A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING THROUGH STRANGE SEAS OF THOUGHT, ALONE


This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.



The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Friday, July 3, 2015

THOMAS DE QUINCEY

I suppose I should be upset with David Morrell for this, but as you will eventually read, it would be like blaming the weather.

I've been a fan of Morrell for years.  You may not know who he is, but you know his work.  First Blood - the first Rambo - is a Morrell book, and not even close to his best work.

I've been reading his stuff for over 30 years.  I love his earlier works, Testament is the most relentless book you will ever read, it punches you in the gut in the first 3 pages and you don't get your breath for a week after you finish the book.  Fraternity of the Stone is one of my favorite all time novels, two others followed along the same thought and characters, then came Covenant of the Flame and then, it kind of went downhill or just not as good.  He changed, I changed, who knows.

But two years ago he wrote Murder as a Fine Art and recently the sequel, Inspector of the Dead and may have created the ultimate anti hero in Thomas De Quincey.

Except, he didn't make him up.  There really was a Thomas De Quincey and now is where a person like me lands in trouble.

De Quincey was a writer in England in the early/middle 19th century.  A prolific writer as a matter of fact, and one of the more brilliant writers in history - for example, he talked about Freudian concepts of the mind, named them, 50 years before Freud came along and got all the credit, stealing much of De Quincey's work.

But what made De Quincey famous in England were two books, Confessions of an Opium Eater and Murder as a Fine Art.  Opium was a biographical work, for De Quincey was an opium addict, and his book brought forth a look into addiction that had never been seen or read for that time period.  Murder was the story of one of the first mass murder/serial killers in England and the story was so gory and real that it shocked a nation.

It also inspired Poe, who inspired Doyle to create Sherlock, which inspired Hammett, which has inspired millions of books and authors.  The True Crime genre traces to De Quincey.

And now, I've downloaded, free, on iBooks, just about everything De Quincey wrote and am reading it all.  I'm totally fascinated by the writings of this man.

And what started it, was his explanation of how he became an opium addict.  He starts telling a story of this glenn or village area of England, where many have homes, very far apart, and only seem to get together for church, auctions, etc.  This couple with 5 children, the first scandalously born out of wedlock with another man, live far off at the edge of everything.  The oldest is grown, and the parents leave one day to go to the town center for an auction, leaving four kids at home.  It begins to snow, the parents don't return, and after 3 days the oldest finally makes her way towards town, an alarm goes out, men search for the parents while others rescue the other children, parents are found dead, villagers adopt the children, money is raised so all will have a future.  Funny thing is, a future for her children, education, was what the mom wanted most in the world, and now in death, her children will get the life she always wanted them to have.  Now Wordsworth, the famous poet, though at this time is not famous, lives in village and is friends with De Quincey who often travels up from Oxford to visit.  Years later, Wordsworth hires one of those previously mentioned children to be nanny to the young 2 year old daughter, who Uncle Thomas loves dearly and is totally bewitched by because she looks so much like one of his sisters, who died when he was a child.  Well, the nanny is feeding raw carrots to the child, which you are not suppose to do, and after being told to not do so, continues, the child starts choking and while she survives is slightly brain damaged.  Well, Thomas is even more protective of his 'niece' and when ever he visits he spends all his time.

De Quincey is a student at Oxford, and first was introduced to opium at the dentist.  He has played in and out with it for 7 years, not really addicted, but maybe addicted, much like most 20 year olds today with beer or pot I would suspect.  One day he arrives home and there is a letter waiting, sealed in black wax,   Wordsworth's little girl, the light of De Quincey's eye, suffered convulsions during the night and died several days past.  De Quincey races up to the village, spends nights lying on her grave, grieving, comes back to Oxford, drops out, and gives into opium.

Now the point De Quincey makes, and believes me he does a much better job telling this story than I, but his point was is he an opium addict because he is a weak man, or was it ordained?  Look at all the links in all the chains; two of his sisters die in his youth, the parents who die after getting lost in the snowstorm headed home, the village taking in the children, one which becomes a nanny of a friend of De Quincey's, their daughter the splitting image of his dead sister, the feeding of carrots which caused convulsions which cause brain damage and probably the damage that caused the death.  What De Quincey points out is all these links, chains not ever related, that join together and if just one link is removed from any of the chains, it never happens, De Quincey speculates he never would have dropped out and got hooked.

And that is where I was hooked.  Because that is exactly what I've done a miserable job trying to describe in these blogs this uneasy feeling I have, deep in my soul, that so much of this free choice we believe in is an illusion.  That causes and effects that we are not even aware of are conspiring to smack into our lives at any moment, and there is nothing we can do about it.  There it was.

So, now, going to be reading lots of the writings of man long dead, long forgotten, until Morrell unearthed him, also got hooked, and is now writing novels based on De Quincey.  And I highly recommend you read these novels.  Morrell is famous for his research, and the picture he paints with words of 19th century England will make you feel like you are living there while you read.


A saxophone someplace far off played
As she was walking on by the arcade
As the light bust through a-beat-up shade where he was waking up
She dropped a coin into the cup of a blind man at the gate
And forgot about a simple twist of fate.

He woke up the room was bare
He didn't see her anywhere
He told himself he didn't care pushed the window open wide
Felt an emptiness inside to which he just could not relate
Brought on by a simple twist of fate.

He hears the ticking of the clocks
And walks along with a parrot that talks
Hunts her down by the waterfront docks where the sailers all come in
Maybe she'll pick him out again how long must he wait
One more time for a simple twist of fate.

People tell me it's a sin
To know and feel too much within
I still believe she was my twin but I lost the ring
She was born in spring but I was born too late
Blame it on a simple twist of fate.


Bob Dylan

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