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Altered States

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

One Hand Clapping

I studied Ram Dass’s spiritual odyssey as if it were a map to some mysterious continent whose existence I’d only recently discovered. A year earlier, I’d taken LSD for the first time; I, too, had experienced a radical shift in consciousness as I’d glimpsed my true self, and tasted the glory at the heart of creation.

By Sy Safransky May 1998
The Sun Interview

Out Of The Ashes: Violence And Its Aftermath

An Interview With Judith Herman

Once you’ve seen, up close, the evil human beings are capable of, you’re not going to see the world, other people, or even yourself the same way again. Those of us who’ve never had such an experience might imagine how brave or cowardly we would be in extreme situations, but people who’ve been exposed to those situations know what they did and didn’t do. And, almost inevitably, they failed to live up to some expectation they had of themselves.

By Richard Marten May 1998
Readers Write

Mirrors

Mescaline, step aerobics, Pike’s Peak

By Our Readers May 1998
Quotations

Sunbeams

He’s not the finest character that ever lived. But he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He’s not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person.

Arthur Miller

September 1997
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Eric, Recovering Wino

The jail, the acid, being alone — it all starts to get to me. I feel ashamed, no good. I shit in the toilet; I fish out the turd; I take my spoon and eat a piece of the turd. I drink a spoonful of urine. I break the windowpanes with my elbows, cutting myself in the process. I try to cut off the fingers of my left hand, but succeed only in producing a deep gash across them. The blood floods out in big bright red drops. The air fills with the smell of my blood. I write my name on the wall with it. Thick gobs cling to my gray cell wall. I’m trying to think of a way to cut myself deeper when the guards come and haul me to the hospital.

By Eric Granskou September 1997
The Sun Interview

The Clear Path To Creativity

An Interview With Dan Wakefield

The key is to clear yourself in order to become a conduit for creativity. In my book Expect a Miracle, Ann Nadel, a San Francisco painter and sculptor, said that when the work is really coming, there’s something flowing through you that’s not you. To me, that feeling is tangible proof of the existence of spirit: something we can tap into that’s beyond ourselves and our senses. The highest goal we can aspire to is to become transmitters of that.

By D. Patrick Miller April 1997
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Out Of The Psychedelic Closet

Last spring, I celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the greatest turning point in my life. In April 1970, at the age of twenty-three, I found myself climbing the western slope of the Mount of Olives, facing Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock.

By Stephen Mo Hanan April 1996
Fiction

Holy Ghost

At first I thought it was learning or wisdom. Then it came to me: my husband was a ghost; he had nothing but what he could steal from people. He could take the things they cared about most. It was his great gift.

By Daniela Kuper March 1996
Fiction

Visions

It just bursts from me like a thunderclap, only there’s never any clap when my Vision grabs hold. It’s like I fall asleep, but my eyes stay open and the hand holding the pen just moves over the paper all by itself.

By Penelope Moffet February 1996