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As most of you know, my autobiography debuts July 23. But few so far know what it’s actually *about* (other than me) and why anyone should spend 28 (18 via pre-sale at Amazon) of their hard earned bucks on it. This thread will attempt to answer that. #BeomingSupermanJMS
So if you’re familiar with my work, or know someone who is, or are curious about the arc of starting nowhere to become a writer under impossible circumstances, this would be the book to start with, gift or recommend.

- an immigrant family who came to America in search of fame and fortune but ended up on the run from the law, engulfed in scandals and a murderous secret that would be kept hidden for decades. A multigenerational saga of a family whose very existence was predicated upon lies.
- Kazimier Straczynski, a womanizer, con-man and grifter who was forced to marry his own niece when she revealed to her family that they were having an affair, believing that in doing so she could secure passage with him to America and pursue her dreams as an actress.
- Sophia Straczynski, who despite her ruthless cunning fell for Kazimier’s stories of having become rich in America. Upon arrival she began having affairs with photographers (to get promo shots), producers and other showbiz types, hoping to become a star of film and stage.
- Charles Straczynski, their teenage son (and, later, my father), who went with Sophia to visit relatives in Poland. Caught after the Blitzkrieg, they lived with Nazis and German soldiers for seven years...and Charles embraced their ideology of hate with horrific consequences.
- Evelyn, my mother, an underage prostitute in California when she met Charles. Manipulated into an abusive, unwanted marriage based on exploitation, violence, and the threat of revealing her own desperate secrets, she was institutionalized repeatedly.
- my growing up constantly on the run as my father ducked bill collectors and law enforcement: malnourished and often homeless, living in the projects of Newark and Skid Row in Los Angeles, roaring across the country in my father’s alcohol-fueled haze of violence and abuse.
- my discovery of science fiction, comic books, and in particular Superman, which sustained me and changed my life in ways that gave me hope, taught me about stories, gave me heroes to admire, and allowed me to survive an otherwise horrific existence.
- growing up with a violent, drunken, abusive father and a dysfunctional mother, the fateful decision at a young age that let me break the cycle of abuse that had plagued my family for generations, and how science fiction and comic books saved me from a life of crime.
- the arc of my becoming a writer, from the first stumbling efforts to get published and produced to the present, how I learned story development, writing techniques and how to sell...a step-by-step roadmap for anyone with the desire to become, and stay, a working writer.
- my time living in a commune run by one cult and going undercover as a reporter into another...the night I was beaten almost to death by a street gang...the difficulties of making a living as a young writer, broke, starved and dumpster diving, 140 pounds at 6’4”
- the circumstances behind my decision to leave journalism forever...breaking into animation on shows like He-Man, She-Ra and The Real Ghostbusters, replete with never-before-told behind-the-scenes stories and reports of battles with network censors and consultants.
- writing for comics and TV shows like Twilight Zone, Murder She Wrote, and creating Babylon 5, stepping into the spotlight at last, winning Hugo Awards and appearing at conventions, achieving success that came at a great price that took with it most of my relationships.
- the behind-the-scenes stories of selling Changeling and how it changed my life forever...the poor starved kid from Jersey suddenly working with Hollywood royalty, the rags-to-riches story given form and substance with all the attendant ups-and-downs.
Finally, it’s about hope, about taking responsibility and breaking cycles, and that it doesn’t matter where you come from, whether you went to the best schools or had “contacts,” that you can go as far as your skills and dreams will take you.
Of all the stories I’ve told over the years, this has been the most difficult, but also the most necessary, for myself and for others who might be in similar situations, with similar dreams, and I hope you will check it out. harpercollins.com/9780062857842/…
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