Um, what exactly is being said here? I can’t tell if this is tongue in cheek or real. Is it the dry, British wit or my wet northern head? It looks like he’s saying we should police reading. I’m tired and disoriented and in a rather run down HoJo. Someone help me.
If a good book alters the way we see the world, a dangerous one changes how we treat it. My own problems began with James Baldwin’s Another Country. At the beginning the jazz man, Rufus, is at rock bottom. Things could not be worse. A few pages later they pick up. He is smoking marijuana while enjoying the favours of a pretty, rich girl on a balcony. I was a virgin who had never inhaled; I could see things would have to change.
Next I fell in love with Coleridge: Early Visions, by Richard Holmes. Near fatal. Of course, it does not exactly glamourise opium – but I loved poetry, cliff tops and the sea. I longed to bind it all together, to crackle with perceptions and stride out, reading meaning in mazy air. I attacked my mother’s poppies with a razor blade. Wrong sort of poppies, fortunately, but Holmes had turned me on to the other world, and helped to propel me into the depths of an English Lit degree. If that were not bad enough, volume two, Coleridge: Darker Visions (the bit where he goes to pieces, thanks to laudanum) did not appear for several years – too late Holmes, too late!
I must have watched an hour and a half of TV last night, but I can’t even remember what I saw. I think and old Simpsons was in there. Common recovery relapse. You’d think after 6 years, the monkey would get off your back.