LSD, Sex, and God: An Interview with T. C. Boyle

James Penner in the Los Angeles Review of Books:

Although Boyle is not in any way connected to the current Psychedelic Renaissance, he has a lot to say about the topic of psychedelic drugs because he experimented with a wide range of psychotropic drugs in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In his own words, he was a “hippie’s hippie.” In the early 1970s, he was “so blissed out and outrageously accoutred that people would stop me on the street and ask me I could sell them some acid.” However, at that time LSD was not actually the novelist’s drug of choice. Boyle preferred various downers and heroin. His first published short story, “The OD & Hepatitis RR or Bust,” is a visceral description of a heroin experience and its aftermath. This story, which was published in the North American Review, helped Boyle get into the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Boyle was certainly fortunate to escape his youth without overdosing. One of Boyle’s nonfictional essays, “This Monkey, My Back” describes how the experience of writing slowly became his habit of choice: “[W]riting is a habit, an addiction, as powerful and overmastering an urge as putting a bottle to your lips or a spike in your arms. Call it the impulse to make something out of nothing, call it an obsessive-compulsive disorder, call it logorrhea.” Boyle also believes that the “experience of creating art — in this case books — resembles a heroin experience. You have a tremendous rush to complete it. But like any habit you have to do it again.” At the moment, Boyle’s healthier form of addiction has produced nine collections of short stories and 17 novels.

More here.