Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Gold-Colored Equation

My short story, The Sun Temple, is being expanded into a full-length novel—soon to be available in both print and e-book formats. Here's a sample chapter:

The Public Nuisance 
Steadfast in my conviction that "the true living Dionysus is hiding in the hemp plant, not the wine bottle," I once again seek guidance from the religious properties of the Flowers—watching as Sunlight explodes in an ecstatic corner of The Old Battery, and I enjoy the perfect verticality of the hour.
Arising, I move languidly through this gold-colored equation as if following the dictates of an ancient mind, undoubtedly presenting a most strange appearance and perhaps causing certain people to ask, "Is he among the prophets?" 
But there is another segment of the public that views me in an entirely different light. Instead of perceiving me as a courageous psychonaut and spiritual seeker, this group takes me for a skulking, heavy-lidded malingerer, casting his baleful energies and disaffected stares in every direction. Instead of a scientifically minded ethno-botanist worthy of admiration, this group sees only the outcast, the riff-raff, the furtive drug addict who insists on displaying his filthy habits in public parks in plain sight of respectable families intent only on a pleasant outing.
I am forced to conclude that, alongside my well-deserved reputation as a religious devotee, I also possess a flourishing, parallel career as a member of that despised sub-class: the Public Nuisance.
The most dismaying aspect of all this is that I do not entirely disagree with this opinion.
I try to offset this unfortunate perception by the employ of various subterfuges and camouflages: for instance, I will sometimes carry several scholarly-looking books under my arm (perhaps a volume of DeQuincey's Confessions, or Gautier's Hashish Club, or even Patanjali's Yoga Sutras), in an attempt to pass myself off as a serious man—an erudite man of learning.
But these totems—these counterfeit badges of respectability—possess only a feeble magic, and the overwhelming impression is still delivered by my cringing, disagreeable countenance and suspicious body language. No mere book—even if I were to stagger around under the weight of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare—can ever offset this enormous disadvantage.
Besides, what was I doing sunning myself like a dandy on the Promenade during work hours—day after day—as if I had no Earthly cares—or was a man of independent means? Why didn't I have a job?
The sad fact is that I have never held up under prolonged scrutiny—or any scrutiny, for that matter.
If a man is successful or accomplished in life, it shines from him in various ways—both strong and subtle—both physically and subconsciously, and along certain invisible psychic channels. It's just the way things are. I, on the other hand, telegraph nothing but uncertainty, trepidation, ambivalence, and a certain dull hostility…as I continue to violate the natural order of things…
But I tire of this abject self-flagellation: I am the Soul of the Park! A dark and gold-colored child of the Sun!
 “So that God and man should be in good rapport—with hellebore, cannabis, and lupine you will rub him.”

cannabis   ///   psychedelic   ///   sun-cult

1 comment:

  1. You mention De Quincey. It's a long time since I read his Confessions, so I cannot analyze why, but your writing in this excerpt reminds me of them; or perhaps Poe. As for the Yoga Sutrasit's been even longer; but it's an inspired touch to mention this triad of books.

    And I also love the contrast between "this gold-coloured equation" as the narrator's interior life, and the outsider's perception of him as "a public nuisance".

    If this standard of writing is maintained through a significant fraction of the book, along with the antique tone of its subjectivity, you will make a splash - as soon as the world discovers it.

    I guess it will cost a few dozen review copies sent out to the right places.