Acid Heroes

December 21, 2009

2002_11_12 Interview with Loompanics Author Ace Backwords

Filed under: Random Archives — Ace Backwords @ 4:47 am
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Who are you?
Basically, I’m a 46-year-old homeless street bum.

How did you end up homeless?
Well, it’s a long story, it would take about 195 pages to answer that. Basically, I was a free-lance cartoonist for 10 years, and then one day I sat down at the drawing board and nothing was funny. The next thing I knew I was sleeping under a tree in a sleeping bag. That’s the short version. The long version is, for most of my adult life, nothing worked. No matter what I tried, nothing made me happy. So finally, at age 38, I just gave up trying , and hit the skids. And, ironically, that’s when my life finally started working. Not that I recommend the homeless street life as a form of therapy. But that’s one of the weird, ironic twists to my story. Better living through “downward mobility.”

Why did you write your book, Surviving on the Streets: How To Go Down Without Going Out?
It’s sort of a how-to book for surviving the streets, and it chronicles the many misadventures I’ve had in my career as a homeless bum. I sort of envisioned the book as all the things I wish I had known when I first hit the streets at age 17. I guess I hoped to spare some other homeless kid from learning the harsh lessons of the streets like I did; the hard way. I also wrote it to educate mainstream people about the realities of the streets. All of society is grappling with the homeless issue, so a better understanding of what’s really going on out there couldn’t hurt. Most of what I’ve read about “the streets” has been bullzhit. So I wanted to set the record straight. But most of all, I just wanted to give the people a good read. And I think I’ve done it. There’s some hella interesting stories in the book. Because what street people experience is just bizarre beyond belief.

What kind of response have you gotten to the book?
Pretty much everyone who’s read it has raved about it. And all the press reviews have been raves. Which surprised me. I thought I was going to be savaged for some of the stuff. Which disappointed me in a way, because, frankly, its boring: Nasty reviews make for much more interesting reading.

Certainly, your chapter on black crime sparked some controversy?
One reporter who interviewed me for a local newspaper said that his editor told him specifically to ask me about the “racial bullzhit” in my book. They sort of acted shocked that this was really happening. Like it’s news or something. It’s certainly no mystery to anyone on the streets that blacks are committing violent crimes at a hugely disproportionate rate. But some of these mainstream people, I think they may live “sheltered” lives in more ways than one. That said, I don’t think any race has much in the way of bragging rights when it comes to being non-violent — think World War II, Vietnam, etc. My comments were only meant in the context of street crime.

Another controversial aspect of your book was your on mass immigration, which you maintain is the primary cause of our present homeless crisis.
We’re adding 3 million people to the U.S. population every year, almost entirely because of recent immigrants and their offspring. Do you happen to know where the 3 million new homes we needed last year are? Or the 3 million new homes we need this year? Or next year? Or etc? Well, if you don’t happen to know where these endless millions of new homes are, then maybe you should listen to what I’m saying. And yet all the geniuses are scratching their heads wondering where all the housing “disappeared” to, and why we have millions of homeless flopped out on the sidewalks, their numbers growing every year. I mean no disrespect to any immigrant — my father’s father was an Italian immigrant. But if we want to do anything about the homeless crisis, this issue has to be addressed and discussed.

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1 Comment »

  1. Your book surviving on the streets is being used by the establishment in Eugene Oregon to help the homeless people and the other people who are uncomfortable with having homeless people around. It is realistic and helpful. When you are dead you will be remembered. Forget about Bukowsky. They can make some movies off this book.

    Comment by Head for the hills — March 31, 2014 @ 5:45 pm | Reply


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