During an ongoing, week-long battle with a virulent batch of Pennsylvania brand flu, my doctor’s advice was simple: plenty of liquids, bed rest, pain reliever of choice, sleep, soup, etc. In other words, exactly what Mom always said.
Which, of course, translates into: time to self-medicate!
There were three creative artists that got me through this week, standing as they did at the foot of my bed like the three angels in Procol Harum‘s ode to the near-death experience, Juicy John Pink: Marcel Proust, David Lynch, and Robert E. Howard.
Proust, a neurasthenic who makes hypochondria look like an Olympic sport, is the perfect sickbed companion. Currently in the thrall of the last volume, Finding Time Again, of his monumental In Search of Lost Time, I spent a great deal of my time in surreal reverie, floating freely among endless sentences and phrases modifying constructs seemingly chapters apart, as all time came together and drifted away, all threaded together with regulated doses of Tylenol and 55-gallon drums of chicken soup.
And surreal doesn’t even begin to describe the auteur David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: the Gold Box Edition; suffice to say that, for 29-plus episodes, a bedridden flu victim could put aside the chicken soup and, at least in one’s mind, dream of endless servings of huckleberry pie (and murder, intrigue, and Log Lady’s zen-like approach to early 90’s tv).
Finally, what would staying home sick be without the comfort of a comic or graphic novel when the printed word or surreal video becomes too overwhelming? Childlike, I retreated into the arms of the ultimate hero, Conan the Barbarian, and, yes, found much comfort there. There is nothing confusing for Robert E. Howard’s most famous hero; good and evil, wrong and right, all is as it should be, at least in the land of Aquilonia after the fall of Atlantis but before recorded history.
I spent a great deal more time than I should have thinking about the relationships between these 3 creative artists, aside from the obvious fact that they are all available at the library (and, at the time, were standing at the foot of my bed). I found my conclusions rather unsettling, and had only to remind myself that my illness-addled brain was obviously seeing things that weren’t there.
Or was it?
Let the self-medicating continue!