Long ago and far away, I attended a tiny precocious college in the Berkshire Hills with a now cult followed musician named Mike Doughty. The place was small enough that everyone really did know everyone. He and I ran in a variety of Venn Diagram multiple cross-sectioning circles of creative people.
Everyone did. It couldn’t be helped. The place has a magical sense of anything is possible – you could be the next Great American Writer, Rock Star, Actor, World Changer, Scientific Nobel Winner, etc. Many came out of that school and are doing exactly that.
Many of us aspired to be all of the above. The sheer weight of that amazing sense of possibility and responsibility could be crushing at times, and many souls were lost, if not forever, for a while.
One great tale of that road of possibility has recently been published. Mike Doughty wrote it. It’s a necessary tale of what it takes some of us to go through to reach the possibility and make it real, prices we pay along the way to reach it, and to find out what that goal really means, and did we reach for the right one?
(Click book cover for amazon link)
Yes, it is a sordid tale, exactingly laid out. But the drugs and what became of him on them is not what this is really about. It’s where he is now, how he can see where he was and how it informs who he is now, much happier, even while the voices of self-loathing and doubt accompany him today. His relationship to those voices has changed.
This is a story of a man whose heart is in his hand, bloody and pumping, offered to you. It’s a story of possibility gone utterly wrong in the band in which he achieved his (first run) cult following, that ultimately became his personal demise. There were rumors among those of us who knew him ten years earlier, that he had died. Thank whatever you want that he didn’t. It is a story of redemption and self-compassion.
I read it in under twenty-four hours, even in the midst of my usual mayhem, because it is incredibly conversational, like one of those old all night conversations in dorm rooms way back when.
I think you would agree, even if you don’t know him the shimmer that I did once upon a time. It’s a good read. As with many of my recommendations, in reading it, you may see a few things about yourself in his words.
This is not your usual glorified seedy side rock star memoir. Though much of that is found inside.
Go on, give it a try. You know you want to.
PS: The music he is putting out now reminds me a lot of what he was doing back at that little enclave school. His sense of pure creativity has returned. Click on his name in the first paragraph to see his website or purchase his latest CD, Yes, and Also Yes by clicking the title here.
Addendum! Latest CD, The Question Jar Show comes out Tuesday!