On The Novel ‘Diary Of A Drug Fiend’

I’ve always been ambivalent about Aleister Crowley. Was he evil, or was he a great adept in the history of western occultism?

One thing I know is that he was a great fiction writer. I’ve read both his novels, ‘Moonchild’ and ‘Diary Of A Drug Fiend’, and I shall never forget the effect the early chapters of ‘Diary Of A Drug Fiend’ had on me.

Three features struck me: first the incredible effectiveness of the juxtaposition. Aleister Crowley wrote in the first person as Peter Pendragon who had been a pilot in World War 1, and he alternated descriptions of experiences while flying a plane with Peter’s experiences of a night out in London, during which he falls in love with a girl he meets called Louise. The relationship between the flying examples and the main narrative is like a dance.

Secondly, I was impressed by the vivid descriptions of characters in the story, which mostly make them sound disagreeable, and yet it’s as if you can see them standing in front of you.  He describes one lady character as ‘like a white maggot.’ In my writing class they’re always talking about economy of description, but that’s a more modern idea, and there’s nothing wrong with a lot of luxurious, vivacious description. Throughout the novel he described mental states in a riveting way as well. He said someone had thoughts going round and round in his head like pieces of meat boiling in a stew, and I kept repeating that to myself so I wouldn’t forget such a great metaphor.

The third thing that struck me was the beautiful liturgy that Aleister Crowley put in, with each verse ending “I adore you evoe, I adore you IAO.” He has Louise saying a verse of it every so often for a whole chapter, interspersed with the rest. I felt like running straight into a temple and saying it as the liturgy, because the poetry was so good. Jason Miller and other magicians often use ‘IAO’  in their modern rituals.

The rest of the book didn’t quite live up to the early part, and the drug addiction theme was quite sordid, but I ploughed through the rest of it and then wrote a short story of my own called ‘Juxtaposition’ as a tribute. It had political activism instead of flying a plane, depression instead of drug addiction and following a pixie instead of falling in love.  In the early versions there was a poem interspersed too- and I’ve put it back! See the earlier entry on this blog:  https://candyrayblog…/juxtaposition/

After that, like Peter and Louise in the story, I became interested in True Will for a while, and I decided it was my True Will to be an artist (which in my case meant a writer.) But I did have some misgivings in case True  Will was a thing for spoilt brats, because not everyone is in a position to pursue it, and you are lucky if you can, today just as much  as in Aleister Crowley’s day.

So, that’s the kind of effect his writing can have.

 

This article is also on the Occult Corpus forum blog, where I have a lot of readers

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Spider

For Halloween we both wrote a story titled: Spider

 

Ino’s Story:

She spun me into her web. I was in the middle, with the strands spanning out from the ends of my fingertips, like knives for stabbing a fly. Yet, if I was in the middle I should have been the spider- and I wasn’t. I was still the spider’s assistant.

I don’t want to catch flies for her. She can open her mouth and they will fly in, possibly to get away from the web. Humans get flies in their mouths too: and spiders, which they swallow in the night without knowing.

I flex my fingers and call the flies, and the web dances, but I can’t dance when I am trussed up here in the middle like a mummy in a tomb. I will ask her to take her place back in the middle of the web, where she should be, and let me sit out:- sit out this dance, as the web ducks and dives with each insect foot that probes it. She is bound to hear me, for the strands act as a radio.

But what will she say? She might have meant me to deputize for her forever. The web will dull, and become clogged with dust, and I won’t be able to spin another one, like she could. We will all turn to dust together: myself, the web and the flies.

 

My story:

He liked all the girls to call him ‘Spider’. He must have heard one of those lines from a film, like “everyone calls him Tiger”, and he didn’t want to be a wild cat so he settled for something that merely rhymed with ‘tiger’.

He so loved rhymes that he thought about taking it even further and becoming ‘Spider the Easy Rider’, but he was afraid that would provoke as much ridicule as admiration.

He soon noticed that the girls who simply wanted to be popular were always saying “Spider, Spider…. Spider this and Spider that…” but any girl who really liked him would ask his friends, “what’s his real name?”

That irked him to a degree. He wanted to be loved as the fantasy personality:  Spider with all the connecting strands, who will eat you for breakfast. But they always wanted to know who he was really, and his real identity caused him some shame, which he had repressed.

He needed to take a close look, and examine if there was anything to be ashamed of. Yet still he shied away from doing that, as he climbed the walls with his flexible spider legs and spun a great, complicated web. A web of deceit, or a web of the street?

 

 

 

 

 

Classical Greek Literature

We both write  story titled: Classical Greek Literature

Ino’s Story:

Their plays have lasted through the centuries and have not been lost, and  many of their poems have lasted too. This poem, however, has gone. My poem, my confession, has gone.

I wrote it in a prison cell, by the light of a tiny torch. Did you think the ancient Greeks didn’t have torches? I had one. It was made from fire, not a battery of course, and don’t ask me how I made it under the watchful eye of the jailer, but I did. The fire burned along that hollow stick, and illuminated the curled letters as I inscribed them, and the meaning they carried was enough to inflame horror in the breast of any casual reader.

My confession was detailed, yet matter of fact. I showed no remorse or emotion about what I had done. In fact I made it clear that I would do it again, if similar circumstances were to present themselves. It is at this point that most of those whom I address become impatient to know the details. But alas, you cannot know them for as I said before, my confession is gone.

 

My Story:

 

It always bothered me to read ‘Agamemnon’ or ‘Antigone’, because I seemed to be in them. After the first few scenes, I would inevitably find myself. It was never simply one of the characters that was me, although it started like that. Very soon it would become all-pervasive, an essence that was felt throughout the play. That was when I would shut the book with a snap and let it fall to the floor, and only after an interval of several hours had passed would I creep back and slide it furtively into the bookshelf.

Would it have purged me to watch a performance of these plays? I wondered about that, for my tutor used to say that their purpose was to purge the audience. He had picked up that academic theory from somewhere, but I bet he wouldn’t want to be vomited up into a toilet, and despatched by pulling the chain. That’s what would have happened to me, because the plays were me.

Not surprisingly, I never completed the course. The tutor thought I was lazy.

Daisies

Every year at this time the purple michaelmas daisies are in flower, and we have St Michael’s day dedicated to Archangel Michael. I am re-posting my poem ‘Daisies’ which used to be at the front of the blog:

Don’t kill the daisies by cutting the grass
Let it grow over the street
Let it grow over my house
Let it grow over my head
Don’t kill the daisies by cutting the grass
Let it grow over my life
Let it grow over the world
Let it grow over the real

Juxtaposition

I have found this flash fiction story that was edited out of my book of short stories ‘Chaos Dreams Part 2’. 

 

The general election was in mid-swing, and for Mandy it brought back memories of that campaign long ago, squeezed into the back of a van with scruffy, heavily smoking labour party campaigners and piles of leaflets tied with rubber bands. That lady in the polo-necked jumper, twenty years her senior, who had so impressed her with tales of ‘politically educating’ potential voters on their doorstep. All Mandy had felt able to do was stuff a leaflet through the letterbox and quickly move on to the next one.

Now as she walked up the road there was a slim leaflet sticking out of every letterbox- and then suddenly, on one of the doorposts, she saw the pixie. He was exactly like a pixie from a children’s’ fairy tale: a little green figure balancing on the stone and holding a flute. As she watched he put it up to his lips and began to play, and the music was so completely mesmerizing that she forgot where she was and entered a reverie, and after the reverie she could remember nothing of what she had first thought or daydreamed.

 

Annabel, you were my child in our game,

Like Annabel Lee who I couldn’t have named,

Like Anna and Bel who were cloistered together,

And I’ve heard Annabel is a Satanist name.

 

Mandy made her way home, hoping that after her intriguing experience the depression wouldn’t hit tonight. For she had an affliction, and it was depression. However well her life was going, however fortunate she was, she would sink into that quagmire of hopelessness, convinced that neither she nor her life had any worth. It ate away at her cheerful times; it was like a mousetrap that she could tread on at any moment.

As she sipped her tea and watched the News, she thought she could tentatively trust that this would be a cheerful evening. Then the pixie was there beside the TV, singing like a jangling cricket and leading her away into a funneled-out tornado, poised over foggy, brackish moorlands where there were stagnant pools and a single wren bobbing in a bush. She became more and more lost in travelling through this spiral, walking on cloud steps, and she loved the pixie and wanted to follow him forever.

When you’re working at the polling station, you have to pretend you live there for the day, because there are no half shifts. There is  only the full one which ends with taking out drawing pins with exhausted fingers under dark windows and electric light, and bagging up many papers to transport away along with heavy metal boxes. On this side of the counter you must stay alert, while those queuing up on the other side relax and slouch, and half surrender responsibility for this change to normal routine.

Mandy was proud of her hard work at those distant elections- it somehow justified her sitting now gazing into a coal fire, or spending several hours watching a film. She didn’t mean to drift away so often but it felt peaceful, like rambling through the countryside. The journey with the pixie was only a new variation of the same; it was simply harder to remember what happened when she followed him. The music had so many layers: although it was one flute there could have been a whole orchestra behind it, and each layer whirled her somewhere new along a path bordered by grey, misty shapes, which might have been flower heads leaning upwards above a marshland.

 

Annabel, you stood there in my trance

Frozen to trees, and then freed to dance.

You’d gone back to being Sally, my doll.

I recognized you and I gave you the chance.

 

The last time she got depressed she had lain on her bed for four hours, and all she did during that time was pull undone some knitting she had been attempting to learn as a new hobby, at a time when traditional household crafts had all but disappeared. Dinner time passed without her bothering to eat anything, because what does it matter when you live alone? You might as well never eat again.

 

Annabel now has changed into a monster.

Throw the doll by the leg; nobody wants her.

I see bright red when I say ‘Annabel.’

Ruth is red too, but I’ve lost her as sponsor.

 

Mandy stood up quickly as she remembered this, and did a few tasks to reassure herself that she wasn’t depressed tonight.  Work was best for taking her mind off it, yet it often struck in the middle of work as well, and that was devastating as she slowly ran out of energy and motivation and came to a stop. But there would be none of that tonight; she would finish her work and then sit down to follow the pixie again into his musical world where the two of them were united.

 

 

 

 

Taking A Break To Write A Novel

I shan’t be blogging so much for a while because I’ve started to write a novel, and it’s taking up all my creative energy.

So far the experience has been a revelation. I understand now the suggestions on writing sites,  and everything we covered on my novel-writing week in the north of England two years ago. That being the need to make a plan, to do research and to think deeply about the personalities of the characters: none of it seemed necessary when I was only writing novellas and short stories, but now suddenly I’m doing all that and it makes sense. Even the comments that writing advisers make  about leaving the editing till later suddenly resonates; I’ve always done most of it as I go along, but with a novel that would slow you down to an unacceptable degree.

It all goes to show that different kinds of advice are relevant for different types of fictional work, and a lot of what you come across is geared towards novels.

I haven’t abandoned the chaos magick, but I’m working with some new entities as well. Is that why this  post sounds so normal? Not at all: I’m still a mad chaos magician, but all the chaos magicians suddenly get conventional when they talk about writing skills. My friend Joe Forrest here on WordPress keeps saying your first draft is ‘always shit’ (written in red) even though I’ve commented that if I write something in an inspired state of gnosis, and edit it at the time………it stays in.

My stories are still going to be positive with a happy ending, because as the egregores say to the humans “find your own voice”, and that’s my voice.

Ecology Biology (Channelled from Ino)

 

The otters did not learn

How to build the dam the beavers built,

Yet otters and beavers were often lumped together.

The wren did not learn

How she could be a bigger bird,

Yet the people made no distinction whatsoever

Between one songbird and another,

Tiny birds or pheasant-sized;

All of them were lumped into one pot:

One pot for cooking, or recording

On old-fashioned tape recorders,

Whether the song was a tuneful one or not.

 

If I take an animal form

I know that they will take for granted

Everything that most expresses me.

They will not heed my contributions;

Will not deem that my advice

Is something to be taken seriously.

So I stand in the farmyard lane,

Where meet the feudal world of fields

And modern days of information trails.

I’ll have to look more like a scarecrow:

Frighten miscreants into sense

Before they die, and blame me for their fails.

 

 

 

Deep Sofa

I lost something in the sofa.

Not a remote control:

Something abstract, part of my mind,

Long ago I was writing about

How I lost it in the sofa.

Why did I never finish the poem?

Did I ever feel I’d found it?

What was that precious part of myself

That was lost in the deep sofa?

Blade

for Valentine’s Day, here’s a love song I wrote a long time ago:

 

The blades of grass cut me so hard

As I look at you, my love.

The forces of nature are sharp as your wits

As we track up the hillsides

And fall into pits.

Nature’s a garment, and oh, how it fits

As I look at you, my love.

 

The river rushes down to the sea;

It will take us along, my love.

If we must move let me travel with you.

The sun blazes down watching all that we do.

Promptings and messages drop with the dew

And we must reply, my love.

 

Blades of the reeds are piercing my heart

Down here by the lake, my love.

Cupid is aiming; he catches my eye.

I want to be with him because he is high.

But he shakes his head and returns to the sky

And leaves me with you, my love.

 

The blades fight a duel to split us in two

And make us a pair, my love.

Reedbed and pasture are shelter and food,

River moves slowly while lake waters brood.

Your answer all over the sky will be strewed,

So what will it be, my love?

 

 

 

Evil Guardian Angel

This one was channelled from Ino

I don’t know what to do with my English public schoolgirl friend. She never actually wore a tie at school, but I’ve decided that the Old School Tie is something that strangles those who try to survive without being streetwise.

Several times now I’ve picked her up from the gutter of life, dusted her down and set her back on the road again. But she only goes somewhere that’s off the map, where many a big bad wolf idles by the side of the road watching for her to stray off it.

As I lift her up by her braces (she’s never had braces on her teeth but she does so need a gate across her mouth), I swing her a few times as if from the gibbet where her path would shortly have petered out had I not picked her up. Then I place her on a friendlier road lined with flowers, and I give her a pocket handkerchief full of pot pourri tied to a stick that she carries over her shoulder.

But I should have put in rat poison. Then the discolouration of her character and tongue would at least have been quick instead of painfully slow as she meanders along the flowery way, the easy path, the ‘wide road that leads to destruction.’

In the land where old school ties have only recently disappeared, it behoves you to be very careful that people can’t tell exactly where you come from, right to the exact front door and the number on it.

If I can find you so can the stork, and whose baby would you really like to be? He picked up his bundle just as you did, and will be depositing you behind the front door where the cap fits. ALL CAPS: easy to read there above the door. So the journey will end and a new one will begin, but don’t expect me to keep picking you up this time, because I’ve picked someone else.