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September 26th, 2012 / 4:30 pm
Craft Notes

Constrain my writing.

From Rick Strassman’s book DMT: The Spirit Molecule. This is the way a DMT test subject named “Willow” described her experience on the psychedelic. I’ve added emphasis to the sentence that struck me:

The other side is very, very different. There are no words, body, or sounds there to limit things. I first saw deep space, white with stars. Then there was this multidimensional experience starting. It was alive. It was the aliveness that I heard.

And here, a quote from Terence McKenna recently reTumbled by Tao Lin:

Culture replaces authentic feeling with words. As an example of this, imagine an infant lying in its cradle, and the window is open, and into the room comes something, marvelous, mysterious, glittering, shedding light of many colors, movement, sound, a trans-formative hierophany of integrated perception and the child is enthralled and then the mother comes into the room and she says to the child, “that’s a bird, baby, that’s a bird,” instantly the complex wave of the angel peacock iridescent trans-formative mystery is collapsed, into the word. All mystery is gone, the child learns this is a bird, this is a bird, and by the time we’re five or six years old all the mystery of reality has been carefully tiled over with words. This is a bird, this is a house, this is the sky, and we seal ourselves in within a linguistic shell of dis-empowered perception.

I have a troubled relationship with both these quotes.

Let’s accept that words are now and always will be an imperfect way of relaying “authentic feelings.” That words are limited and limiting. That because writers write with words, they are limited by the imperfect work words to to convey feelings and experiences.

Let’s accept that.

Because I think I accept that. I think I embrace that. I think I prefer that. I like being constrained by the imperfection of our language to convey “authentic feelings.” I like having trouble getting across to you whatever it is I want to get across to you. I want very much to be forced to communicate with you using a series of squiggly lines broken apart by space, and I want every separate segment of those squiggly lines to be a little box filled with your meanings and my meanings, and I want those meanings to sometimes overlap and sometimes not overlap. I want all the authentic things to be stuffed haphazardly into that little box. I want meanings and authentic feelings to spill out. To fall to the bottom of the page as a footnote maybe. And those little boxes to be overfilled and spilling.

Keep me off DMT. Replace my authentic feelings with words. That’s what I want. I want to spend my life at a computer fighting an impossible fight. Fighting to get you to understand me entirely. And knowing you never, ever will. The struggle makes me happy.

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Image of the author’s cat on drugs taken by the author. Cat’s drugs provided by the author.

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