18: Who is Jahn Dope? From H.S. Football Star to Homeless Man to the Great Philip Sylverin
Play • 30 min

This episode is about self destruction.

Jahn Dope, one of the students in our class, reads his story, Dark Matter. Jahn’s story begins after he overdoses on LSD after a crazy night of drinking and drugs, then backtracks to childhood. After Jahn’s story ends, the class was left with questions. So, producers Diego and Misha met Jahn at work to get the whole story. Listeners will hear why Jahn dropped out of college and what happened next.

Jahn tells us how he got deeper and deeper into drugs and eventually ended up homeless. For ten years, Jahn lived on the streets of Miami doing whatever it took to stay alive. When Andrea Askowitz, co-host and teacher of our class, met Jahn Dope, he was living at the Miami Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter in downtown Miami. Andrea taught writing classes at the mission every Friday for two years. Jahn did not miss a class. A year and a half ago, when Writing Class Radio started, Jahn joined our class. This is where Jahn first told this story. Recently, Jahn left the Miami Rescue Mission after working and living there for three years. Because of his affiliation with the Rescue Mission, we allowed him to use a pseudonym. Now, he is proud to use his real name: Philip Sylverin. Phil told us that writing class was one of the main things that saved his life. In class, when Jahn wrote about the shitty things he’s had to overcome, it seemed like writing them down and sharing them with the class helped him move past Jahn Dope and on to a thriving, healthy, Phil Sylverin. Everyone who comes to class is working through something. Are you working through something in your life? If so, we want you to share your story with us.

Writing Class Radio is a podcast where you’ll hear true personal stories and learn a little about how to write your own stories. Writing Class Radio is equal parts heart and art. By heart we mean the truth in a story. By art we mean the craft of writing. No matter what’s going on in our lives, writing class is where we tell the truth. It’s where we work out our shit, and figure out who we are.

There’s no place in the world like writing class and we want to bring you in.

Writing Class Radio is co-hosted by Allison Langer (www.allisonlanger.com) and Andrea Askowitz (www.andreaaskowitz.com). Writing Class Radio is produced by Misha Mehrel, Diego Saldana-Rojas, Andrea Askowitz and Allison Langer. This episode was produced with editorial help from Wendi Adelson and Sonesh Chainani.

Visit our musicians page to learn about the talented and generous people who allowed us to use their songs.

There’s more writing class on our website(www.writingclassradio.com), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/writingclassradio/) and Twitter (@wrtgclassradio).

If you love the lessons you get on each episode, you can get them ALL in one place--our three-part video series. $20 for one part or $50 for the series. Click on Video Classes on our website.

Writing Class Radio is now open to submissions from our listeners. Go to the submissions page on our website for guidelines. We pay!

If you want to be a part of the movement that helps people better understand each other through storytelling, please go to writingclassradio.com and hit the DONATE button.

There’s no better way to understand ourselves and each other, than by writing and sharing our stories. Everyone has a story. What’s yours?


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