You, who talked of a heart full of ashes and lemon peel, you swept through the world in a flurry of words you pulled apart and reconfigured. You, who wielded an unconventional mind and stole fragments from the universe. Sometimes the journey of your existence looks like one long paradoxical interjection. Your maverick rhetoric was synchronized chaos washed down with a tide of LSD and claims of insight and breaking through. Smoking your way through session after session, you once said that existential psychiatry was just: ‘talkin’ to a bloke and listenin’ to what he says.’* You knew it was never that simple. It’s good to challenge, though and you questioned what is real. You even said that expression of distress was the way to real self-knowledge, that it was the way to change and develop. Yet you left some people more confused than they were before, and I can’t help wondering whether the whole thing was a huge double-bind.
*This is a line from the book ‘Zone of the Interior,’ by Clancy Sigal. Sigal was a good friend of R D Laing, and fictionalised his experiences with Laing in the book.
IMAGE: Nighttime Rambin’ Man by Marcel Herms (Netherlands, marcelherms.nl)
BIO: Henry Bladon is a writer of short fiction and poetry based in Somerset in the UK. He has degrees in psychology and mental health policy and a PhD in literature and creative writing. His work can be seen in Potato Soup Journal, Entropy, Mercurial Stories, thedrabble, Tuck Magazine and Spillwords Press, among other places. His novel, Threeways, was published in 2017 and his recent collection, Donald Trump’s Hair and other stories, published by Alien Buddha Press, came out this year. Henry also runs writing support groups for people with mental health issues.