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Harold Phifer, Author Tells His Story About Growing Up in Extreme Poverty With a Schizophrenic Mom

Harold Phifer has announced the publication of his second book, a collection of autobiographical short stories exploring his sad and often appalling upbringing in Columbus, Mississippi. Kept secret for more than 50 years, Phifer’s childhood was largely forgotten until an explosion during a job in Afghanistan forced him to take some time off to recover in a paradise beach resort in Thailand. While there, he met an unusual but compassionate stranger who pulled him into a long discussion about his experiences growing up. Hours later, Phifer finally found a measure of peace from the ghosts of his past and began planning out the stories that would later appear in Surviving Chaos. The book is available for purchase via AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Audible.

“How do you sum up your childhood in a few sentences? Childhood is such a rich and nuanced tapestry of people, places, events, and formative influences – all shaping you in ways that can take a lifetime to uncover,” said Phifer. “And that’s probably true for everyone. But when you have a bad childhood? Well, you shove most of that way down deep for decades. I have overcome many challenges and obstacles in my life, many of them entirely by myself. My hope is that my story may help someone smile when they are having a bad day, and remind young readers that no matter how bad and hopeless things may seem in the present, the power is within each of us to change our future.”

 

From the Introduction of Surviving Chaos:

“I grew up in a severely dysfunctional environment where I was constantly manipulated by my controlling aunt, abused by my mindless big brother, and shamed by my schizophrenic mom. Ducking, dodging, and going unnoticed were daily rituals. The most troubling of all was my mother’s relationship with The Walls. It took a near-death experience from a terrorist attack in Afghanistan to force me to deal with issues I tried to hide for fifty-plus years. Throughout this story and in my life, I use humor to sustain me, because logic didn’t apply. After living in Afghanistan for ten years, I can say with certainty that only the fools, the desperate, and the greedy dare to return to that unstable place. Unfortunately, I fall into one or more of those categories….”

“This journey opens in the tropical Southeast Asian country of Thailand, where I took refuge after the blast in Afghanistan. I was living a carefree life with no worries or drama. By happenstance, I came across another lost soul. He was hiding from life, just like me. Dylan took advantage of my drunken state and easily coerced me into divulging my life’s history. He opened a door that led us both on a whirlwind tour neither of us expected or imagined. Many of these stories may stick with you like nothing you have ever experienced, read, or heard before.”

About the author
Harold Phifer was born and raised in Columbus, Mississippi, where he spent the first 25 years of his life. After graduating from Mississippi State and Jackson State University in 1982, he went to work for the FAA, before later becoming a highly specialized and independent air traffic controller. Living and working as an international contractor, Harold has served numerous tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He established Rise N Read Free Press to support his own books and to foster literacy with healthy role models in the BIPOC community.