…and in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day. At that hour the tendency is to refuse to face things as long as possible by retiring into an infantile dream…

I tend to justify, even romanticize drug use as a gateway to both community and artistic expression, which I think is a by-product of being an American in the Twentieth Century. Fitzgerald and Exley both traded their families, their dignity, and their faith in the benevolence of the American Dream for the alcoholic visions of The Crack-Up and A Fan’s Notes. Burroughs and the Beats framed a counterculture around sex, drugs, and social critique that’s now so entrenched in our national identity that it’s a running trope of many of our movies, music, and ad campaigns. And even Fleetwood Mac—on a five-year cocaine bender in the second half of the Seventies that left Mick Fleetwood bankrupt, Christine and John McVie divorced, Lindsay Buckingham certifiably insane, and Stevie Nicks a diva who was too out-of-it to even comprehend her own influence—left behind two pop albums that realized perhaps most fully the reality of the American family in the Seventies. But my own family’s addictions led only to a community characterized by early deaths and old ghosts, and its sole artistic expression is a wide swath of disillusioned, fractured children searching for home.

Just added to All You Need to Know

AuthorJohn Proctor