I once took part in a lively online discussion about the invaluable assistance of employing mind-altering substances to enhance the creation of one’s art, a discussion that was compelled by my posting the following quote:
“See, I think drugs have done some good things for us. If you don’t think drugs have done good things for us then do me a favor. Go home tonight and take all of your records, tapes and all your CD’s and burn them. Because, you know all those musicians who made all that great music that’s enhanced your lives throughout the years? Real fucking high on drugs, man.” — Bill Hicks
As for me, I tend to believe that altering one’s consciousness — by whatever means works for each individual — is an integral part of what it means to be a human being. We have done so since the beginning of time — this root, that weed, those mushrooms, that fermented fruit juice, those 60 seconds spent spinning around on the summer grass when you are 5 years old, or dragging over a chair and climbing up to sit on the refrigerator when you are 8, just to see what the world looks like from a different vantage point.
And if the freeing of your mind through such tactics helps you achieve what you wish to achieve, helps you see what you need to see, helps you create what you are compelled to create, or helps you survive what you need to fucking survive, then we will do it…because it is in our nature to do so. It’s a mathematical certainty, my friends. The young will experiment, indulge, overindulge, and eventually learn their limitations; they will learn or they won’t survive. That’s how nature works. Heartbreaking and tragic though it may be, that’s the reality of the situation.
As for me, though I certainly spent the years before I had babies with a cold, frosty one in my hand or glad-handling a baggie in a bathroom stall at The Wild Blue, I don’t partake anymore — but not because I am against doing so. I just no longer need the filter, the impetus, the refuge, or the pose — TIME and TRUTH ARE ENOUGH TO CARRY MY FATASS NOW. I am who I am and I require shelter from NOTHING. Bring it on, I say — the past, the present, the future.
BRING IT ALL THE FUCK ON.
I now insist on being PRESENT in this life…through all of it — the horror, the ecstasy, and especially the precious mundane. As a writer, a chronicler, a witness, I NEED to gaze at it, feel it, smell it, taste it, savor it, juggle it, kick it in the taco, sway through it like a gentle manatee, run my fingers over its surface, carve my initials into it, make out with it, or even scrape it off the bottom of my shoe — but to do this, I HAVE TO BE PRESENT.
And aside from all that, whenever I lament the fact that I never got to drop acid, be a tree, or bellow hallucinogenic dirges into a mailbox with my teenage trip sisters, my husband, Gregory, always smiles, shakes his head, and tells me, “You don’t need drugs, honey, BECAUSE YOU SEE THE WORLD LIKE A PERSON ON ACID EVERY SINGLE DAY OF YOUR LIFE. For someone with a mind like yours, drugs would be redundant.”
Indeed. I feel like a tree.