I love cannabis, and I love being around cannabis plants, but it only takes a few to make me happy. If I only have a few, I enjoy every minute I spend with them. Farming, even cannabis farming, amounts to a lot of tedious, backbreaking work in the hot sun. That I don’t need, but a little patch of my own suits me nicely. When you love plants, and spend time around them, they communicate with you and you build a relationship with them. I think this is especially true of cannabis. I know that a lot of people around here understand this and have cultivated a deep spiritual relationship with the cannabis plant, so this will not be news to them.
When you spend time around cannabis plants, they communicate with you. When they pop out of their shells they crawl around like babies and grab onto everything. Once they get a good grip, they stand up and become little seed-leaf toddlers, and then before long, Kapow! Cannabis plants explode with growth in their vegetative stage. You can feel that energy and vitality if you spend time around them then, and I think that amazing vibrancy and biodynamic growth inspires a lot of young growers to make a career of cannabis.
I’ve seen a lot of disaffected young people who previously showed very little interest in anything, become very excited about their cannabis crop. They build a relationship with the plant and feel the power it exudes. They see its rapid, exponential growth, feel that vigor in the air, and pretty soon they start to believe that they can “make it big” with cannabis. That’s just one way that cannabis communicates with people in general, but cannabis plants also have individual personalities, and right now I want to tell you about a cannabis plant that broke my heart.
She began as the only viable seed from the previous year’s harvest. As a seedling, she grew more vigorously all of the other store bought seeds I planted. By the time I transferred them to 6” pots, I had a few seeds I had started, a few clones, and her. She was still ahead of the rest of the class. When it came time to transplant them to big pots to grow full-term in the sunshine, she had peers, but she still stood out, so she got the largest pot in the best location.
She loved the sun and immediately got huge. By August, she had grown to about 6ft tall, but her girth swelled to 8ft across. She was enormous and beautiful and just beginning to flower. As the summer wore on, she matured spectacularly. Flowering cannabis plants are sexy. They get all sparkly, so they have a twinkle in their eye, and that sweet seductive aroma just calls out to you, and before long, it becomes overwhelming and you start to fear it will attract unwanted attention. By September she was covered with huge, heavy, stinky, sticky buds. As Fall wore on, the buds added highlights of purple and the crystals became so thick that the whole plant looked glazed, the way trees get when the rain freezes on them.
The question of when to harvest is always tricky. It is tempting to harvest early, just because it smells and looks so good, but buds get a lot heavier in those final days. However, as the buds get heavier, denser and fatter, they also get more and more likely to attract mold, so you watch your plants carefully as you countdown to harvest, and you pay close attention to the weather. An early rainstorm or the first sign of mold usually motivates me to harvest, but that year the weather cooperated, and while some other plants developed mold, she showed no sign of it. She just kept getting stickier, stinkier and heavier.
I don’t think I ever let a plant mature that completely before, but one morning, late in October I approached her and I was not at all prepared for what I saw and felt. She was crestfallen. She had given up, and the defeat destroyed her. I could see it; I could feel it. She had done everything that she could to snare some pollen. She had grown big, fast. She made millions of sparkly sticky flowers, and when that didn’t work she made millions more.
She was her mother’s only daughter. She should have had thousands of sisters, but she was the only one, and all she wanted from life was to produce millions of sons and daughters of her own. She knew she had not produced a single seed, and she was exhausted. She had done everything she could do, and she had failed. I could feel her anguish and it broke my heart. I felt awful. I cut her down, dismembered her and hung her up to dry.
She was my best plant, and her flowers grew bountiful and huge, but I felt ashamed of what I had done to her. I felt ashamed of having tortured her in that way, and it seemed an unnecessary cruelty. I felt ashamed that a relationship that I found so gleefully delightful, was so deeply unsatisfying for her. It didn’t stop me from smoking her, and she produced some of the finest cannabis flower I have ever smoked, but the taste was bitter-sweet. I’ve never felt quite the same about sinsemilla since then.
Since then, I like finding seeds in my weed, and I’d like to find more of them. Seeds tell you that your pot comes from happy plants, and each of those beans is a little bundle of cannabis happiness for you to spread around. Seedy weed is happy weed, and happy weed, makes people happy. It may not make you rich, but it will make you happy.
The Southern Humboldt Health Care District wants to know what I think of their plans for our local hospital. They sent me a survey to fill out, and when I didn’t respond, they sent another, reminding me that I had not responded to their previous inquiry. I haven’t responded to that one either. I suspect they want to know how I voted in the last election, and how I’m inclined to vote in this one, so they can decide whether to cut me out of the district or not. Last year Blocksburg voters voted more than 2 to 1 against the hospital tax. This year, Blocksburg voters, and land-owners, have been excised from the health-care district, and the potential tax.
Personally, just thinking about health-care feels like stepping into the La Brea Tar Pits. I’d rather not think about it at all, until, God forbid, someday I get stuck in it, after which I expect to struggle futilely, until death becomes my only escape. I don’t want to think about health-care; I want to know how to avoid the health-care system entirely because I know I’m fucked if I ever need it.
That’s how it is for most people around here. We can’t afford health-care, because the bills quickly become even more debilitating than the disease. Health-care in America is a dark, sticky pit full of twisted logic, untenable compromises, and vicious, heartless greed, dusted with a thin layer of boring-as-fuck. I can’t even pay attention to the subject of health-care, let alone afford it, and I am disinclined to throw any more of my money into that pit. Apparently, a lot of people around here feel the same way, and with good reason, I think.
First, we should never forget that the health-care system in the US was not designed to promote health, or even to treat disease. Our health-care system was designed to make money. Our health-care system has been so successful in this regard, that it has blossomed into a central pillar of our economy. Unfortunately, the success of our health-care system lies in it’s coercive ability to extract absurdly high fees from people, at the very moment when they are most vulnerable.
Because of this, our current health-care system has become both a major source of wealth and a major source of poverty here in the United States. The system creates wealth for health-care providers, hospital administrators, insurance companies and their share-holders, while it creates poverty for the unfortunate people who chose any other career path, but find themselves in need of medical services.
As health-care professionals become more enriched by this system, they find that they tire quickly of the time they must spend with poor sick people, and they start looking for ways to insulate themselves from us. They often move to more affluent neighborhoods, where they can charge even more for their services. Eventually, that leads to the extreme situation that we face here in SoHum. We have a building that looks like a hospital, but the only doctor there probably just flew in for his shift at the ER, and he has no intention of providing services to anyone, except to offer directions to the nearest real hospital, in Fortuna, where our closest local doctors actually live.
We can’t even convince a hospital administrator to live here, no matter how much we pay them. When Harry Jasper worked here, he was probably the highest paid man in SoHum who didn’t carry a gun, but we had to pay him an extra $30,000 a year, as a housing allowance, so that his family could live in a nicer community, and his kids would not have to associate with ours. No wonder it didn’t last.
Without a doctor, a hospital is just an expensive building full of expensive equipment and overpaid people with nothing to do. Even with a doctor, that’s pretty much what we have here in Garberville, because most people who live here already know that all they will do for you in Garberville is send you to Fortuna, and stick you with a fat bill.
If you live in Garberville, and you have a heart-attack, there’s a chance they could save your life at Jerald Phelps Hospital, because they have a defibrillator and know how to use it. For almost anyone else, you might as well forget about our local hospital because all you are likely to get from them is a fat bill on your way to another fat bill, so the hospital offers very little value, as a health-care provider, to the people here in SoHum.
On the other hand, the illusion of a hospital has an important role in propping-up property values. Prospective real-estate buyers notice signs pointing to a hospital, and the building itself. These features make many prospective buyers feel more secure about purchasing land in such a remote place. Few of them actually check to see if the hospital has a real doctor. Because of this, our mostly useless hospital mostly benefits real-estate agents looking to pad their commissions, and land-owners looking to sell-out. Fuck them!
The sooner our real-estate bloodsuckers move on to greener pastures, the better, and sell-out dope yuppies will take whatever they can get for their land now that the black market gravy train has left the station. For the rest of us, I think we should work on becoming the kind of community where a good doctor might want to live, because unless we can convince a good doctor to move here and open a practice, we might as well get used to driving to Fortuna to see one.
We aren’t going to attract a good doctor by waving our black market profits at them, even if we still had them to wave, and we aren’t going to get a good doctor by voting for a new tax. The only way we are going to get a good doctor in SoHum is by being better neighbors. If we can’t do that, we might as well save our money.
Last week I hosted a show about the housing crisis on my local community radio station. Like a lot of the country, we have a chronic housing shortage, especially affordable housing, and as a result, thousands of people sleep outside, or in their cars, on these cold, rainy winter nights. After the show, a woman approached me to make a comment. She told me that the people she sees on the street don’t seem very friendly to her. She noticed that the people who carry big backpacks and appear to be living outside, mostly talk to, and associate with, each other. They don’t make much of an effort to engage with the rest of society. She seemed to think that they owe us more of an effort.
I told her that I didn’t think poor people owed her anything. By the time you’ve made someone sleep outside in the rain, put up fences and bars everywhere, and paid cops to roust them from every dry, sheltered place they can find, you’ve pretty much blown your chances for friendship, and you should not be surprised to find them in a bad mood. Everyone seems eager to offer helpful criticism to poor people as to what they could improve about themselves to better deserve our compassion, but I have to ask, and I wish I had asked: What about mainstream society deserves respect? Why should poor people voluntarily participate in a system designed to oppress them? More importantly, why do any of us participate in a system that excludes so many people and denies them even the most basic of their human needs?
Once upon a time, we would say that our society deserved respect because we followed God’s word and we endeavored to obey God’s command, so only God could judge us, but to disrespect our society was to disrespect God himself. A whole lot of people still believe that, by the way. There’s really no point in talking to those people. Rational arguments only go so far with them, and I respect that. Belief is a powerful thing. A shared belief brings stability and cohesiveness to a group, even if those beliefs destabilize the climate, disintegrate the ecosystem, and contradict compelling evidence to the contrary.
These days, the rest of us mostly fancy ourselves rational, intelligent creatures capable understanding the world around us, and of making wise decisions for ourselves and the common good. This is every bit as stupid and crazy as believing in God’s word, but it is also just as important to our identity as Jesus is to Christians’. What’s more, this idea is foundational to the concept of democracy, which has become our new religion.
The News has replaced Mass, and elections have replaced The Holy Communion, but it’s essentially the same mass stupidity. Still, you can talk to these people, because they believe deep in their heart that they can solve any problem with rational thinking and creativity, even if they have no real experience at doing either.
If you believe in the supremacy of human intelligence, and your own ability to think something through, this is one of those things that maybe you ought to take the time to think all the way through: What about our society deserves your respect? And more tangibly: What about our society merits your participation? Think about that for a moment.
Off hand, I can think of a lot of reasons to be ashamed of our society. We should be ashamed of global climate change, and what it means for future generations. We should be ashamed that we have exterminated half of the world’s biodiversity in the last 40 years, and that we squeeze more than a hundred species of plant and animal out of existence and into extinction every day. We should be ashamed that today, having practically exhausted the Earth’s resources, all we have to show for it is a few billionaires, a host of toxic gadgets designed to exploit our every thought, and poverty, poverty everywhere.
Historically, we should be ashamed of genocide. We should be ashamed of slavery. We should be ashamed of internments, witch hunts, lynchings, black lists, prohibitions, Jim Crow etc. We should be ashamed of US foreign policy. That’s just off the top of my head, but it’s already a pretty serious list. I could go on.
I’m not trying to make you feel bad, I’m just pointing out that we sacrifice a lot, and we excuse an awful lot of really bad behavior, in order to participate in this society. If we could each choose whether or not to participate in modern society based entirely on principle, I’m sure that a lot of people would find our society too distasteful.
Unfortunately, most of us choose to participate in this modern society out of economic pressure, not principle. You work hard and pay taxes, not because of your burning desire to glorify the proud fatherland, but because you are hungry, and because you want to have a roof over your head. We participate in this society largely because of economic coercion, but we tell ourselves that somehow we are in control, and can fix it all with an election, because we are intelligent, rational people capable of understanding the world and making good decisions. That’s the mythology of a democratic society.
In reality, we mindlessly help the likes of Bill Gates, Elan Musk and Donald Trump mine whatever is left of the Earth’s natural abundance to further their plans to re-engineer the world, escape from the consequences of that re-engineering and put their name in gold letters across whatever is left of it, respectively. Not only that, we step over the broken bodies and spirits of our brothers and sisters to do it. Honestly, there’s nothing sane, rational or respectable about any of it. That’s the real crisis today. There is nothing respectable about modern society. It’s a crime, a disaster, and a failure all rolled into one.
Today, we see democracy for the fraud that it is, a thin veneer of populism over a machine built with violence and coercion, for the purpose of violence and coercion. We have plenty to be ashamed of, as a society, and our complete failure to meet the critical challenges of our time, only adds to that legacy of shame.
We no longer believe in God, but now democracy has failed us too. Our gods have died. Only crazy people worship dead gods, but worship them we do, because we have no idea what else to do. What’s more, we still expect the people we sacrificed to these gods to worship them too. And you thought the homeless were mentally ill.
At long last, I can buy marijuana, legally, here in California. I don’t need a note from my doctor, and I don’t have to pretend to be sick. I can walk into a store, admire their selection of fine cannabis products, and if I have enough money, and I can prove that I’m over 21 years of age, I can buy my choice of them, without having to look over my shoulder to see if there’s a cop around. I’ve waited a really long time for this. I’ve been dreaming of this day since 1978, and working for it since 1988, but I guess I’ll have to wait a few more days.
I had hoped that I would not have to drive far to visit one of these new recreational cannabis retailers on January 1st. People around here like to call Southern Humboldt County “the Heart of the Emerald Triangle,” but unfortunately, the two venders seeking retail recreational cannabis licenses in Southern Humboldt are still not quite open for business. When I inquired of the Humboldt County Cannabis Chamber of Commerce as to where I could find the nearest recreational cannabis retailer in my area, they refered me to a list compiled by Leafly.com, listing all of the cannabis retailers in the state that have registered with them to be open on January 1st.
I only found one retailer on that list in Humboldt County, EcoCann in Oldtown Eureka. I had never heard of them before, but a couple of days later, I found their circular in the North Coast Journal, offering preroll joints for one dollar, one per customer, with coupon. It’s about 80 miles from our place in Ettersburg to Oldtown, a long way to drive, and a lot of money in gas for a one dollar joint, especially considering that all of my friends and neighbors have tons of weed, and I can hardly go to town without someone giving a wad of buds for free.
Still, I want to buy weed, legally, in a licensed store. Well, not exactly weed, but I want to buy some cannabis products. I have weed. Everyone I know has weed. If I was out of weed, I would buy weed in the store. Hell, if I was out of weed, I would’ve driven to the store on New Years Eve and camped out overnight so that I could be their first customer on New Year’s Day, but I’ve got plenty of weed, so it can wait a few more days until we need to make a trip up North.
On Jan 5, I have an appointment in Trinidad to record a couple of segments for my KMUD radio show: Monday Morning Magazine. I think I’ll visit the dispensary then, and turn my visit to EcoCann into a segment as well. Celebrating legal cannabis will be the cover story of the show, which will air on KMUD (streaming and archived at www.kmud.org) on January 8, from 7-9am, about the time this post drops on LoCO. We will talk a lot about this new world we call legalization with a live panel of local entrepreneurs who have set sail to discover it, including Graham Shaw, Holly Carter, Kevin Jodrey and Lelehnia Dubois.
I’m really excited about this. I feel like a kid anticipating his first trip to the candy store. It’s been years since I had a medical recommendation, and when I did go to the trouble of getting a medical recommendation, it was only because I had shitloads of weed, and felt I needed the legal protection. Once, at Wonderland Nursery in Redway, I used my medical marijuana card to buy a bottle of Golden Dragon Medicinal Syrup for my mom, who has Parkinson’s disease, but other than that, I’ve never shopped for cannabis at a dispensary before.
The circular from EcoCann tells me they have quite a few strains of fresh cannabis flower for sale, and the pictures of the buds look pretty nice, but I’ve got plenty of flowers. Right now, I’m more interested in some of the new, value added, cannabis products that you only find at a a legal dispensary. Last year, I sent my mother a box of chocolates from the Humboldt Chocolate Company behind the gazebo in Oldtown. My mother, naturally, assumed that anything that had “Humboldt” in the name, must be infused with cannabis, and that’s what she told her friends, when she shared those, very delicious, but non-medicated, truffles with them. Of course, they all thought they got high from them. I would like to give my mother some chocolates that really will get her and her friends high, and I’ll bet they have them at EcoCann.
For myself, I’d like to find a way to ingest cannabis that doesn’t harsh my vocal chords as much as smoking, and that doesn’t involve sugar, and I’m sure my girlfriend would appreciate it if I didn’t stink the house up with smoke so much. I might want to try a vape pen, and I’ve heard great things about a cannabis throat spray.
I still find it hard to believe that I no longer have to feel paranoid about carrying weed (but I probably will, for the rest of my life), and I can go to a licensed store to buy it, even if it takes two hours to get there. So much has changed in forty rears, mostly for the worst, but this change is long overdue. Really, it’s about time.
Here in Humboldt County, we take private property very seriously. We talk about “property rights” as though they were sacred principles, while we trample human and civil rights as if the Bill of Rights, and the UN Declaration of Human Rights, were just yesterday’s newspaper. One might be surprised by how wholeheartedly we embrace this idea of “private property,” when you consider just how recently the concept was imposed on this area.
300 years ago, there was no private property in Humboldt County. There were plenty of people here, but no title deeds, no “No Trespassing” signs, and no Sheriff’s deputies, courts or lawyers, and by all accounts, life was pretty good here, 300 years ago. The story of how private property came to Humboldt County is not a pretty one. It’s a story that most property owners around here would be ashamed to tell, and should be ashamed to tell, were they to tell it truthfully, which they don’t often do. It’s a shameful story because it involved so much heartless, vicious, violence and blood-lust, and because few of us want to admit that we could be related to, or even have financial dealings with, the monsters who carried out such atrocities.
The story of how “private property” came to Humboldt County is not unique. All around the world, where “private property” is honored, there is a legacy of brutal, monstrous violence upon which it was founded, and in which lies it’s only authority. Here in Humboldt County, only about one-quarter of the households residing in the county, can realistically afford private property on which to live. Three quarters of us are just shit-out-of-luck. This is also reflected globally. More than half the people in the whole world do not own private property, or “real” property if you prefer, and have no chance of ever doing so, while a tiny minority, like 1% of the worlds population, owns more than half of it. Every year, the percentage of private property in the hands of that tiny minority, increases, while the amount available to the rest of the planet’s growing population, decreases.
So, why do people continue to honor this system of private property, even though it works so poorly for the majority of us? There is only one answer to that question. Violence. All of those past monstrosities, must be backed up with day to day violence to maintain the system, and the threat of more violence to come, insures that people continue to honor this violently imposed system of private property. Armies, navies, armies of cops, prisons, courts, lawyers, and the whole modern arsenal of lethal weaponry all exist, primarily, to inspire and maintain respect for private property.
There is nothing moral or right about private property at all. People honor the system because they don’t want to get arrested and thrown in jail, or shot, and mothers teach their children to honor it, because they don’t want their kids to go to jail or get shot, or because, by luck of birth, the child is born into one of those privileged families, who own private property, and for whom the system of private property works very nicely, thank you very much. Either way, I don’t see how you could possibly make a moral case to defend it.
I know a lot of fundamentalist Christians who have done their best to do so, but in order to buy their baloney, you have to believe their fairy tales. You have to accept “God’s” word that he gave us “dominion” over the Earth, and you have to accept that “dominion” means “the right to rape, pillage and dissect.” I don’t buy it. If God had intended us to have private property, he would have given Moses a stack of title deeds instead of the 10 Commandments.
I reject their moral authority and discount their fairy tales, despite their popularity. In my eyes, private property is morally indefensible, as well it should be in yours too, but hey, let’s be scientific about it.
If Global Warming is an “Inconvenient Truth.” Private property is the convenient lie that made it possible and necessary. Private property turns the community of life into resources, and licenses their extraction and exploitation. Private property butchers integrated ecosystems slashing them with arbitrary property lines, which then become real fences and roads that divide and fragment habitat, and displace wild plants and animals.
People borrow money to purchase private property, and then extract and sell off the natural abundance of the land to pay the interest on the loan, so the owner is left with depleted land, and a title deed that declares that the Sheriff will defend his right to possess that depleted land, with violence, against all trespassers, provided the owner pays his taxes. Then the owner must find a way to produce something, on that land, that he can sell for enough money to pay whatever taxes the Sheriff demands, which then further depletes the land’s natural abundance, and drives displaced species who once thrived there, into extinction. In other words, when you look at it scientifically, you will discover that the concept and practice of private property is profoundly dysfunctional, from an ecological perspective.
I assume that none of this is new to you. You know the awful history of this place. You understand how private property works, and you have some awareness of the environmental crisis. By now you must see the moral bankruptcy, social injustice and ecological dysfunction of it. How can you say that any of it is right? You understand what’s legal within this system, but there’s nothing right about it. In fact, this system is killing us and destroying the planet because the system is wrong, dead wrong. It is very important that you understand that.
The same logic applies to intellectual property, in fact the concept of intellectual property was built on the morally bankrupt, socially unjust, and ecologically dysfunctional idea that everything on Earth, including our thoughts and ideas, can and should be commodified and sold to the highest bidder. Applying the violence of private property, to our ideas doesn’t make it a better idea. It is simply a method of enslaving our minds in the same way that it enslaves the world.
There has been a propaganda campaign to convince us that intellectual property rights protect struggling artists, but just the opposite is true. Most artists who make money from images you see on the internet, do not own those images. By the time you see them, those images have already been sold to corporations and business interests who dominate the media and use that system of private property to extract work from artists, before anyone has a chance to see it.
Artists, sell that work to those business interests because they need the money to pay their rent, and because the artist knows that no one but their immediate friends and family will ever see their work otherwise. Intellectual property rights were not designed to protect artists, or to prevent people from stealing artist’s work. Intellectual property rights were designed to prevent artists from selling their own work, again, to a different buyer. It was designed to allow capitalists to extract works of art from artists and exploit them for their own profit, without competition from the artists themselves.
This is why artists should be very careful not to assert their intellectual property rights on moral grounds. When an artist asserts his intellectual property rights on moral grounds, he also asserts the moral, just and sacred right of his landlord to hold the Earth beneath his feet, hostage, and to charge him for every footprint and shadow he casts upon it. I don’t know many artists who believe that. Hell, I don’t know many people who believe that, besides those who also own enough private real property to to feel invested in the whole rotten system, and choose to remain in denial about it.
I do not mean to say that artists should not exercise their intellectual property rights. Not at all. If you are an artists, and see some benefit to exercising your intellectual property rights as enumerated in the legal code, by all means do so, but do it for aesthetic reasons, political reasons, economic reasons or even petty personal reasons. Don’t do it on moral grounds or try to stand on principle about it, because the principle is wrong, dead wrong.
I don’t read a lot. Hell, I wouldn’t read my own work if I could avoid it. I mean, why should I? I already know what I think. For some people, however, reading offers an escape from reality, and many people become addicted to it. Whether it’s online articles and newspapers, romance novels and mysteries or historical biographies and serious non-fiction, reading is all about filling your head with other people’s ideas, and if you do it a lot, pretty soon you know more about what other people think than you know about yourself.
Personally, I prefer to think for myself. I enjoy my own thoughts, and I cultivate them, so I tend to have a lot of them, and they consume a lot of my time. If I’m going to think someone else’s thoughts, I expect them to be at least as good as my own, tell me something I didn’t already know, and make me care about it. That’s a tall order, but I got sucked into a new book of horror fiction recently that really made the grade.
Local author Mathew V Brockmeyer has written a terrific new book titled “Kind Nepenthe.” I had to look it up, so I’ll save you the trouble. According to Webster: “nepenthe – a drug supposed by the ancient Greeks to cause forgetfulness of sorrow.”
It’s a ghost story, set somewhere in Humboldt County. Brockmeyer tells us that his story takes place in the far South-East corner of the county, where Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties meet, but the scenery he describes sounds much more like South-West Humboldt County, like maybe Whitethorne or Gopherville, and the store in the story reminds me of the Honeydew General Store.
It’s a fictional world, but the monsters in this book are very real, very SoHum, and they haunt our streets every day. The horrors described in this book, really happen, all too frequently in our community. That’s what makes this book so scary.
The story revolves around a couple of young dreadlocked idealists from San Diego. He’s a young certified permaculture designer. She’s a fiercely protective mother of a five year old girl. Together, the three of them take a job sharecropping on a monster-sized diesel grow, in this remote corner of Humboldt County. They share a dream of living sustainably, off-the-grid, on their own land, and if they can just get through one more cycle, that dream could come true, but the grow is haunted.
In pursuit of their dream, the young couple compromise their principles again and again, and each time, it draws them deeper into the abyss. Meanwhile, we meet a cast of local characters, living and dead, who inhabit this abyss and call it home. The couple’s boss, “Coyote,” a Deadhead who drives a Lincoln Navigator and eats at McDonalds. the neighbor, “Diesel,” a mechanic with a drug problem, who’s family used to own all of the land in the area, and “DJ,” Diesel’s teenage son, and father to be, lead a cast of very realistic SoHum characters through a horrific nightmare that consumes them all.
The story sucked me in immediately, and the rich character development kept me engaged until the wrenching and the weeping and the unspeakable horrors take over, and then I just couldn’t stop reading til it was over. Kind Nepenthe is not only engrossing to read, but it reveals a lot about our community, our times, and our condition. The ghosts in this story give the characters bad dreams, and play tricks on them, but the horrors that Mathew V Brockmeyer describe in this book, really happen here in Southern Humboldt, all too often, and the monsters he describes are our neighbors.
I don’t usually like horror fiction. You didn’t see, “scare the shit out of me” in that list of stuff I want a book to do, but this genre proved to be a perfect vehicle for conveying these great character studies. In Kind Nepenthe we see how drugs, greed and the War on Drugs all work together to destroy peoples lives and poison the culture of a community. I think everyone should read Kind Nepenthe by local author, Mathew V Brockmeyer, but especially, everyone in SoHum really must read Kind Nepenthe by Mathew V Brockmeyer.
Make time for this SoHum horror story this Fall! Read it aloud to your trimmers. They’ll love it! You can find Kind Nepenthe at King Range Books in Garberville, Northtown Books in Arcata, and Eureka Books in Eureka, just in time for Halloween.