Heroin’s a hell of a drug.
It has also been a lifestyle for many New Yorkers and a muse for some, as evident by the anthology “Heroin Chronicles,” a compilation of stories from authors such as Nathan Larson who will speak at Word bookstore in Greenpoint on the highs and lows of doing one of the most romantic and dangerous drugs to influence the American culture.˛ˆ
Contributing to the drug’s allure was a star-studded cast of literary and musical legends, whose experience with the opiate, for better or worse, was inextricably linked to the art that Larson had come to admire, he said.
“I grew up with all of these heroes who were heroin addicts, guys like Lou Reed, Jim Caroll, and William Borroughs,” Larson said. “There’s a romance to the whole thing, a literary romance. The only problem is, you can’t really write anything on heroin.”
Larson was introduced to dope in his early twenties while pursing a career in music in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where it was all too easy for a young man with cash in his pockets to fall into the neighborhood’s flourishing heroin scene.
“Right in my neighborhood, there would be four or five sources for heroin within blocks of where I lived,” said Larson. “It was a lifestyle thing.”
However, as Larson began to indulge in heroin and other drugs, his romantic preconceptions were fitfully tempered by bitter experiences.
“I would run into people who would be like, ‘What’s up dude,’ and I would just not know who they were,” he said. “It’s a really insidious drug; you would sniff a line, then go puke in the bathroom and come out thinking you had style when you were covered in puke.”
The majority of the stories in “Heroin Chronicles” are at the very least semi-autobiographical, but Larson has refrained from taking that approach.
His contribution to the anthology, “Dos Mac + the Jones,” has more in common with “Mad Max” than “The Basketball Diaries,” and follows a lonesome fiend as he scavenges for dope amidst the ruins of a catastrophe-plagued New York City.
Larson will be joined by editor Jerry Stahl and authors who contributed to the “Heroin Chronicles” at Word bookstore [126 Franklin St. between Milton and Noble streets in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, wordbrooklyn.com] Jan. 23, 7 pm.Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cn