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February 4th, 2006

Writers on drugs

Yesterday I picked up Mary Woronov's Swimming Underground, which is an account of her years with Warhol and The Factory, and I couldn't put it down. Yes, Woronov writes very well (I do also like some of her fiction), and yes, I adore her as an actress ("I am Miss Evelyn Togar" is one of my all-time favorite line readings EVER), but I have a real weakness for these 1960s-era memoirs of drug-hazed orgies and creative excess. Give me something about The Doors or the New York drug scene, and I'm enthralled. I'm not sure why, other than to say it's about as far away from me as you can get. I'm a bit of control freak (stop laughing, Ricky!), without a trace of addictive personality. I've never had the least bit of interest in doing drugs. I don't believe they make anyone more creative. If you're creative when you're high, then you'll still be creative when you're straight - and you'll be more productive.

Ironically enough, I can beat anybody when it comes to how young they were when they first tripped:

I was six.

I'd had the flu, mom took me to the doctor, he prescribed antibiotics...unfortunately that's not what the pharmacy gave us. Whatever it was, it was basically LSD for me; I spent the next twelve hours watching my mom's sweater morph into a little wizened monkey, and seeing the car antenna (as mom rushed me back to the doctor) turn into Pinocchio. At least it was a good trip. We could probably have gotten rich from suing that pharmacist, but these were America's pre-litigation-obsessed glory days.

I've often wondered if that incident exercised any influence over my later work. Did it leave me with the feeling that reality could be twisted, was fluid, was unpredictable? Perhaps. Like I said above, I've never had any desire in following up the experience. Heck, even alcohol is likely to just give me a sinus headache after one beer.

I'll just stick to living vicariously through these memoirs, I guess.