Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Join My Cult! ebook introduction

Here is the new introduction to the Join My Cult! ebook presently available on Original Falcon's website.
Rewind the tape to 2000, suburban America. Our progress had reached an apex, and while it would in retrospect be seen clearly as Hubris, at the time, there was no end in sight. At this time, it seemed there was the beginnings of a second (or third?) wave American counterculture that never actually completely coalesced, derailed by the conspiracy theories and atrocities that defined the following near-decade.

1998-2000 is when the core of Join My Cult! was written, despite the publication date. I organized and wrote a great deal of it, but really it owes itself to a group of friends that shared a similar experience moving out of adolescence at that time. The bulk of the conversations in this book are real, derived from online and off-line interactions as we delved headlong into exploration of psychedelics, the occult, and sex.

One criticism often leveled at this text has been that "real people never speak like this." This makes me laugh because, although it is a perfectly valid criticism- sane people certainly don't- in this case, we did. And it is with a tongue-in-cheek mockery of our often overly enthusiastic, nevertheless earnest state that I left this material mostly as is, even though I shudder to think some might take it purely at face value.

It has been interesting, over the past six years or so, to receive letters from readers- most of them telling me, to my surprise, how much the book effected them or even "changed their lives." Of course, amongst these were also plenty of people who felt the need to tell me how truly awful it was, and the notable few who actually went so far as to threaten my life. (I take this as the highest compliment.) When I wrote this book, I was unsure it would ever be published, and certainly many of my friends told me it would be for the better if it wasn't. After it was accepted by New Falcon, I had some hopes of it becoming a break-away cult hit.

In the end, it was neither of these, remaining that odd book you might stumble across one day in the corner of an independent book seller. A puzzling, hilarious, train-wreck of an oddity.

I have come a long way since I wrote Join My Cult!, and (I hope) have grown a great deal as an artist and writer since. But there is an intensity that comes with the blind, youthful enthusiasm of a project like this that I doubt I could replicate. New Falcon never properly edited the first edition, and in retrospect, I'm not sure I can blame them. There are many things in this text that seem like grammatical mistakes, that are intentional (particularly changes between tense and point of view with psychotic frequency), and I can only imagine they gave it a go and threw their hands up at the prospect. I occasionally consider giving it a thorough edit myself, but that thought is quickly washed away when I plunge into the text. This edition does have some minor edits from the original which saw its way into print, and you will find some new additions in the appendix, but there is little I could see changing without possibly disrupting the oddly symmetrical whole of this book, which at first glance looks a lot like total chaos.

So I'm offering it for free now, warts and all, to whomever wants to come along for the ride- and I hope in the process I will introduce some of you to a repository of common experience that might seem strangely familiar.

James Curcio

For more of my work, (writing, music, interviews & more) see http://www.jamescurcio.net This free eBook is released under a Creative Commons License. You can share and print it to your heart's content, though you must get my permission for any other use at jamescurcio at gmail dot com

Read the PDF:

(Link for the image impaired.)

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