The blue carpet in my bedroom is being torn up to be replaced by hardwood flooring that my parents claim will be installed in the next few months (realistically, in the next few years). I am in the midst of packing my books into boxes so my book shelf can be moved. While doing so, I have been reminiscing about reading some of my favorite books for the first time, thinking about what my life was like and what I was doing and thinking.
Though not my favorite book or even my favorite book by Dennis Cooper, 'Guide' contains one of my favorite literary passages (which you will find below):
"Once I dropped acid three times a day for a month. It was the summer, my sixteenth. My family was taking our yearly vacation on Maui. I'd made this friend, Craig, a local surfer with great drug connections. Every morning we'd score a few blotter hits, hitchhike to this remote beach, and spend the day zonked, hallucinating, babbling, and swimming around in the ocean. After several weeks, we started to lose it. We'd found this coral reef a short distance offshore. One day we robbed a hotel room, stole a truck, and transported the room's furnishings to the beach. We towed our loot, piece by piece, through the surf, underwater, and into this huge, cavelike nook in the reef, setting each chair, rug, et cetera in place, then swimming furiously back for the surface. Our plan was to live in this cave, rent-free, far away from fascistic reality. It never crossed our minds that we wouldn't be able to breathe." (page 5)
As demonstrated in this passage, the flow and pace of Cooper's prose is perfect and its simplicity is deceiving. He slices away the flesh and fat, cutting to the naked white bone of what he means to convey with the meticulousness of a surgeon wielding a scalpel.