigarettes, Diet Coke, inappropriate swearing, and sausage and green chili pizza. He enjoys irony, planned spontaneity, redefining himself, and change. Jonathan lives with his beautiful wife, Maureen, on Fat Man Farms in the unique desert village of Corrales, New Mexico.



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Feb

Freak by Jonathan Harnisch

Ben Schreiber knew Wakefield Academy would be a disaster before he even arrived. It would be the same as his last school--the taunting, the judgment, the panic at being an all-too-obvious schizophrenic in a crowd of teenage brats hungry for a target. His fears are confirmed the moment he steps out of his parent's rusty car to the mocking sneers of his posh classmates. So what does Ben do? He retreats into himself, allowing the second being within his body to rise to consciousness--Georgie Gust, an angry, resentful, Tourette's-ridden personality, suspicious of everyone and trusting of none. Georgie navigates Wakefield campus within the smog of self-hate. He hates how his body twitches and his words betray him, hates how his odd walk brings cruel laughter, hates the stares that follow him when he tries to disappear. Georgie quickly attracts a crowd of tormenters lead by a cocky lacrosse player, Ozer. It's Claudia, however--Ozer's beautiful and troubled girlfriend--who captures Georgie's attention. Claudia alone does not join in with her friends' jeers, choosing instead to come to Georgie in friendship, her own demons lurking just beneath skin's surface. Though Georgie fights to believe no one can ever understand him, Claudia does. She is there when he drinks himself into a stupor every night and shows up for class hungover; she is there when he is harassed and beaten by their peers; she is there when his academic brilliance begins to gleam, nurtured by the support of the philosophy professor, Heidi. It is for fear of hurting Claudia that Georgie begins to care for himself; he stops drinking, throws out his cigarettes, and devotes himself to the pursuit of a prestigious scholarship. But nothing is ever so easy. As Georgie begins to heal beneath Claudia's warmth, he fails to see her own troubles. For how could someone so beautiful, smart, and well-liked know what suffering is? Surely, her problems run only so deep as her cheating boyfriend and exam stress. It is Heidi, the philosophy professor, who calls Georgie out on his selfishness. On the edge of a cliff, Heidi accuses Georgie of choosing hatred and isolation, of rejecting the love of others because hate is easier than accountability. Georgie both wants to be loved and desperately fears it. Georgie's defenses, while justified, are selfish ones, and they lead him to miss the warning signs in the one person he loves. One morning Claudia is gone, and it is Georgie who finds her broken body twisted in a tree on that same cliff where Heidi scolded him. So selfishly had he thought he was the only one with illness; she had understood him better than he ever knew. Claudia's death both destroys and saves him. It is for her that Georgie chooses to use his illness rather than hate it; for her, that he laughs at his absurdities instead of fall victim to them; for her that he opens his life and ultimately wins the scholarship. In the end, it is what Georgie thought impossible that leads him out of the darkness: acceptance. If only he'd recognized it before she chose to die.

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19
Jan

When We Were Invincible by Jonathan Harnisch Blue Ink Starred Book Review

Author Jonathan Harnisch often writes about alter egos who live with the same mental disorders that he does, including schizophrenia and Tourette’s syndrome. The protagonist of this coming- of-age novel is Georgie Gust, a character who has appeared in the author’s previous novels as a sexual fetishist and even another character’s alter ego. For readers who may have explored other Harnisch novels, it’s best to think of Georgie as the blank canvas on which the author hangs his tales and not try to unify Georgie’s mythology.

Here, Georgie appears as an angry young man in the mold of Salinger’s Holden Caulfield. He’s been banished by his alcoholic mother to a boarding school in Connecticut and we meet him during a suicidal episode in a graveyard. Georgie experiences his mental illness as a literal monkey on his back; he is also dangerously self-medicating. The prose is as electrifying as it is terrifying. “Out of the wild jungle one day, rejoining me in full costume, the horn-headed monkey returns to its residence in me,” Georgie says. “This time, it was going to try and kill me, the son- of-a-bitch.”

The majority of the novel concerns Georgie’s relationship with classmate Claudia Nesbitt, and hijinks with his buddy “Fitzie.” Georgie has thoughtful debates with his Catholic girlfriend about the nature of God and she encourages him to embrace his mental illness, even as his self- destructive nature threatens to destroy him. Much like the title character in Good Will Hunting, Georgie’s redemption is somewhat expedient, but the character’s voice is utterly compelling and Harnisch inhabits his troubled young hero with compassion and grace. A bittersweet postscript finds Georgie still struggling but determined to triumph: "The consciousness of life is higher than life, and the knowledge of happiness is higher than happiness,” he notes. “And, that’s what we have to fight against. I’ll continue from now on to fight.”

The author’s authenticity no doubt comes at great personal cost, but his writing is elevated by his personal experience. This story deserves an admiring audience.

-- BlueInk Review
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19
Jan

The Brutal Truth by Jonathan Harnisch Blue Ink Book Review

In this slim volume of personal essays, the prolific New Mexico novelist, filmmaker and mental health advocate Jonathan Harnisch provides heart-wrenching insights into his long battle with schizophrenia. A gifted writer who has weathered seven suicide attempts and more than 30 hospitalizations, Harnisch speaks with chilling authority about “the shattered stained glass” of a disease whose terrifying hallucinations keep him from distinguishing between “what is real and what is not.”

As in Harnisch's earlier books—notably, his 803-page semi-autobiographical novel, Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography—the 40-year-old author's moods alternate between optimism (“I always do my best to keep things positive”) and bleak despair (“The old me disappears as I fall deeper and deeper into oblivion”), but his goals always remain clear: to burn off “the fog of schizophrenia” and put an end to the stigma associated with mental illness, and the maltreatment of its victims.

Harnisch's bio, as he relates it here, is fascinating. A privileged graduate of Choate and New York University's film school, he calls himself “an unemployed artist with a botched trust fund and a life that, in terms of conventional reality, doesn't actually exist.” Also diagnosed with an array of other “comorbidities” (PTSD, Tourette's Syndrome, autism, etc.), he writes, for self-therapy, only when sleepless and symptomatic, producing the raw, anguished, truth of a survivor. In his dark mood, he tells us he is friendless and cut off from family, reduced to having philosophical conversations “with the store clerks at the Quick Fix on Maple Street”; but later, he praises his loving wife and the company of their three dogs and seven cats.

What's “real?” What's imagined? In a life so troubled, we are left with few answers. But Harnisch's harrowing quest for clarity is undeniably real. Mid-book, he seems to address the demon of schizophrenia itself, with moving eloquence: “Love me, hate me, hurt me or kill me. I keep fighting.”

-- BlueInk Review
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17
Jan

Living with Serious Mental Illness and Physical Disabilities

The idea behind this short book is to include some of Jonathan Harnisch's old Facebook and blog posts about living with severe mental illness, cognitive decline and terminal physical disabilities. The writing captures the essence of what he experiences living with serious mental illness and physical disabilities.

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