The Georgie Gust Exhibit

What if you had such severe schizophrenia that your life was just one hallucination after another? And what if people kept trying to drag you back out of those hallucinations, to prove that you weren’t living in reality, and that reality was nothing more than a psych hospital? Would you go? Would you make that leap back into reality, leave such a vivid life, for ceramic walls and metal gurneys?

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Sunday Aug 29, 2021

" it like to suffer from...schizophrenia combined with...Tourette's syndrome? ...[Harnisch's] answers to such questions and the ways in which they are portrayed prove complex. Mixing diary entries...with a screenplay...messages are often jumbled though not without merit, [as] when the narrator announces that "I had a paranoid spell last night. [My wife] was texting me, and I was convinced that it was my stepmother impersonating my wife." Wildly varied in style and content, making for an informative and strange trip through the experience of mental disorders."- Kirkus Reviews

Saturday Aug 14, 2021

I just wanted to share this with you guys. 

Living Colorful Beauty (2019)

Saturday Oct 10, 2020

Saturday Oct 10, 2020

hi everyone! hope u enjoy this. it's inspired by the book avail on amazon etc. stay happy healthy & safe this year. your pal, Jonathan 

Saturday Oct 08, 2016

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.

Porcelain Utopia

Friday Sep 30, 2016

Friday Sep 30, 2016

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.

Living Colorful Beauty

Wednesday Sep 14, 2016

Wednesday Sep 14, 2016

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.

Lover in the Nobody

Wednesday Sep 14, 2016

Wednesday Sep 14, 2016

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.

Sunday Jul 10, 2016

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

Friday Jul 08, 2016

“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.

Monday Jul 04, 2016

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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