Book 9 of 52: The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman

Posted by Dan Billings on July 11, 2012 under A Literal Corner | Be the First to Comment

About a month ago, I read the book The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman. Recently, Klosterman became the ethicist at the New York Times. I devoured this book.

Another great book this year

I have never read anything by Klosterman (outside of the random magazine article) but this was a fun book.

The book reports the personal writing and report of a therapist who has a very interesting client. This did lead me to ask my therapist if she could write a book about me, even if it would be boring. She told me that she really doesn’t take many notes and only writes things down if she is going to bring them up next time. This novel is based on a therapist’s journals.

The main characters are the therapist and her client who has claimed the ability to be invisible. The story revolves around what he claims to do when invisible. Many lines of privacy are crossed, people are hurt, and the client doesn’t appear to be overly concerned, but he is seeing a therapist. The book centers on this concept of snooping and looking at the mundane details of everyone’s lives and how people then judge the individual. If someone doesn’t eat healthy, we judge. If someone is alone, we consider them lonely. And this has only been accelerated by the gluttony of mundane reality shows that showcase the every day “real” lives of individuals. Television has allowed us to look at the lives of people who have jobs, who go home, who have accidents, who have lives that self-destruct, and it has become entertainment. The invisible man has this same thrill. He appears to be a lost individual who has tried to create this ability and once he has it, he uses it to just sit in people’s houses when they aren’t home and wait for them to arrive.

It’s not an uplifting book that makes you see mankind in a positive light, but the story moves very quickly and the details of the man’s days are fascinating. It is a strange feeling to be reading the discussions of a man who is acting in such a creepy manner and to want to know what happens. But I believe that’s the human nature that Klosterman is writing about. Mankind does like to understand why people do things and want to know the end of the story. I believe this is why serialized fiction has made a comeback on television and that these reality shows have such shelf-lives. We want to know what happens next, even if what happens is not good. The Visible Man is that story. Things don’t always end well but we are interested nonetheless. I recommend this book highly.

Here is a book trailer (I didn’t know they had these either):

On a similar note, I watched the movie Griff The Invisble about two weeks after I finished the book. The movie isn’t very good and is more of a bad superhero movie than a look at what invisibility would mean to a person. It starts simiply enough with a character who is trying to do good and bring justice to the world and is obviously not good at it. But it takes a lot of weird turns. It becomes a love story. A fantasy tale where I don’t know if anything is real or imaginary. A very bloody action movie. But none of these stories really add up to a good whole. There are light hearted moments between Griff (Ryan Kwanten) and his brother who does not want him fighting crime and a subplot between Griff and a coworker he doesn’t like, but both of these relationships don’t move past the surface. After reading The Visible Man, I was hoping for more from this story, but it did fill the time.

What Me, Worry? Yes, All The Time

Posted by Dan Billings on July 2, 2012 under Uncategorized | Read the First Comment

I have been in therapy for approximately ten years. I am a few months away for the ten year anniversary of the major nervous breakdown I had in college. For those who weren’t there, I had woken up, gone for a walk, and got back to my room to basically freeze up and eventually be brought to them hospital. It was one of the scariest days of my life and was the culmination of years of stress and worry.

I don’t know what brought it on but it did lead to three years of medication that didn’t make it better. In many instances, it made it all worse. One year later, I was seeing the school counselor at Ripon. Then I left there, went to a psychiatrist, and have been seeing the same therapist since December 2004. I started going to Mary when Identity Crisis was being published by DC Comics. So, that series has an important place in my life even though it is a controversial story. It was the major event comic-wise that occurred when I began to turn my life around.

For years, I worked on social anxiety. Recently, we have begun to focus on stresses at work since my job changed and I still haven’t adapted well. But i think the next thing I have to work on is my worrying. I don’t understand why I worry about everything, but it leads to many problems.

I think the worst is always going to happen. When I was a kid, I used to wake up in the middle of the night crying because I thought my parents were dead. The same thought process would make me run around while walking to school to make sure my mom was alive. She always was, but I still have the thoughts about people I know. I think about them getting into car crashes, their houses burning down, and other awful things. I lie awake at night, sometimes, thinking about all the things I am doing wrong and all the mistakes I have made.

Of course worrying is not always the worst thing. Some worry is normal and probably good. It keeps me organized. It makes me think ahead so bad things may not happen. But at times, it consumes all of my thoughts and paralyzed me. That’s never a good thing and it is never helpful.

I have been in a blue mood for about two weeks. I have no reason to be. But I do have a lot of good things being juggled together. I am maintaining them all and I believe doing a good job, but I fear and worry that the balls will drop. I have become unmotivated and just a bit somber. I am trying to piece things together that do make me feel better.

For example, I have set up a new point system based off of The Nerdist plan that I discussed earlier. I have given myself daily activities to do. Next, I am going to work on weekly tasks. And then monthly tasks. But daily seems like a good place to start.

The five tasks are meditation, writing, running, reading, and strength training. Part of meditation includes going back to church on Sundays (which may become its own weekly goal) and starting my day with at least ten minutes of good meditation to start my day. My goal is to write for at least 30 minutes a day, including posts to this blog. My goal is also thirty minutes of reading, including comics. And running and working out makes me feel better about life, but it is also the first thing I drop when I feel down. So, if I can maintain running, I hope to stay positive. Cue the Hold Steady song.

I wish there was a point to writing this. It isn’t a woe is me blog or anything specific. I have a lot of good things going. And that’s the hard part. I need to focus on them and to focus on me doing the things I love. It seems easy.