Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hemingway's heroin

Public service note: Do not read
"In Cold Blood" if home alone at night.
Seemed to be a gun. Maybe alcohol. And wives. And probably mental illness. Papa's literary high jinks are legend, and perhaps myth; his writing goes in and out of style every generation or so. But he lived large and died because he killed himself in a lot of little ways and then one big one. Plus he couldn't write at the end. Even a sentence.

I was thinking rather presumptuously this evening about writing here. About how some nights a blank sheet of paper -- whether real, you know, made from wood pulp, or these glowy unreliable pixels you're reading -- is a siren song that calls to me to fill it with some kind of words, good ones or bad ones, bullshit ones or something better. And the blank page is a playground where I can amuse myself and not care if you can walk by outside the fence and pay me no mind. And even if nothing is accomplished here I just shut down the laptop and go to bed and think about work and what to wear to work and lunch and what to do next weekend. Not about winning Noble Prizes or even Mann-Booker Prizes. Maybe if the sun is also going to rise tomorrow -- which it will. The point being that I've no need for guns or (much) alcohol or wives and my mental is not very ill. And while I wouldn't mind Paris, I for sure don't need heroin.

Apparently, Philip Seymour Hoffman did; who knows why? Just Google his name, you'll find tons of stories, some of which contain actual good reporting, about his life and art and too-soon death. How do you have that much heroin around three kids? Scary stuff.

So there's three grafs of fill-in to get to what I want you to read, this piece by Russell Brand about addiction. It's the best thing I've EVER read about it; he wrote it in response to Amy Winehouse's death, but go ahead and substitute Philip Seymour Hoffman for her name. It's a no-bullshit zone and he doesn't try to hide the reals of it. I feel a little addicted just reading it.


Since I'm a huge Capote fan, I loved PSH in that. So perfect. But he was good in everything. As the NYT obit read, he was an 'actor of depth.'

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