Certain to be a big seller in Colorado and Washington, Epiphanies Whilst High Out of One's Mind is the fictionalized account of author Abigail Lee's high times as a self-confessed stoner. For those who don't know what a stoner is, how did you manage to get yourself locked in that Frigadaire in 1956 and how ever did you manage to finally escape? Never mind. As Lee says, “I love weed. I love its enhancement of physical sensation as well as its promotion of creativity and abstract thinking: the way it increases the amount of pleasure derived from food, music, and sex, and the way it can endow you with a slightly altered pair of glasses with which to view the world; the sight through which, at times, can blow your mind.”
Before taking a look at some of the often humorous, always interesting episodes that Lee describes, let's make one thing clear: Abigail Lee can write. That may not sound like a high standard to you, but it was to the late Dorothy Parker, a gal who also knew from a lightning-fast mind perched on often wobbly legs. Parker was perhaps the greatest of all book reviewers and she knew as well as I, that just because someone has a book published does not necessarily mean they can combine word sounds into pleasing combinations that enrich the eye and ear.
No, Abigail Lee has a real talent or two. Her second one is a knack of mentally recording observations in a fine detail, despite her drug of choice's noted abilities to cause memories, car keys and the names of pets to vanish into smoke. As an example, her boyfriend Kurt brings Abigail back a slice of caramel cheesecake from his restaurant. She writes: “Like the ephemeral firework or flower, I mused, finally swallowing. Beautiful despite its brief existence – perhaps even more so because of it. Smiling to myself, brimful of satisfaction and meaning, I proceeded to shamelessly and unrestrainedly stuff my face with cheesecake.” Now that's a dessert for you.
Not all the episodes Lee describes over her four year love affair with marijuana are of similar joy, just as not all epiphanies emerge from happy stories. Such is fitting in narrative just as it is in life, where bad things can happen at the best of times. Epiphanies Whilst High Out of One's Mind is an independently published book and it is one of the rare few that are worth seeking out and discovering. Writing should be about honest revelation of the soul and that Abigail Lee does completely.
Reviewed by Arthur Petticrew