A self-indulgent Author's note inre the 20th anniversary edition of The Techno Pagan Octopus Messiah, Now available on Amazon
First, Gratitude. Second,
Here's the F***ing deal, Okay?
IMHO, the book, as first published, was a mess. This is because...
1. The first draft was written in pen (google it), in fifteen run-on notebooks, which got mixed up because
2. I WAS SO HIGH on indian Government Bhang MY EYES WERE BLEEDING.
3. Upon acceptance for publication I was told:
a) to alter certain events for legal reasons
b) it must be less than 288 pages because books are bound in 12 page lots, we're on a limited budget and
c) we don't have much time to edit so how 'bout you do that mostly yourself and on the quick, chop-chop. Therefore:
4. I MADE BAD CHOICES. I WAS 28. WHAT DO YOU WANT?
TPOM is, at heart, a memoir. A travellogue (or "travelogue" as the Brits call it). It was published as a novel to avoid a lawsuit — and in the Hunter S. Thompson spirit of "fiction being the truest form of journalism." Since then, I have learned that no-one owns the rights to your life story and that anyone can sue you for any reason at any time.
WHICH IS WHY...
Having become the editor I needed 20 years ago, I have run a comb through TPOM: elaborating what was glossed-over, condensing what was repetitive and hewing things closer to the truth — while still not getting sued or writing outright fiction. To that end, I have reinstated a section from Varanasi, a favorite poem involving rocks, deeper conversations with Jimi Baba (a bonafide Hindu holy man?), and a potentially redemptive penultimate scene which somehow ended up on the cutting room floor. For anyone wondering how much of the book is true I would say the difference between the new edition and the first is comparable to the first edition and reality. Please feel free to do the math!
Still, the first edition will always have a special place in my heart: it was what brought my beautiful wife and I together after she contacted me to replace a mutual friend's signed copy which she'd accidentally dropped off a long-tail boat in Thailand precipitating an 18-month e-mail correspondence (no voice or photos) which culminated in us getting married in 2004 by a Sakalavan crocodile shaman in Madagascar.
In short: the 20th anniversary digital, paperback and soon to be audio editions are a better telling of this whole ridiculous shebang.And I truly hope you do enjoy it. NAMASTE (literal Sanskrit translation: not me, you),
(There are people in this world who make everything worth it. Mrs. Cathy Winn is one of them)