We totally meant to have an entire new Andrew Struthers book for you today, but as the ganja gods say, “no effort when tea is smoked.” In his defence, wrangling stories from over a hundred potheads is like herding cats that are also potheads. The book will be here soon — we’re saying June at this point — but in the meantime here’re 797 words, including ten from P. K. Dick, from Struthers’s fourth, coming book The Sacred Herb / The Devil’s Weed, now just two months overdue.
Last spring my Protestant work ethic took a hit when two pot dispensaries opened on my street. They call pot the Great Unmotivator, and sure enough, summer was long and hot, I went swimming instead of writing, by Fall I began to run out of cash on a regular basis, and when winter rolls around I desperately pitch a book idea to my publisher. But he doesn’t bite, so I pull a second book out of my ass, like a rabbit from a top hat, surprising even myself:
“What about a book on marijuana?”
He says, “How soon can you turn that around?”
Ka-ching! We agree the perfect launch date is April 20, or 4:20, but it’s already December, and no one works through Christmas except hedge fund managers and elves, so on January 1 I realize I have 29 days to write 50,000 words, and it can’t be done, especially blitzed, so I don the mantle of artistic responsibility, stub out, and step up.
Two days later the mantle begins to chafe, and by Day Three I’m back to smoking my brains out and hoping some of them will land on the page, then I recall how Tom Sawyer tricks his friends into whitewashing his Aunt’s fence, which inspires me to Skype a hundred potheads from my Facebook feed and get them to write the book for me, and it works – I nearly make my deadline, which feat I hope will dispel the myth of pot as the Great Unmotivator.
But the book comes out as one long rambling sentence. I mean, does it even make sense? You be the judge. The jury. The Executioner.
* * *
THE DEVIL’S WEED
“I know a lot of people who think God sleeps in pot.”
— Phillip K. Dick
I’m curled up at the bottom of a hippie hot tub in Tuff City, breathing through a yard of rubber hose that once connected the heater to the propane tank, having just ingested what Terrence McKenna calls a heroic dose of THC baked into a chocolate cake, and embarked upon that inward voyage Joseph Campbell calls the hero’s journey, although I ate the cake by mistake, so technically it’s more of what my big Swedish pal Martin would call a total fuckup.
But it’s too late to worry, my only chance is to relax and float downstream, which is problematic thanks to my Protestant work ethic, something I can’t just ditch because I’m from Scotland, where we invented the idea, along with TV, asphalt and soccer hooligans. Scotland is a culture divided against itself, because the State is Christian but the people are Celts. The Christian Heaven is a gated community with a controlled entrance, like a pub with a bouncer, but the Celtic Otherworld is all around us, only it’s invisible, like a dope ring behind a line of trees, or a group of friends smoking from a gravity bong in a basement. At any moment a Celt might turn a bend in a country lane, or lose the path in the woods, and find themselves suddenly surrounded by Others: brownies, bogles, kelpies. There’s no shortage of tales where a farmer or small business owner or possibly some sort of banker, just so long as he has a three-pointed hat and a horse, tarries too long at the brightly-lit pub and on his ride home stumbles through a ring of toadstools in a field, where fey jigs reel him in and he dances wildly ’round till dawn, when he finds twenty years have passed and he’s old. Such is the faerie ring.
Substitute dope for faerie, and you have my life in Clayoquot, which I visited for the May long weekend when I was twenty-two and filled with salad plans of conquering the world with books and movies, and won’t be leaving for three more years, when I’ll be pushing forty.
No matter – the first thing to slacken when you get this gooned is the timeline. Not Time itself, which rolls implacable as a millstone, but the line of time, the illusion of future and past, that useful fiction we must soon abandon along with democracy, capitalism and gender roles. Not Gender itself, which will continue to stuff us willy-nilly into its crude slots at birth, but gender roles, and Mary Jane might be the handmaid to our tale of cultural collapse. Don’t get me wrong — it’ll be a disaster, we’re poised to junk every institution that makes escape from brute existence possible, and if there’s one thing better than getting back to Nature it’s getting away from Her, a secret I learned from living seven years with no electricity or plumbing, in the hippie commune on the edge of town.