Category Archives: Books and Literature
It wasn’t a bright and sunny day all around though. A guy came up to me, and he seemed really cool. And he had some…
So I partaked, though it’s usually against my policy to do so during working hours. And, of course, I got mind-bendingly paranoid. Let’s see what I can remember–
The War of 1812, let’s begin there. Canadians have recently romanticized their “victory over the US” in a new documentary. The commercials for the documentary feature war reenactors and a heavy, solemn, voice over– “On the xth day of the nth month of 1812, The United States invaded our land. And we fought back… etc. etc.”
After going through some political wrangling at city hall this afternoon about my permit, it didn’t take much for my stoned brain to squarely peg myself for the 2012 reinvention of an unwelcome invasion force.
I suppose– when I reflect– I have definitely “crossed a boundary” when it comes to my relationship with this country. In my small way, I’ve added a new dimension to its identity– it’s now the birthplace of Marijuana Paranoia Management Coaching. They didn’t ask me to come do this.
Anyhow, from there I began thinking about Native Americans (errr Natives, First Peoples as they are called in Canada), the allies (right?) of the Canadian/British in the War of 1812. Native peoples have been known to trigger extreme paranoia. In this case, the idea in my head (which I took for reality at the time) was that our darling, sweet Canadians, back in 1812, had made a sacred, transcendental pact with the Native tribes. In part, this pact involved a mutual protection against a common enemy that was proving ever-aggressive back in those Louisiana Purchase’ish, Manifest Destinish-type days. While they weren’t so well-equipped with heavy military equipment, what the natives did have were magick, spells, and an ancient connection and “claim” to the land. The ability to drive their enemies (and those of their allies) to madness and, as is often custom during my experiences as a high-functioning paranoiac, I am apt to wonder about the nature of sanity. At points I deeply, deeply question my own “sanity,” wondering legitimately how much of my reality is illusion. During these times I feel a keen identification with the “mentally ill” that is startling, and sort of beautiful in a way. It’s called the Solipsistic Melancholy, and I won’t go into it now, but check out my book if you want a nice primer on the new phenomenon that is Marijuana Paranoia Management Coaching, the positivizing journey into the darker depths of the imagination. It’s for real. I think this might be something. We’ll see.
If you’re feeling like I’m leaving this off a bit incomplete– yes, I could explain more about my experience today. There was a lot going on. But it’s getting late, I’ve worked really hard today since about 730am, and blogs aren’t supposed to be long– just check out the book, really, if you’ve read this far in my blog, then you’ll probably get a kick out of Handbook for the High-Functioning Paranoiac. True.
I highly recommend bookmarking this video-
All is well. I’ve been busy preparing an essay for an online literary magazine called The Millions. The essay is scheduled for publication later this month. I’m quite excited and grateful for this. The Millions is a well-esteemed forum, with names like George Saunders, Rick Moody, and Jennifer Egan ranking among its guest contributors. As uber-tangential and tenuous it would be to imply such a “peer set” for myself, I’m mostly just happy to know once and for all that sending my work out– a behavior I was beginning to regard as essentially masochistic– can indeed result in something other than a mailbox full of rejection letters.
My cpu is having a hard time handling my video editing software at the moment, but, as soon as I can, I’m going to start uploading more videos from India. I’ve got hours upon hours of cool footage. Let’s just hope my cpu survives long enough for me to share. Not that I’m complaining, I’ve been dragging the poor machine all over India, and, with the exception of video editing, it’s still trooping along like a good sport.
“Susannie,” pronounced Sue-Xany. That’s the name of Lawrence’s dog. We met up for a visit earlier today to take Susannie to the beach for a bath.
Then tonight I’m working with Lloyd and Aleister, hawking cool shit at the famous Saturday Night Market. I really need to get some video of the SNM. It’s basically Wall-Street meets Woodstock meets Smiley’s Flea Market, that with a dash of Ibiza-style club scene and a scattering of fly-by-night britishy football pubs.
Any case, I really didn’t plan on posting today, but I just read the best interview I’ve read this year. It’s Gary Amdahl, author of the short-story collection, “visigoth.”
The interview was so damn amusing, I had to share it immediately. If any among my swarming armies of readers* has any interest in art or creative writing, or interesting people in general, you will certainly enjoy this.
A few of my favorite excerpts:
“I’m more articulate then I was when I was nine, but I don’t know anything new. Don’t know anything at all. Still, it’s part of the public relations campaign that artists have always been waging: we are pioneers of consciousness! We are the Enterprise, boldly going wherever, for the sake of mankind, so please give us big grants, so we can jack off with an easy mind. Like I said, I have wanted to stop boldly going many many times. I can’t.”
“That the Internet and the World Wide Web are effectively magic, and in some cases quite black, is only just registering with me.”
“I had pretty much signed off on the literary press in this country when Jonathan Raban iced the cake with a big squirt of poop.”
Full interview here.
*Orcs, I was running some analytics in my WordPress suite, and it turns out my readers are something like 70% Orcs. Apparently very popular in that demographic.
Not sure if this taking a break from writing is all that great of an idea. I finished a big section of my book and figured I’d wait a week or two to resume work. In the meantime I’ve been focused on improving my diet, rest, and physical activity, bought a juicer, been doing a bit of calisthenics, — amazing yogurt in India, really nice to eat on curry dishes and mixed into juice.
In addition to getting healthy physically, I’ve taken sick with some ironically positioned depression and become something of an awful person to be around, irritable, dazed, self-absorbed, inaccessible, wanting to be alone, wishing for my little, secluded garret back in Saint Louis, where I’d be writing in my journal, promising myself that what I write will be kept forever private and extolling the purity of such writing.
Back to BRAT today. Why is it so damn horrifying returning to work? The book is so big and menacing — so many words and sentences– and getting back into that world is never exactly “fun” at first. Nonetheless, this is clearly what I’m meant to be doing, and it’s the only known cure for my particular depression and social awkwardness. To borrow from Neal Stephenson- four to five hours of fiction-writing every day is what’s required in order to make me fit for most human company.
Marijuana can help too, but it’s quite temporary, and, in an effort to preserve the intensity/efficacy of the accompanying paranoia distillation and expulsion, my current herbal rX is twice weekly, Wednesdays and Saturdays, always with enough time elapsed so that my nerves remain a bit taut and anxious; I need to be a little afraid to smoke. I want to bring my fears to life and challenge them to staring contests, but I don’t want to lose my capacity to fear altogether, which, as best I can tell, would make me a burnout or an official “stoner,” and that’s fine, but it’s not what I’m after. The other night I told some stoned Indians about this paranoia-as-spice philosopy, hoping to relate. They didn’t know me, and I was high and paranoid and this made them paranoid too, but they appreciated my company all the same, even though I made them a bit uncomfortable, and we ended up relating well in the end, so much better than we would have had I been just “chill.” Fuck being chill. Yes, twice a week is cheaper, and probably better on the lungs as well.
I’ve been reading, finished two Neal Stephenson books, and just finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, and I read an old-timey Tin-Tin comic today called “Prisoners of the Sun.” Reading books really is one of the best fucking things about life. I don’t know why more people don’t get into it. It will change your life in ways quite similar to extended travel in developing countries, it’s cheaper too, and easier on the lungs.
Why is it that whenever I get sloppy and lazy in my life, friends and family seem to come out of the woodwork to bring me back up, as if they’re rewarding me for slacking off and being a pain in their asses. I don’t know that I deserve this but I’m grateful for it. My friends and family inspire me. They make me want to be a good person, a great person! …a better person at least.
Speaking of, I’m following my friends, Lloyd and Aleister, to Bangalore, then to Nepal for a couple weeks, where they’ve rented a booth at a body-art/modification convention. Should be an extraordinary trip! I hear internet is plentiful in Nepal, so hopefully I’ll be able to post a couple blog updates. Cheers ! =)
I know Weird Tales Magazine continues to print, but, for the most part, I’d taken the Weird Fiction genre to have more or less passed on into the Outer realms with Lovecraft. Then I discovered this weirdo, Damien Walter, an accomplished journalist and Weird Fiction author who writes for UK’s The Guardian and, like me, has fond recollections of the amazing Milton Bradley board game Hero Quest.
Walter recently launched a contest that’s drawn out the most freakish of the freaks from the literary woodwork. Perhaps I’ve finally found my tribe.