Songs of the Doomed is a cursed book. For fools like me it affects a writing style like ink spilled on a page. I have to make more notes to myself and remember to get over this shit, where I write differently depending on who I’m reading at the time. Last week I finished Breakfast of Champions and I was writing cryptically and in short bursts. Before that it was Joseph Heller and none of my dialog was making sense. I would like to find some time to read The Curse of Lono but I saw what that fucker did to my friend’s bookshelf and I don’t think I could handle it in this state. My writing might go to pieces, just like his shelf.
For the move to Amsterdam I ended up bringing 2 or 3 HST books that are new to the collection and unread: Song of the Doomed, Fear and Loathing in America, and another that escapes me at the moment. Most of what I brought over is books, so pardon me for not remembering which ones are in my library, exactly. In hindsight, I think I may have to make it a point to not read them back to back. It’s not like I have a relationship at the moment to absorb the dementia of reading multiple HST books in a row, and it’s possible that something might just explode. And I can’t have that kind of mess on my hands at the moment. Think of the children.
Besides, I may be on my own here.
I wandered Amsterdam for hours, looking for a roll of hemp rope. You can find anything in Amsterdam: psychedelic mushrooms, hash seeds, skinny blond 15-year olds tapping on large windows wearing nothing but bits of string. You can also find large African women with no teeth and barely a moo-moo just down the alley from the blond. You can get all manners of leather and metal products shaped like penis shafts and clitori, DVDs and live shows, some of them involving bananas or midgets or both. And that’s just the legal stuff. Hustlers sit on every street corner, chilling on their own across the way from the tourist families, hissing at them and anyone else that passes his spot. If you look at him there’s no telling if he’ll offer you high quality heroin or a human adrenaline gland. And you don’t want to get into that ugly stuff.
But you can’t find hemp. People don’t even know what you’re talking about. After a while I started wondering of the Dutch called it something else. I tried “hash rope,” I tried “weed string,” and “reefer cord”. Nothing.
In the end I went up to the concierge, and feeling a bit defeated, asked him where I could find twine or something similar.
“Will something like this do?”, and the old man with the fantastic curled mustache pulls out a roll of premium hemp rope and just gives it to me.
…some of this will take some getting used to.
_**Barbizon Palace Hotel, East Wing Corridor
Amsterdam, The Netherlands**_