For more than 20 years, BYRONIK.COM has been my website, my domain and the hub for all my projects, journalistic and cinematic. Type Byronik in a Google search and the first five or six pages will be links to my stuff.
Have I been milking the Lord Byron connection to death? I'm not sorry. Lineage from Byron's first bastard was never something my family boasted about. Possibly, growing up in his shadow led me to try writing verse. And the impulse to lose myself in the anti-apartheid struggle may have been inspired, in part, by Byron's activism for Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire.
I never dared to have kids of my own because I was never sufficiently confident in my ability to support myself, let alone a family. Surprisingly, I got involved with less responsible individuals who had already brought innocent little human beings into this world without a giving a great deal of thought to the consequences. So I had to drop what I would otherwise be doing to fend for various and sundry animals and small children.
And now I'm all alone, but there are stepchildren and step grandchildren somewhere out there who will never forget the Englishman who bought them their first bike or taught them how to swim or went with them to the tailor to be measured up for their first suit. After everything else I every tried to do has become dust, I will always be that guy.
It seems to have become progressively more difficult for me to secure those minimum-wage jobs that demand every waking hour be spent suffering humiliation at the hands of halfwits. I did, however, work several years in home healthcare, helping old people recover from infections contracted in the hospital and helping hospice cases transition to their deaths.
When, in 2011, I caught HIV, even that job became too much. I was fired and, for a while, had a tough time finding employment at all. Despite chronic illness, I now work as an attendant on a parking lot for minimum wage, which in San Diego is $11.50 an hour.
While my income remains less than $1,300 per month, I continue to qualify for healthcare fully funded by MediCal. And this includes the HIV medication Genvoya, which would otherwise cost me $85 per day.
My wants are frugal. My needs are few. I use my neighbors' wifi for free. I have plenty to eat, thanks to EBT. I receive free phone service, thanks to the government Lifeline program. I can ride any bus or trolley in San Diego, because, since I turned 60, my monthly Compass Card refill only costs $18.
As a man approaches 63, he can look at the future in two ways. Either he admits his best work is behind him and he gently extinguishes his own life or else he takes the massive leap forward into creative adventures with intelligent collaborators. I am particularly fortunate to work with film makers Anthony Leone, Tony Olmos, Luke Pensabene and Brian Patrick Butler in a bunch of independent, no-budget movies you will find listed on my IMDB page.
All over the world, I have talented friends whose work I promote every chance I get. In San Diego, I'm sometimes fortunate enough to have them work with me in the same movie. I continue to help writers who are developing scripts and I'm even managing to pay off some of the arrears owed to my landlord. Life is good.
This is effectively the GoFundMe page to crowdfund my purchase of a van
My plan is to buy a an 18-foot Grumman Olson diesel-powered step van, put a bunch of solar panels on the roof and turn it into a tiny house in which I can spend the rest of my life stealth camping. If you would like to help me achieve this sooner, there is a DONATE button at the end of this blurb that will accept your kind contribution.
Until I manage to purchase the van, I continue to occupy a room in a 1920s office building with all the clichés of a film-noir gumshoe. And, just like Philip Marlowe, in so many of Raymond Chandler's stories, I usually get to the end of a project to find I'm not even going to get paid.
Although I earn almost nothing from acting in movies, my situation is nowhere near as bad as it was. Nevertheless, if you insist on sending me a contribution through PayPal, please go ahead and use the DONATE button below. And if you feel like sending some kind of gift, here's my Amazon wish list.
To all you friends of Byronik, I send a very heart-felt thank you.