I’m preparing for the end times. I forgot to say that. Cigarettes are the same as greenhouse gases or forest fires. I should quit smoking first. Then the forest fires will stop. I know I’m leaving out stuff on purpose. I’m thinking of all the times that I was put to shame by others.
Croatoa isn’t an empire. I wish it were but empires are always selfish. I want to be an empire of myself but then I don’t think I’d get to Croatoa. Croatoans are probably not like that and don’t care whether I’m self absorbed or not or if I have delusions of grandeur. Maybe they just like the company of someone and wait for them to speak and tell their story.
I wouldn’t fit in if I could get there. I like to talk too much. I have all kinds of ideas spinning around in my head and if anyone gives me a chance to talk then I verbally vomit all over them. That’s a universal truth. No one likes being puked on.
I have an inflated sense of self bordering on narcissism except for the part where I hate myself. I’ve never actually puked on anyone aside from myself. That’s probably wrong but my memory is foggy.
There were times in the woods in the dead of winter as a child. I was thinkiong about it today. It was silly. It was kids making up a story. No one was in charge of it. We just chased after a stick in the snow until everyone got tired and went home. I always had the soggiest feet because I’d wade into the creek after the stick. I thought everyone hated me the most. I’m sure no one did. It was only in my head.
I puked after seeing the northern lights one time laying on my back in the deep of summer. The entire sky lit up for hours. It wasn’t an alien attack. It was really wondrous. The next day we all read in the paper that NASA conducted an experiment and put dust in the atmosphere to cause the sky to light up.
That’s when I decided I didn’t like empires and likely why I puked. I wasn’t even an alcoholic then I was just a kid.
Croatoans are abnormal. They don’t like communicating with the outside world. Misunderstood is an understatement. I don’t want to talk to anyone anymore. I just want to be Croatoan.
There are people that live outside of Croatoa that think that everyone in Croatoa is lazy. They don’t like to work and they’re useless.
I don’t want to live in an institutional place like the people outside of Croatoa would have. I’m sorry that I ever told anyone about Croatoa or Croatoans or the Croatan National Forest where I’d like to live. But there are people coming to get me. That’s the threat. I’m supposed to go live in a place with a bed and a bunch of people that want to examine why I’m so obsessed with Croatoa and break me of that.
I don’t think that’s right.
I’m not sure they want me to stay here. They might know I’m going to Croatan. After the tree fell on my house during the storms was when I decided. There is a lot of timber on my front lawn from cutting it down. Whenever my friend drops me off at home I make her take some. Where she lives there’s a woodburning stove for heat.
I saw her today at breakfast with my other friend. I can’t pay. Croatoans don’t pay anything. They don’t have any money so they abolished money. Nobody had any anyway. I’m not really a Croatoan I’m just poor. My friends fought over who pays. It makes me think they’re not Croatoans after all. I wanted to pay I just have no money. I didn’t want to pretend like I did. I’m not better at being a Croatoan for that.
We go to a place near the hospital for breakfast. One guy is older and his wife has cancer. He talks to us and back slaps us and says hi. He has the same name as me and he’s a character. It makes me think he’s a Croatoan too. He’s probably just a nice guy.
I want our breakfast place to be an outpost on the edge of Croatoa. I’m trying to recruit all the wait staff and bussers and cooks to my side. Maybe we can plant a flag or put it on the kid menu. A maze with the end being Croatoa. The nurses from the hospital go there after they get off the late shift and drink in the morning. They can be our medical crew.
I have my own sandwhich there. I like that they know and I just say can I have my sandwhich today. When I leave for Croatoa I’ll miss that place. The truth is I’m stuck in this rathole till the roof caves in and Croatoa isn’t real.
I’m not drunk. I should be. I’m trying to get drunk and have a vision of Croatoa. It’s worked before. Maybe this time it will. Croatoans didn’t drink because they didn’t know it until the Europeans showed up. They probably take a drink now and again if any are left. I think white people showed up in Croatoa drunk. They were happy they found Croatoa or sad because they lived their whole life before in another place or angry Croatoa was nicer than where they lived. The Croatoans noticed. They moved and found another swamp. There was always a white guy behind them saying wait up.
I shouldn’t drink. My friend told me that Croatoans die of liver disease and everyone else dies of lung cancer. I’m going to die from both. It’s not true but he had a point. He didn’t say Croatoans but I know what he meant. We both lived in the surburbs growing up on the edge of a city that abutted a reservation. There was a line that we never crossed even though he had family there.
I’m not saying Croatoans are Native Americans or the First Nations of people on this continent. The Croatoans were and are but I don’t think they made it that far. I grew up a long way from Croatan.
We used to go to Mac’s together. We stepped over drunks to get in. At least until someone called the cops. We were just kids and didn’t know why. We just went there to get magazines and candy and sneak cigarettes. There was a rumor that the drunks drank household cleaning products. When I was older they put that stuff behind the counter so no one would steal it.
I remember one day there was a standoff on the news and I had wandered across the line. I didn’t know about it till the next day. I walked onto the reservation and there were police in flak jackets with rifles and helmets. Some guy had his wife and children and a gun. The cops let me keep walking and barely acknowledged me. I wasn’t a Croatoan but I had passed for one even then. Or maybe I was just a kid and they didn’t care.
Rosie’s Book List:
The Books In My Life By Henry Miller. Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn and any of Henry Miller’s works especially Letters to Anais Nin
The works of Richard Brautigan especially In Watermelon Sugar and Troutfishing in America
The complete works of Kurt Vonnegut. Cat’s Cradle is my favorite. His anti war essays are great too.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy and any of Douglas Adams works- Last Chance To See is one of my personal favorites. The author travels to different remote parts of the world and sees the world’s most endangered species. It’s a great travelogue. Also Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency Series
The writings of French post modern philosopher Jean Baudrilliard especially Simultaions and America
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
U.S.A. and Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos
The Horatio Hornblower Series by C.S. Forester
The works of Noam Chomsky especially New American Mandarins
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds by Charles McKay
Steal This Book! By Abby Hoffmann and anything else he’s written
The works of M.Scott Peck especially The Road Less Travelled
Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver
Bolo Bolo by P.M.
On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious by Douglas Harding
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
PiKHAL: A Chemical Love Story by Alexander Shulgin
Negroes With Guns by Robert F. Williams
Cock and Bull by Will Self
The works of J.G. Ballard especially High Rise, The Empire of the Sun and Crash
Herself Surprised, To Be A Pilgrim and The Horse’s Mouth by Joyce Cary
The works of Robertson Davies especially Whats Bred In The Bone but he has several trilogies that are worthy reads The Salterton Trilogy is my favorite
The works of P.D. James If you like Crime Serials my favorite is The Children of Men
The essays of Gore Vidal as well as his fiction. Live From Golgotha is a particular fun read
Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics by Gary Zukav
The Complete Works of James Joyce
A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake: Unlocking James Joyce’s Masterwork by Joseph Campbell and Henry Morton Robinson
Joyce’s Book of The Dark: Finnegan’s Wake by John Bishop
A People’s History of The United States of America by Howard Zinn. He was a personal hero of mine and when he died a couple of years back I cried. Read anything by him.
The works of Tom Robbins for a fun read- My favorite of his he wrote under a pseudonym. It’s called Fuck, Yes!: A Guide to the Happy Acceptance of Everything by Wing F. Ding
Anything by Timothy Findley. My favorite of his is Not Wanted On The Voyage. It’s a retelling of the Noah’s Ark story from the perspective of his cat.
Germinal by Emile Zola
The works of Truman Capote especially Other Voices, Other Rooms and Music For Chameleons
Nomadology: The War Machine by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Gauttari any of their other collaborative works
The Three Pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau
Ten Days That Shook The World by John Reed. Reds is the movie depiction of his life directed by Warren Beatty and well worth setting aside an evening to watch.
White Niggers of America by Pierre Vallieres is a history of the French in North America and considered by most to be propaganda for the FLQ(Front de Liberation du Quebec)
Perfume by Patrick Suskind is one of my most favorite novels of all time
The Book of the SubGenius : The Sacred Teachings of J.R. ‘Bob’ Dobbs by J.R. Dobbs, The Subgenius Foundation and The Reverend Ivan Stang
The works of Barbara Kingsolver especially Animal Dreams and The Poisonwood Bible
What Would Jesus Buy?: Fabulous Prayers in the Face of the Shopocalypse by The Reverend Billy Talen
The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff
The Annotated Alice: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Martin Gardner
The works of Gertude Stein especially The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. How to Write is my favorite of hers
The works of Martin Amis. My two favorites are Time’s Arrow and The Information
Lucky Jim and Everyday Drinking by Kingsley Amis. Kingsley Amis is Martin Amis’ father that is probably more reknowned than the son but I prefer the work of the son.
The complete works of Thomas Pynchon. Gravity’s Rainbow is timeless classic and my recent favorite of his is Mason & Dixon
The works of Ram Dass. Be Here Now is his opus but my favorite is Grist For The Mill
The works of C.S.Lewis. The Screwtape Letters is my favorite. It’s the correspondence between a junior demon to his uncle, a senior disciple of Lucifer.
Timber Wars by Judi Bari
Redwood Uprising: From One Big Union to Earth First! and the Bombing of Judi Bari by Steve Ongerth
McLibel: Burger Culture on Trial by John Vidal
Silent Spring by Rachel Carsen
The works of Salman Rushdie especially Satanic Verses and Midnight’s Children. Imaginary Homelands is his recent book of essays about his time living in hiding under the Ayatollah’s Fatwa.
DO IT! Scenarios of the Revolution by Jerry Rubin
Complete Book of Yoga Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga by Sri Vivekananda or any of his other works. He is the man that introduced Yoga to America in the Late 1800’s
The works of Carlos Castaneda. The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge is his most well known book.
Douglas Coupland wrote Generation X, the novel that coined the term. He’s Canadian and brilliant. My favorite of his is probably The Gum Thief. Polaroids From The Dead is another great one of his as well.
The complete works of Patrick Conroy especially The Prince of Tides. I stole the Cream-of-Mushroom Soup-sympathy-puker trick from a scene in his book The Great Santini
The complete works of Anthony Burgess. Clockwork Orange is his most famous work of course but his other works are very moody and evocative and highly underrated in my opinion. 1985, Earthly Powers, The Enderby Series- for some reason I’ve probably read almost every one of his books. Napoleon Symphony is my favorite
The works of Kahlil Gibran. Surely you’ve read The Prophet. Love Letters: The Love Letters of Kahlil Gibran to May Ziadah is a particular favorite of mine
The entire works of Oliver Sacks. If I had one recommendation personally tailored to you this is the author. I don’t know particularly why I just have a certainty that you’d enjoy it and that it would appeal to the scientist in you. My two favorites are The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat and An Anthropologist On Mars.
The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. The original that was disguised as children’s story but really was meant as an allegory for the state of Italian politics and society in the late 1800’s
The works of Albert Camus. L’estranger is one of the books that made me want to write a novel and The Plague is my favorite
Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Own Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival?-A Scientific Detective Story by Theo Colburn; Dumanoski, Dianne; Myers, John Peterson Colborn
First & Last Emperors: The Absolute State and the Body of the Despot by Kenneth Dean and Brian Massumi
Tristram Shandy: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Stern. The story is told from the end of the eponymous protagonist’s life and culminates with the character’s birth
Raymond Carver is my favorite author if you forced me to pick. His poetry is lesser known but that’s the work of his that truly touches me. He’s known for his short stories however and I used to want to fashion his prose writing into my own. All Of Us: The Collected Poems is one of my very favorite books to own. As far as his short story work goes; I love Will You Please Be Quiet Please? and What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Those are my favorite collections of his stories. Birdman that starred Michael Keaton won Best Picture at the Academy Awards a few years ago and is based on Raymond Carver short stories. Several of his works have been translated to film. His widow Tess Gallagher writes poetry and her book Moon Crossing Bridge makes me cry to read because Raymond Carver was my friend too before he died and I feel the pain of his loss with her. My favorite poem of his is:
Days when I want so much I want nothing.
Just this life, and no more. Still,
I hope no one comes along.
But if someone does, I hope it’s her.
The one with the little diamond stars
at the toes of her shoes.
The girl I saw dance the minuet.
That antique dance.
The minuet. She danced that
the way it should be danced.
And the way she wanted.
The works of Tom Wolfe especially The Bonfire of The Vanities, Man in Full, The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test and The Right Stuff
Bells in Winter by Czeslaw Milosz. He was a Polish Dissident. This is one of my favorite of his poems:
At a Certain Age
We wanted to confess our sins but there were no takers.
White clouds refused to accept them, and the wind
Was too busy visiting sea after sea.
We did not succeed in interesting the animals.
Dogs, disappointed, expected an order,
A cat, as always immoral, was falling asleep.
A person seemingly very close
Did not care to hear of things long past.
Conversations with friends over vodka or coffee
Ought not be prolonged beyond the first sign of boredom.
It would be humiliating to pay by the hour
A man with a diploma, just for listening.
Churches. Perhaps churches. But to confess there what?
That we used to see ourselves as handsome and noble
Yet later in our place an ugly toad
Half-opens its thick eyelid
And one sees clearly: “That’s me.”
I was trying to impress rosie with this list and convince her I could take care of her if she came to Croatoa with me.
One of my friends is a chef. He’s not a Croatoan. He doesn’t know anyone from anywhere near there. All his people live around here. None of them have ever lived near there that I’m aware. He might be Croatoan anyway. He’s fond of rice.
I hate to tell him that he doesn’t know anything about the food in Croatoa. I don’t either except rice and a big pot over a fire. He cooks like that all time. Maybe he would come to Croatoa with me and we could learn how to be Croatoan together. He has a family so he’d have to bring them. Honestly they deserve to get to Croatoa more than I do. I’d cook for them if they would come with me. I’d do the dishes.
There’s unnamed exotic species of plants in Croatoa. Bugs and varmints that you can eat. Berries surely. All kinds of things. It’s not just a swamp. There’s a swamp not far from here. It’s part of the migration route for a flock of Canada Geese They put a bunch of graves on top of it back in the 17th and 18th century. Now it’s a historical place. If Croatoans were there once they’re never coming back. It has a chili cook-off and an apple festival every year now.
I want to make authentic Croatoan food and put the apple festival out of business. I’ll just put up a sign bigger than theirs.
I don’t want to talk about them. They’re fighting now. I thought I was in Croatoa for a moment until this. It’s the same every night. I get a little peace and quiet and think about Croatoa and then it sounds like someone is getting beaten to death. A car screeches off someone runs back outside a little more shouting and then mumbles. I don’t talk to the brute. He’s harmless to me but not to the world.
The storm happened a while ago. A tree fell on my building. We share a basement. Sometimes I catch him in the basement with someone I’ve never seen. After that happened he seems louder than ever.
The Croatan National Forest is only a couple hundred miles away from me. I’m so close to Croatoa but it’s a million miles away in my head.
It’s pretty cold today in Croatoa if that’s where I am. I thought somebody would be around here to talk to but there isn’t. It’s nice here. Kind of quiet. Not really peaceful though. Maybe I’m with the ghosts of the Croatoans but I don’t really believe in ghosts. I believe in bad people but not ghosts.
I think that guy way back when used to go to work every day like me. He went off with his European pals with their swords and shields building forts on the edge of the ocean then went home to Croatoa at night. Until that one time he didn’t come back. Nobody knows what happened after that.
I don’t think they sent out a search party for him. Most of them said in public we’re building this nice fort why would anyone want to leave or he can’t survive out there with them he’s already dead. Sometimes on cold nights they’d whisper he didn’t find Croatoa did he. I wish I could’ve gone with him.
I’m not really in Croatoa. I know it doesn’t really exist anymore if it ever did. I spend so much time in my head there I still want to visit. If I can just get there I’d try and rebuild Croatoa from the ground up. Everyone thinks I’m crazy or lazy or both. They don’t even know about Croatoa. But I’d try.
I have to go see my friends for breakfast tomorrow. One of my friends is definitely a Croatoan and the other is on the fence. Neither of them has ever heard of it and I’m not going to be the one to tell them. They both have generous spirits but they fight over who pays and they shouldn’t do that if they want to be Croatoans. I never pay or rarely and I feel bad about it. If I lived with the Croatoans that would never happen. Not in my Croatoa anyway.
They wouldn’t let me into Croatoa if I could find it.
I’m not going to get this way about things. I like the idea of the Croatoans so kill me. It’s a real place and a real thing but I shouldn’t get so overblown about it. There are ordinary things like kindness and warmth and sensual pleasure and a whole bunch of things. I think they have better food there however. I’m not even that big of a rice person.
There are lots of things I didn’t like till I tried them. Or I was forced to like them by circumstance. Croatoa is kind of like that. The Croatoans force you to like it but not in an unpleasant way.