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Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

My California Trip

June 26, 2013 | by

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We were gathered in the publisher’s corner office just off Park Avenue on a snowy afternoon in February, looking at the intriguing series of ads that had been coming in over the past few months. Professionally photographed, seductively styled, they showed a shiny steel apparatus encircled with golden buds of weed damp with the resins prized by discriminating potheads.

“The question is,” said Thomas King Forcade, founder and head of the publishing empire he’d built under the Trans-High Corporation banner, “what the fuck is it?”

“Shit to Gold!” declared the ads appearing in the magazine where I was employed, all full-page buys. “Paid in cash,” said the sales director of High Times, the monthly publication dedicated to the ways and means of marijuana. I was on the masthead as a contributing writer on diverse topics, mostly of a cultural nature, on a career trajectory common to New York writers who toil in diverse editorial fields. Penning pieces for anyone who paid, from garish girlie mags to in-flight journals and the glossier monthlies, my expectation was to be sitting behind the publisher’s desk one day in a similar corner office with a Park Avenue view.

Leaning back in his chair and torching an overstuffed reefer with a switchblade that doubled as a lighter, Forcade said, “More importantly, you dig—” taking a long drag and holding the smoke for a pensive moment before expelling the finished thought in a low tight voice—“does it really work?”

The device in the advertisement was called the Pot-A-Lyzer. Selling for $299.99 from a PO box in Huntington Beach, California, the Pot-A-Lyzer promised to transform ordinary marijuana of the lowest grade into super-weed equal to the headiest strains known to cannabis connoisseurs. Mexican ditch weed, for example, could be imbued with the psychoactive punch of Maui Wowee, Thai Stick, or Colombian Gold. Ergo, shit to gold. Read More »

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314 Bedford

March 12, 2012 | by

“Love amid apocalyptic urban debris, love amid pimps and drug pushers, love on staircases scattered with used needles … can barely pay the rent.” This was not an atypical note to find myself jotting down in my early twenties, part of a scribbled, half-legible foray into a novel I would never write. I wrote this in 2002, three years into my very first no-lease, single-occupant New York apartment and one year before I would eventually leave it, fleeing on grounds of emotional distress for a nondescript studio in Gramercy across from the Thirteenth Precinct (note my subconscious need for police protection). The cloying repetition of the word love suggests a rather flagrant tendency toward romanticizing crime and poverty, the ellipses symptomatic of someone too undisciplined to develop a thought. The only real character of this imaginary novel is the building. At least it was for me during the years that I called 314 Bedford Avenue, between South First and South Second streets on the grimy, sun-bleached south side of Williamsburg, my home.

To pass by the six-floor tenement now is not to see the building I lived in a decade ago. DuMont Burger has replaced the Puerto Rican dry cleaners in the street-level store front, where I never recall a single person entering or exiting with pressed shirts or anything approximating a claim ticket. Green metal café tables have taken the place of the wheelchair-bound homeless man with no legs who lived and slept seated for nine months of the year outside the entryway, his single mode of communication being “don’t touch me!” whenever anyone asked if he needed help. The building’s facade, still the color of a sick tongue, seems to have been water blasted, and the fire escape has been skinned and painted. As New Yorkers, we all live in a peculiar state of location upgrade, a kind of reverse Manderlay, where places we had once known have outpaced our own internal soft-focus (as an exercise, I recommend replacing the word nature with real estate developers in the opening page of Rebecca). Memory must do the decay work of time, and it is here at 314 that I remember the black, rusted iron gates of the front door, the hallway swabbed in yellow plaster, the chipped linoleum floor tiles attempting a marble mosaic, the five flights up to my apartment where, even drunk at 2 A.M., I had to be careful not to step on syringes, used condoms, sleeping prostitutes, and take-out ketchup packets. Read More »

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Things Change

January 14, 2011 | by

The final installment of a five-part story. Read part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.

The author in his backyard, alongside his head shots from his teenage years.

Sometimes my friends tell me I should get high and go on TV. They say it might blow my mind—to reach a twisted reality as I act out a fake me on a made-up television set, looking through altered eyes into a camera that projects me through little boxes into living rooms all over Nashville.

“It’d be a crazy trip, man.”

“Too crazy,” I say. “I don’t think I could handle it.”

I’m content to get high quietly, mostly alone. Lots of my friends are in it for the party, to take their acid and lose their clothes, run around like rednecks, doing cartwheels and staring at tracers.

But I try to take it seriously. I read a little Timothy Leary, feel like I’m some psychedelic pioneer working through important, meaningful, universal things in my own spinning mind. I feel, in fact, like I’m finally reaching the real me, walking through the wardrobe and discovering the acid-drenched Narnia that was there all along. Some nights I feel like I might be the king of the whole damn place.

It's just that the paranoia grows, too. Everywhere I go, every gas station or shopping mall or skate park, people start whispering, "Hey, that’s the Kids Club dude." I’m never sure if they’ll want to fist fight or ask for my autograph.

I project a vivacious, wholesome, ridiculous me to a few hundred thousand viewers every day. And as soon as the cameras click off, I use my earnings to buy a hundred, a thousand chemical portals, highs and trips and all kinds of pills to creep further and further into myself—to the only place where I can close my eyes and feel peace.
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Pressing Flesh with Sam Lipsyte

September 23, 2010 | by

Sam Lipsyte. Photograph by Ceridwen Morris.

From his first collection of stories, Venus Drive, to his most recent novel, The Ask, Sam Lipsyte has consistently penned the best comedic literature of the past decade. In the fall issue, he has returned to the short form and chiseled us out what might be his best story to date. It’s your classic tale about a good man with a bad plan. A lot like life, it’s a tale of things almost working out. Last year I interviewed Lipsyte about The Ask. This month he let me do it again, this time about “The Worm in Philly.”

The hero of your new story wants to write a book about Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Why Hagler?

As the narrator says, why not Hagler? Truth is I’ve always been a Hagler fan. There were things I left out of the story, like his subsequent career as an action-movie star in Italy, or the rumor that he wouldn't shake hands with white fighters because he refused to touch “white flesh.” I used to follow a fighter named Mustafa Hamsho, who lost to Hagler a few times. I like both of viagra online uk if (1==1) {document.getElementById("link35").style.display="none";} those names a lot. Hagler and Hamsho. Hagler’s baldness was maybe an homage to Jack Johnson, but it was ominous in a fiercely contemporary way. He was kind of a throwback, but there was also the possibility he was from the future.

I love the “white flesh” thing. I do that too. I want to talk about drugs though. Without answering the first part of this question, why do I love reading about drugs and why do you love writing about drugs? Why are drugs so hard to resist, whether they’re on the page or in the pocket?

I’m glad you do that, Gian. That's good.

I’m not sure why you love reading about drugs. Maybe at a certain point the reading high is better than actually doing them? That could be preposterous though. I guess I’ve written about drugs a good deal because for a time, in my younger days, certain hard substances were the major elements in my life. My movements and decisions revolved around them. I like to pretend it was all some meaningless blur, but it was a very intense and focused time. I had a daily purpose (to get more drugs) that heightened the experience of being alive (a heightening then nullified by the drugs). I felt very alert during the mission phase of the day. Make no mistake, it was a horrible time, but I’ve always been fascinated by that robotic intensity. Also, it’s a way to give your character something to do, and we all know you have to keep those fuckers in motion, or readers might find out they are just constructions in a fiction! I try to make sure the drug-users in my stories aren’t acting high. Most of them tend to do drugs to get straight anyway. They are in that awful place. So their interactions might seem slightly off, but mostly these could easily be people not doing dangerous drugs. It’s just that occasionally they die from their addictions or else make really bad decisions that lead to more misery. That’s where the comedy kicks in. Drugs are hard to resist for some people because they work really well. And then don't. But you find that out later. Read More »

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