Tag: Psilocybin mushrooms
eXisTenTiaLNihLisT revisits the bucolic cultural mindscape of Maine with turkeys, coyotes, crows, deers, elks, pocupines, Native American spirits, cosmic adventures and nude astral projection.
Adult Themes of Sex, Drugs and Language; Part One of Two.
“The drive here, especially getting lost off the New Jersey Turnpike, was enough to produce tears of frustration, and entering downtown New York from The Holland Tunnel at Jersey City into a crowded uncertain area, all made the quest for solitude amazingly intense.”
This revelation was near the end of the beginning of an adventure that would transform my existence on the Planet Earth as profoundly as being told Pluto would no longer be considered a planet.
Just because some earthbound scientific assholes could convince other scholars that evidence proved that even from millions of miles away the human race is composed of vain, ignorant and self-centered homo saps who reconfigure history just because no one with an eraser can stop them.
Maine might as well have been the distance from earth to Pluto as it was to the sticky hellhole of West Ala. When I traveled to Bridgton the first time it was as surreal as astral projecting nude into the Guggenheim, but more on that later.
September, 2002: Being a connoisseur of fantasy I imagined myself one day in Maine, a nearly famous southern author who moved far from the maddening knife blade in the Heart of Dixie that was, and still is, West Ala.
With my Rand McNally map of the United States, here went a forty nine year gentleman with a thousand dollars in cash, over a hundred books, hundreds of compact discs of music covering every genre except Gospel and Country and Western, a bottle of Courvoisier VSOP, three quarters of an ounce of primo grass, enough clothing to open a garment factory and a cat urine-soaked Sony Vaio laptop computer, on a trek that would pass from the central to eastern time zone as he crossed 14 states, 1,500 miles over 25 hours to somewhere he had never traveled.
A passage from madness to enlightenment, away from tobacco drooling rednecks in pickup trucks, sporting Confederate Flags and dubious intellectual Baby on Board signage to the ambiguity that he could leave behind any semblance of those murky perceptions of one of the last erudite southerners to leave the temporal-warped State of Mind of West Ala and plant his seed in pastoral Maine before returning immaculately conceptualized.
He, was, of course, Me.
When my aunt, Virginia Flora Bridgewater, died, at age 82, in March of 2002, I was heartbroken. Virginia had always supported my writing and dreams of being a published author and I was even more inconsolable that I never finished my novel before her death. Even the anomalous scenario did not faze her because; dREaMbanditS was as uncharacteristically different from anything she had ever read of my prose. It was surreal and dark and filled with symbolic nightmare imagery that could make William S. Burroughs, Hunter S. Thompson and Oscar Wilde convert to Christianity. Heh, heh. They would have enjoyed my devolution from timorous essayist to matured epochal madman.
Db is a work that began in the late 1980s as a very short story and morphed into a massive work that at times makes me think I am channeling Marcel Proust’s masterworks through a McCormick Reaper while reassembling “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” while under the influence of Peyote laced with Absinthe and Flintstone’s vitamins.
With a story that hybridized from simple fourth dimensional baseball science fiction riff to sleep thieving industrial spies through myriad permutations, it finally coalesced into a Dadaist-fused diatribe that pitted realist against illusory, with malevolent dream researchers, morphing gender benders, hallucinatory experiences through drugs and Alzheimer’s disease, dark matter, cosmic energy, doppelgangers and dangerous bikers.
I knew I had finally mixed together a concoction that would be as intentionally convoluted as it was thoroughly mesmerizing.
Virginia often read excerpts and would generally sit, jaw agape, at my style and espouse her certainty that I had a story that would shock as much as it would entertain. This from a reader of the Agatha Christie who done it, James Herriot and recipe books. DBs contained more profanity than in a glossary of slang and enough sexual perversity to get me banned by the Catholic Board of Decency. Being Jewish, I naturally did not give a dollop of for fuck’s sake about interdict labeling and essentially would embrace it.
My fantasies persistently thrust reality into the sphere of opportunity yet I never believed I would actually travel to Maine; it would be at the state line between New Hampshire and the uppermost part of the continental United States before I burst into joyous tears. I was finally conscious of the reality of reaching a joie de vivre that would fulfill a dream started in a 1974 journalism course at Southern Miss.
My favorite professor, and advisor, Dr. Gene Wiggins used Bangor, Maine as a reference so often one would have expected he had lived there. In fact, although I knew him personally, and visited him frequently after I graduated, it would not be until I called him on my cell phone, while I was sitting in front of a Bangor Border’s Book Store that he would confess he had never been to Maine!
What the fuck?
I was shocked but also still enthusiastic because had it not been for his singular mythical reference would I have considered going to Maine? I only traveled to Bangor, in all honesty, so I could call him and tell him I was there! He was elated for me and knew that I could possibly be the only student who ever traveled so far so many years later due to his journalistic example:
“Say you’re the editor of say, the Bangor Daily News….”
Gene used Bangor so often that when he would lead up to it the classroom was often collectively in unison eulogizing: “BANGOR, MAINE” as if we were all in the Jim Jones cult and about to take a sip of poisonous Kool Aid we were so indoctrinated into the mythos. He would also become a character in the novel, naturally a professor, but rather than in journalism I merged him from the Fourth Estate into Astrophysics!
9.21.02: Aaah, another breeze. Today is short sleeve weather. Seventies and spreads of misty white clouds pasted across the sky at various locations. When I finally got out of bed today it was already warm at the triangular regions on my second story front side bedroom. I must accordingly get up from bed on the right side for the left side would render me unconscious for several seconds to half a day.
To digress, finding a place to go for a vacation is one matter but looking for somewhere unique to travel for inspiration and creative writing is another issue altogether. One Saturday morning in May, 2002, I sat on my bed reading my emails and came across one from Discovery which listed retreats. It linked to Shaw guides and the next thing I knew I was planning, as pure fantasy, mind you, where I would go if I could go anywhere. Maine had not yet entered my brain but was about to when I clicked on FifthHouseLodge thinking it was a cool name since it evoked the creative house.
Hmmm, and where might this place be?
Well, fuck me.
Probably the most expensive place on this list. Pipe dreams cost nothing so why not look anyway, I pondered? Any writer will confess that when it comes to our craft we can become enthusiastic without much effort. It is in our gene splice that we create and destroy mentally; construction and deconstruction is a joy, and curse, as we create thematic jewels from the mine that is our minds. After visiting the site and considering that choice between writing workshops and a small cabin behind the lodge I decided to email the owner, Joan, and fully expecting her to either, a best, not reply, or at worst, tell me the cabin was booked through the end of the century.
Within an hour I had a reply and learned the cabin was $250.00 a week and that it was available through the end of September. I visualized Virginia urging me to take the risk and before the weekend was over I had tentatively selected the last two weeks of September figuring it would take so long to get there I would need a week just to find my inner creative muse; if at all.
As the summer came to an end, I had made numerous preparations; someone to watch over my mother, who was already in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and someone else to look after my apartment business (I had a manager of sorts) and park cars during the Alabama Crimson Tide home football games in my gravel lot. I wisely had mailed the usual tailgaters and told them of my plans so they would know why I was not going to be there for the first two home games.
When the time was upon me to pack and load my 1997 Plum colored Grand Prix with enough possessions to feel comfortable I left a few days earlier to visit Tala, who at the time was living in a section of South Carolina that was near Interstate 95, which I had decided would be my primary highway. After some rest from the first 8 hours of my trip, I was ready to take on the arduous and unknown expedition up the eastern seaboard.
For the first year, I made reservations in New Haven, Connecticut; the next two I would drive non-stop, but more on that in part two.
I never endorse taking drugs; however, I was a teenager in the late 1960s and in college in the early 1970s and would be lying if I did not admit that for this trip I felt compelled to have a stash. I envisioned a low-budget version of Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and while I would not overwhelm myself with amyls, ether or cocaine, at this time I still smoked reefer and had scored an ounce of relatively potent homegrown from a friend of a friend’s brother. With plenty of EZWider rolling papers and a small one-hit pipe from my college days, which was more antique from that epoch than useful smoking device, I was ready. I left the rest at home and aside from wishing I had some freeze-dried Psilocybin mushrooms, for a mystical experience at the Winter Solstice, I felt confident I had more than enough chemical dependency in the event I couldn’t write and wanted to get stoned for two weeks in a pastoral setting!
I was careful to time my smoking cycles with the highway patrol shift changes and coffee breaks and functioned well, at least until I raced that fucking Lamborghini in mountainous Pennsylvania state!
What a lucky bastard.
Older chubby-faced guy, with thinning hair, seated next to a younger attractive redheaded woman; top down, cruising at 90 mph with a General Motors product speeding along side him! Talk about a surprised motherfucker; he looked at me like I was insane, and then he saw the joint dangling from my lips, and he shifted into hyperspace.
“No way is this young chap going to embarrass me in front of Chloe while she is fondling my swollen testicles.” (She just looked like a sexy Chloe, what can I say?) “I’ve got tickets to the New York Jets game, time is precious and this god damned Viagra is wearing off!”
“Where do you think you’re going?” I mumbled, as I took a deep toke and put the joint in the ashtray. “You’ve got a boner, haven’t you?”
The next thing I knew, we were, as expected, making other motorists wish they had taken Amtrack as we warp-drove at incredibly brainless speeds. After a few miles, my internal cop-think kicked in and I slowed from 120 to 65, pulled behind him, and flashed my high beams three times. He slowed down as well and it would be mere nanoseconds before we both passed, three highway patrol cars, on the right shoulder, that had stopped a van which was being searched. I knew the outcome; I get busted for possession of pot, reckless driving, speeding and being from West Ala and he “gets off” with a warning after Chloe polishes their badges.
In that shining moment when his Viagra wore off, he raised his right hand and waved at me in a manner that I interpreted as “Whew, thank you!”
Later, I passed him, as he exited, and we all three smiled and acknowledged we were all lucky: we didn’t die, kill anyone or get busted and the Jets game was Sunday, not Friday evening so there was still time to pop another happiness pill!
I rode in a Countach in 1973, in New Orleans and for years expected my first purchase after becoming a famous novelist would be a Lamb; a-ha; nothing like owning a $250,000 (that was then) 12-C car that can exceed 200 mph on the cock-eyed southern interstate system.
I had a bottle of Courvoisier VSOP, some red wines (white gives me migraine when it doesn’t cause diarrhea), some bourbon and several varieties of cigars. I also had a massive number of books and compact discs; the books, with topics ranging from reference, dreams, world mythology and scientific texts commingling with classical literature from the two Williams Shakespeare and Burroughs, Hunter S. Thompson, Anais Nin, Plato, Socrates, Barbara Walker, symbolism and well, let’s admit that I preferred taking nearly my entire extensive library knowing already I was going to be in an ether-cell phone-free zone of rural Maine.
Perceptive diversity; I never knew what text I needed until I was in the midst of inspiration, and I had chosen astutely.
There were enough musical genres to besiege the average listener; classical, big band, psychedelic, Gregorian and Byzantine chants, voodoo and the expected favorites, led by Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, Blue Oyster Cult, Enigma, Harry Nilsson, the Alan Parsons Project, 10cc, 10 Years After, Pink Floyd, Ultimate Spinach, Kraftwerk and The James Gang. And those were in the front seat! I had so much music that I often played nothing because I couldn’t make a choice.
And what was playing when I was racing the Lamb?
I’m fairly certain Edgar Froese never intended Tandream’s music to be played at warp speed, although I wished I had cued Kraftwerk’s Autobahn instead.
The drive was fairly ordinary, aside from the reckless driving; North Carolina and Virginia were sort of tedious and rush hour in DC was a pain in the ass but Boston was a scare, caught in a massive traffic jam in an underground tunnel imagining it collapsing and everyone doing a “Mothman Prophecy” climax into the water.
By the time I got into late night and got lost on the New Jersery turnpike – I suppose that never happens to anyone(?!) – I was deeply caffeinated and when I finally made it through the Holland Tunnel from Jersey City into Manhattan I was wired for sound. Where was I-95 E and the George Washington Bridge for fuck’s sake? It was the Labor Day Weekend and I was so tired and frustrated that I decided to break the cardinal sin of driving lost on the road: I spied a parked NYC Police Car and decided to ask for directions.
I got from my car, Rand Mac at my side, like a typical dumb tourist, and I crossed a busy street in a wide angle so the fuzz would see that I was only armed with a road map and not shoot me for walking up on them from the rear. The officer was very helpful and answered what I believed was the most stupid question I would ask on this trip:
“Pardon me, officer, but could you tell me how far I am from I-95 E and the George Washington Bridge?”
“Where are you headed?” he inquired from his open window in the squad car.
“New Haven and then Maine.”
He pointed out the window at an entrance ramp that was about 100 feet from us!
“You got lost on the Jersey Turnpike, didn’t you?”
Fuck a bunch of mushrooms! He was not only helpful but psychic.
“Yes, sir, for about an hour.”
He laughed but not in a mocking but understandable tone.
“At least I know how to get to Trenton and Pittsburgh now,” I told him as I thanked him and continued my journey.
It would be after 1:30 a.m. before I finally saw the lights of downtown New Haven. I arrived in time to listen as the hotel manager, a nice young black woman, was advising a black transvestite to not go to a local bar after having been harassed moments before I walked in the door. I chatted with the two for a few minutes and was given a downstairs room where I could park my full auto nearly inside the front door of my comforable room.
The next day, fresh and ready, I finished the final five hours and arrived in Portland at 4:30 where I stopped for gas and to ask how far I was from Bridgton (only another 40 miles) and was surprised when the cashier told me I was from Alabama! Hmmm, I didn’t figure he had seen my car tag; it turned out that although he had lived in Maine for the past 17 years he recognized my slight accent because he was originally from next door Georgia!
So much for getting my state of mind out of the state of West Ala!
The final drive was a bit tiring because I had advised I would be in at noon and not five thirty. When I finally pulled up to the drive into 5HL, Joan was there to greet me, as she mowed the lawn in front of her residence. “I was getting worried about you,” she said and I explained briefly about the night before and how New Jersey left me so tired I slept late and did not get on the road until late.
The minute we entered the cabin I felt like I had been there before. It was a wonderful near-death experience as she talked about how to start a fire in the fire place and letting me know where I could get some groceries; a nearby health food store became my xanadu and when I finally began unloading the car I was ready to write!
One particularly interesting aside; Joan asked me if I would have a problem being alone surrounded by the forest (cabin fever) and if I would have difficulty dealing with an area she claimed was full of spirits!
I said no and explained that I embraced the unknown and hoped for a mystical experience, to which she replied: “You’ll be happy here, then because the woods are alive with spirits!”
Between unloads, I would stop briefly, take notes while looking across the huge field of grass towards distant mountains, and after a few minutes, I fell to my knees and began crying like a youngster who had just lost his favorite toy.
I had arrived in Maine. Somewhere in the cosmos, the spirit of Virginia was proud that I had made this journey and later when I called Tala and then the care giver for my mother, I paused to watch the darkness fall and indeed felt friendly spirits beckoning me to visit, which I will detail in Part II.
Although I had no idea what the next 13 days held in store I was prepared to let the Goddesses of the Muse take hold of my hands and lead me into a vast and uncharted new frontier of consciousness.
I would not be disappointed…
Part II Coming May 30th with astral projection in the buff and later, in August: animals, a night sky beyond description, nude astral projection, an unexpected computer breakdown (luckily my Luddite impulses made me bring a manual typewriter) and writing, writing, writing with a brief trip to the gate of Stephen King’s house to wave at the security cameras!