Some say it is self-indulgent to write about oneself but there is nothing more self-indulgent than writing.
Literature, Drugs, Buddhism, philosophy, psychoanalysis, staggering worries that manifest as a concrete fear of one’s own mind and lots of traveling… through this book you journey with a man who is older, but none the wiser. Travel extending through two years, trips that could take “a month at most” for others but for our narrator it’s journeying at a leisurely pace yet his mind is the real hive of activity. What are you to do, to think, to be when you are approaching middle age, and the wildness of youth is expired? Pondering the life and work of writer’s like Bataille, whose house and grave he visits, whom he once read with ‘great fascination’ and now feels a little sick of, he has moments filled with the sheer terror of being alive, of aging, of realizing he is the same as ever, that time hasn’t cured all.
He feels he is drifting, possibly fated for a lonely life. Addicted to literature, sex, drugs, and alcohol he has his own WHY to live, for now, he is following the footsteps of other artists like himself, in search of meaning. Not any less or more haunted by madness then they. Through mind expanding substances, one of the most psychedelic drugs DMT, our narrator is searching to understand the purpose of existence or to throw off meaning and accept there is no core self. (Why DMT, you might ask, because people use it for it’s hallucinogenic purposes, inducing visions, alterations in perceptions, it is truly mind bending). If there is no meaning, why write? He is wobbly and yet darkly funny and intelligent, always questioning, likely philosophizing himself into irrational moments of terror but at other times full of pure euphoria. The narrator opens up about the bleakest moments, the wasteland parts of his brain, the human weaknesses and fears that lead us to myths, philosophy, religion, sex, drugs or any escape. It isn’t only the artists that feel ravaged by time, by the curious journey of being human, but certainly they will search ever corner of the world to find the beating heart of understanding, either to embrace it or deny it. If they have to ingest every substance, shuck all sexual inhibitions, and bum about the lesser traveled places, so be it, it’s the artist’s job!
He is nihilistic and witty but the drug theme, it’s not new material. I think it’s because I have read a lot of drug fueled stories in my time. A person who is already struggling with obsession and instability generally isn’t going to come out of mind altering highs for the better in life. Yet it’s makes sense why they reach for the drugs. Maybe as a man society does keep him from “acting on his violent urges”, and like it as not, men still lust after all those “untouchable women”, objectify them, likely easier to do if you are ‘elsewhere’ and hey, if there are establishments offering up youth well, maybe it makes sense why so many relationships are wrecked ships behind him. He certainly struggles internally with his baser urges whether it’s ‘acceptable’ or not. As a woman I read such encounters cringing, with such writing you don’t have to imagine what any leering man was thinking when he looked too long at you. However, what is easy for most of us to understand is our own minds turning on us. “You get spooked, you stop trusting yourself.” No one can say our narrator doesn’t reveal his fears, and shamelessly indulges while on the verge of mental collapse. It is self-indulgent but we often are when we’re lost and trying to figure out which way is up and who the hell we are.
Does he really have a purpose, he doesn’t really know, only anywhere else is better than being still. I struggled through some of it but carried on. It had moments I could relate to and others not so much but it will have it’s audience.
Publication Date: March 31, 2020