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Writing life: drinking, thinking, writing, and a lachrymose woman in my phrontistery

excerpted from IN AND OF: memoirs of a mystic journey, by Jack Haas



                Early in the week Id put on a large batch of homemade beer, wine, or port, buy a small supply of dope, and cook up a huge pot of curry, or chilli, or some such muck that would stick to the ribcage, and would last me the week, so that I could get on with the rest of it. Whatever that rest of it was.

                Id lock the door to my phrontistery, close the curtains, sit down, and begin the incessant reading, writing, drinking, smoking, thinking, eating, sleeping, wondering, going nuts, entering into euphoria, then meaninglessness, then bliss, on and on, as these multifarious aspects of my now wholly self-contained existence filled one singularly consecrated purpose- to figure things out. For months and then years on end I, in my own very imperfect way, chased down the disorienting conglomeration of antiquated, conceptual tunnels to which we are both the heirs and prisoners.

                It was as if I was engaged in an internal inquisition, in which I was both prosecutor and defendant, where I sought and exposed the renegade phantoms, mute wise men, cowards, shadows, heroes, madmen, rebels, harlots, hags, and cherubim which populated my subconscious. I was unearthing myself with nothing but a pen to gouge out and excavate my insides, but I was doing it. Word by word, sentence-by-sentence, notebook-by-notebook, the endless array of thoughts and images came streaming out of me to expose the hobgoblins and therefore liberate them onto the page.

                There is nothing so painfully delightful as being seized and overtaken by an art form when attempting to cleanse, divulge, and purify ones chaotic insides. Oh, perhaps art is merely a crude, and obsolete method, one which a little prayer and some sound humility might not accomplish in a tenth the time, and yet perhaps not, for when you get right down to the cesspool of the soul you find that youre dealing not only with your own imponderable universe, but with the entirety of history and humanity, perhaps even the interminable cosmos itself, and so to take the irreversible plunge within is not so simple after all. 

The only person I saw during this time was a brilliant, lachrymose woman about my age who had recently lost the last member of her family, and therefore was floating unanchored, as far off of the earth as I was and not binding me in any way to the ground. We were quite a pair, a regular couple of disembodied phantoms with barely enough flesh between us to make a baloney sandwich. We were so far away from life that we could only meet in the unproblematic stratosphere where touching and sensuality have no jurisdiction. It was a purgatorial dimension up to which we effortlessly arose and commingled; an abstractedness from existence which felt not unlike a careless Nirvana compared to the complications of life we had both, in our own ways, fallen away from.

We would rejoice in a passionate, grace-filled, fleshless and platonic communion over a few joints and some wine and allow ourselves to forget all that had come before and all that was to follow, for there was little more either of us cared for, or could accommodate, than that.



excerpted from:


author Jack Haas, west coast British Columbia wilderness, ocean forest island



IN AND OF: memoirs of a mystic journey

by Jack Haas


















spirit and flesh, mystical books, visionary art, fine art photography

Mystical books, visionary art, and fine art photography by Jack Haas




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