|Harm has been writing for the past 18 years, keeping journals of his life experiences. When he finally got clean and sober, he
began reading through his journals remembering things he'd long since forgotten. When the memories of his alcoholic days
came crashing back in vivid detail, Harm needed an outlet to express his feelings of sorrow and regret. Writing poetry seemed
to be the perfect way for him to deal with the harsh realities of the life he'd led.
"Seven years ago I began experimenting with poetry," Harm said. "People seemed to like and understand what I was trying to
say, and that led to the idea of making a book on my poetry."
Harm said he decided to compile the poems into a book because readers were commenting on how the poetry had touched
them, stating that a book of his poems would be interesting to read and might even help someone who is having difficulty
dealing with his or her addiction.
Harm began getting the book ready by locating the poems he'd written over the past seven years and he started organizing
them. After reading the poems through and grouping them according to subject matter, he decided to write short story
introductions to the poems so that the reader would more clearly understand the situation he was in, or his frame of mind at
Once Harm had completed this part of his project, he began shopping around for a publisher who was interested in printing
the book. He contacted a publishing house named PublishAmerica who felt Harm's book would quickly resonate with an
audience. They purchased the publishing rights in late April, and printed copies of the trade paperback were released for
purchase on Dec. 4. Ten percent of the royalties Harms earns from the sales of "Damaged Merchandise: Poems and Stories
of an Alcoholic Addict" will be donated to the University of Nebraska-Omaha Lied Transplant Center.
PublishAmerica Executive Director Miranda Prather said that Harm's book "is a well written and crafted work of contemporary
poetry. Mr. Harm is a promising talent in his field."
Harm said that having his book published is a dream come true , and he hopes that he can serve as an example of what
overcoming addiction can accomplish.
Mostly though, Harm hopes that his book will help someone suffering from alcohol or drug addiction.
Harm said he wants the book to take the reader through a self-discovery process, instead of being an instruction manual on
how to get sober.
"I wrote in my book, that all alcoholics have a hidden talent," he said. "I've known some alcoholics who were fantastic artists,
and others who were great writers. Everybody has a gift that's just waiting to come out, and the only way you are going to find
it is to quit drinking or taking drugs. And don't expect results overnight. It will take awhile."
"Damaged Merchandise" is the first book in a trilogy that Harm expects to write. He has already sold the rights of publication to
his second book which he calls a prequel and focuses on the last few years of his life before sobriety. The second book is
expected to be titled, "War Zone - Backing Out of Hell" and will be written more as a story book instead of a compilation of
Although Harm will be writing a different style for his second book, he still retains a love of writing poetry and hopes readers
enjoy what he has produced.
"I would love for somebody, anybody to open my book and read a poem and say 'I know exactly what he's talking about.'
Somebody who knows what I'm talking about but never thought about it that way."
Article from the
by Bill Aldrich
April 2005 article from
Electric News Magazine
by Susan Barnard
Never forget your dreams...
Dave Harm's story isn't one of fame and good fortune. It's a story of survival, recovery, dreams and lots of faith.
Born and raised by alcoholic parents in Englewood, New Jersey, Dave himself became an alcohol and drug addict, using
anything and everything to avoid pain. In 1986 he began writing. Binder after binder was filled with stories, journals,
nightmares and dreams. At the time his goal was to simply record the events of his life, both good and bad, for his kids. He
had dreams of someday publishing some of his work. Before Dave met his wife, Betty, he never dreamed his pen and paper
would include poetry.
Over the years Dave has always enjoyed making a gift for someone, whether he built it out of wood, painted a picture, or
wrote a poem.
In his early days of writing poetry, Dave submitted his work to the Beatrice Daily-Sun's Poet's Pen, under the pen name of
Toby Tyler. Why use a pen name? Dave explains for several reasons. First, because he still wasn't sure his writing was that
creative and if it was given a bad review, no one would know it was him. Second, some of his poems dealt with abuse; being
new to the town of Diller he didn't want people to be bombarded with stories of his past. He wanted his reputation in the
community to speak for itself. He wanted others to know that he had come a long way in life. And lastly, writing is a way for
Dave to speak his mind. Through recovery, Dave relived his worst nightmares. When they left, he remembered his dreams -
dreams that were built on the hope for a better tomorrow.
Dave's published books include Damaged Merchandise, and War Zone, Backing Out of Hell, which is currently in the
pre-production stage. He's also started on his third book. He works with PublishAmerica Company out of Frederick, Maryland.
The company specializes in publishing books written by people who have overcome major trials in their life. There is no
publishing fee required other than a $30 charge for copyright to the Library of Congress. Ten percent of his royalties from his
book Damaged Merchandise will go to the UNO-Lied Transplant Center, in honor of his granddaughter, Jaycie, who received a
liver transplant when she was only 6 months old.
Having a book published is certainly a dream come true for Dave, but ultimately he hopes his books will help someone
suffering from addiction and will serve as an example of what you can accomplish when you overcome addiction.
In addition to never believing he'd ever publish a book, Dave never dreamed he'd have to see his wife suffer the effects of
breast cancer. Throughout her many surgeries, chemo treatments and times of trial, Dave stood by Betty's side, often writing
his thoughts and poems down as he sat in hospital waiting rooms. Dave recalls the first round of Betty's chemo treatments
when doctors told her she'd totally lose her long, red hair in 14 days. On the 13th day her hair all fell out at once.
The Harm's are both involved in the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life events which are typically held in the spring
and summer months. In 2003, Dave issued a challenge to family and friends in order to raise funds for the American Cancer
Society. At that time he had long hair, but he pledged to cut one-inch off for every $100 he raised. It was his wife Betty who
whacked off the first inch and the remaining 13 inches came soon after during the Relay For Life event held at the Gage
County Fairgrounds. This year's event will be held April 29-30 in Beatrice at the fairgrounds.
Dave has written numerous poems which have been read during the Relay For Life. A copy of the poem he wrote for this
year's event is included in this article. He dreams of someday having his poems turned into music and recorded on CD's with
all proceeds benefitting the American Cancer Society.
When he's not busy at the computer putting down his thoughts and dreams, Dave works full-time at the Beatrice Bakery
Company. Dave and Betty make their home in Diller, Nebraska. They have four children, and granddaughter Jaycie is their
pride and joy.
Dave's work has been included in the 2005 Marquis Who's Who in America and his poem Where you From? was chosen to be
included in the American Poet Society's Anthology book entitled Expressions.
by Susan Barnard
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