Being Hardly Normal

By Derek Humphries and Mark Horvath

How the Lizard Man of Hollywood Boulevard became the Sock Man of Social Change

Biography | Campaigns
29% funded
110 supporters
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$35  + shipping
48 pledges

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Collectable

A first-edition hardback signed by one of the authors, the ebook, and your name recorded in the back of the book for all eternity.
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$95  + shipping
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Outreach Reader

Two pairs of high-quality socks for you to pass on to a homeless person, your name listed in a special section of Outreach Readers, plus everything at the Collectable level.
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$195  + shipping
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Group-chat Supporter

All the benefits of a Collectable level reader, plus an invitation to join a monthly Facebook Live chat about Mark’s work with Invisible People.
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$285  + shipping
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Ten copies of the book, ten ebooks and up to ten names in the back of the book.
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$390  + shipping
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Ten first-edition hardbacks signed by one of the authors, ten ebooks and up to ten names recorded in the back of the book for all eternity.
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Raid our brains supporter

All the benefits of a Collectable level reader, plus you (and friends/colleagues), can sit down with one of us to raid our brains about anything at all connected with fundraising, campaigning and social change. Possibly a remote coffee, depending where you are!
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All of the benefits of being an Outreach Reader, ten signed books, plus your name or your organisation’s name listed in the front of the book.
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Sponsor

20 signed copies of the book, 20 pairs of socks for you to pass on to homeless people, and a bespoke workshop or plenary session with Derek and/or Mark on storytelling, campaigning and fundraising for your organisation, or for you to gift to the organisation of your choice. Plus, full page dedicated to you or your organisation in the front of the book as Sponsor.
Europe or North America only. Mark and Derek's travel and accommodation not included
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Super sponsor

40 signed copies of the book, 40 pairs of socks for you to pass on to homeless people, and a bespoke workshop or plenary session with Derek and/or Mark on storytelling, campaigning and fundraising for your organisation, or for you to gift to the organisation of your choice. Plus, full page dedicated to you or your organisation in the front of the book as Super Sponsor.
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If you love dramatic stories of personal redemption, this book is for you. If you're wrangling with your own personal passion projects or purpose, it's for you too. If you work or volunteer for a social cause or charity and you want to do good better, there's lots to help you.

This is the true story of Mark Horvath, a TV exec who became a drug addict; a homeless man who became a social change agent; a humanitarian who pioneered digital storytelling in a mission to bring to the world the voices of invisible people.

It's a story that involves a lot of drugs, an enormous iguana, evangelical fundraising, digital storytelling, candid confessions, and the biggest heart you've ever encountered. And it’s partly a how-to book: how to make a difference; how to gather and tell stories ethically; how to survive running your own not-for-profit; how to build an amazing social network.

For years, Mark and his huge pet iguana lived on Hollywood Boulevard. This experience fuelled his mission to share the unfiltered voices of homeless people. The mission of Mark and Invisible People is to change the story of homelessness, something he has done through a pioneering approach to digital storytelling. His YouTube channel has approaching 300k subscribers. Via Patreon, a funding platform normally used by artists, people pay subscriptions to support his work educating the public on homelessness.

This is a story to inspire more change in individuals and vital causes. It's Mark's story, and the stories of other homeless people, and a selection of carefully chosen, hard-won wisdom.

We are often encouraged to take life advice from people who are wealthy and 'successful'. Mark is not wealthy, but he is one of the most purposeful people around. And isn’t that sense of purpose, a life of meaning, something we all seek in a world that can seem increasingly polarised and purposeless? If you're looking to creating change, and considering a road less travelled, then Mark's story might help you. Though you may want to take a less bizarre and life-threatening route.

ABOUT THE BOOK

  • Royal hardback book - 160 x 240mm
  • 288 pages
  • Colour plate section

The cover design is for illustrative purposes only and is subject to change

Support this project

Quick select rewards

$35  + shipping
48 pledges

Hardback

A first-edition hardback, the ebook and your name in the back of the book
Choose this reward
$50  + shipping
30 pledges

Collectable

A first-edition hardback signed by one of the authors, the ebook, and your name recorded in the back of the book for all eternity.
Choose this reward
  • Some stories deserve to be told. This is one of them.

    If you like a compelling story of drama and human interest, there’s something here for you.

    If you’re wrangling with the existential angst of finding some purpose in this thing called life, then you’ll find something here to adopt, adapt, or rebel against.

    And if you’ve ever thought about making the world a better place, or if you’re involved in any way with good causes trying to help folk in need, then you’ll find both inspiration and practical ideas.

    Being Hardly Normal is more than the book we thought we’d produce. You see, we set out to create a kind of guide to digital storytelling – one of the things Mark excels at. But then he started telling me why he does what he does, and Mark’s own story was so unlike anything I had heard before that I realised pretty swiftly that it deserved to be told.

    So, you'll hear what it's like to disappear into your first night sleeping on the streets. In fact, you'll hear from quite a few people who have discovered how being without a home can render you invisible. For almost all of us, that experience is closer than we ever dare imagine.

    Mark’s story involves an awful lot of drugs, an enormous iguana, evangelical fundraising, digital storytelling, and the biggest heart I ever met. Storytelling has many facets; it requires time, patience, and trust. In many ways it is a form of human archaeology. The excavations to unearth Mark’s story began over four days we spent together in London back in July 2017. We walked and talked for those four days, and we met some of Mark’s homeless friends. Here’s just a flavour of what Mark told me:

    ‘When I was in a band and drumming, and using a lot of drugs, my life was utterly toxic.’

    ‘There were times when someone would be holding a gun to my head, literally. Most of the people who had my level of drug usage are either dead or incapable of speech or even thought.’

    ‘I never got the white picket fence and the 2.3 kids. But I have purpose. I advocate for homeless people. But why homeless people? I don’t know the real answer…’

    ‘It’s maybe because when I look into the eyes of a young veteran living on the streets, or the faces of an elderly couple sleeping in their car while trying to hold down part-time jobs, or I speak to a mum striving to raise two kids on her own while being shunted between cheap motel rooms… in these faces, I see myself, and I feel where I used to be.’

    ‘Maybe I’m trying to change the way the world sees and helps people simply because I need to make life difficult for myself. I sometimes wonder if that’s why I focus on one of the hardest causes to engage people with; because homelessness is undoubtedly one of the hardest areas to create change.

    ‘Maybe I dedicate myself to helping people who are homeless because it demands absolutely all of my energy and a lot of tenacity. The work I do smacks me in the face and wrecks me again and again and again. But one of the great upsides is that I have no time or energy left for the things that nearly destroyed me.’

    When he was living in LA, it seemed that for Mark becoming homeless was only a matter of time.

    There’s no such thing as a typical homeless person, and Mark was certainly no one’s stereotype. While homeless, he acquired Dog. It may not seem unusual for a homeless person to have a dog. That’s just part of the street-homeless stereotype, right? A dog on a string. But Mark didn’t have a dog, he had DOG – a 5ft iguana who became his inseparable companion.

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  • Derek Humphries and Mark Horvath have written 2 private updates. You can pledge to get access to them all.

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