by Amrit Paul and Radhikaa Sharma
So, recently, I read this book a friend recommended- if stuffing their own copy down my backpack counts as a recommendation, that is- and despite its brutal, angry tone and hard-hitting content, I was hooked.
And that's how A Million Little Pieces became one of my favourite books.
A grammatical nightmare filled with rage that hits you almost physically, Frey's memoir is unnerving- the story of an alcoholic and crack addict, who has a ten-year-record of addiction…by the age of 23.
The story begins at the end of his addiction, and what the reader gets to see is the aftermath of years of substance abuse on a person ostensibly on the threshold of youth.
Imagine being twenty-something, fresh out of college, and a relationship, and already being unemployable, unlikeable and on the brink of near-certain death. What would you do? What do you do?
If you are lucky enough, your family and friends help you straighten your shit out. And in that process, your heart breaks just a little more.
While James is admitted to a rehab and inducted into Alcoholics' Anonymous, his indifference to their methods and persistent disbelief in the modus operandi of AA grows. Even as he tries to battle his growing need and want for whatever poison subsisted him for over a decade, He learns more about himself than he ever thought was possible.
James goes through a roller coaster of emotions- blinding, gut wrenching physical agony, inexplicable anger that demands absolute annihilation, ravenous hunger that is never satiated- while always, always craving drugs, anything, everything, anything at all.
And somewhere along the way, he learns how to let none of it matter. This doesn't always mean a happy ending, he says, but at least the ending will be something you can respect.
What Frey tells us is that letting go is often the easiest way to hold on to what you need the most.
All we need is the belief to let go.
(.. and she's gone, isn't she?
Sentimental kids all over this place don't understand that they loved A Million Little Pieces, adored Infinite Jest and think Trainspotting is Irvine Welsh's great gift to posterity because all these stories are their stories- sad, tragic, real things happening to sadtragicreal kids all over the world- heck, some of them might even find their way to this post.
Addicts aren't cool or nouveau or outliers anymore- it's that kid that watches anime for forty straight hours, and the forty year old janitor who was fired for humping the vacuum cleaner (thrice), and the girl that needs at least four cups of black coffee everyday, and you, and you, and you, and I- well, I'm just your average article floating around somewhere, anywhere, relegated to the backlog of the writer, who has found someone/something new to obsess over (and has the attention span of a goldfish).
Some people don't get blog posts. And as a blog post, I don't get some people, so I think it's only fair. I also think "some" is a pretty empty way of asserting, but I don't have a point to prove. Some abandoned drafts barely do.
I don't get these people. This generation is strange. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not born of journals of the early eighties – I have no nostalgia value, and this is not an autobiography essay. I don't have parents. This generation is strange. And they'll get me wrong.
But that's okay. I'm a post on a high horse, and this generation would imagine a horse with red eyes and a "Yo Bro" face, because I said "high".
This generation talks in equivocation and shorter words, given its attention span - both in reading and writing what matters. Long form is gone. And that isn't a bad thing, or good. It's only a thing. Only that, it isn't an "in" thing.
This generation talks in equivocation, and would cringe at the mention of "in" thing. That's pretentious. It's like a two year old meme *still* trying to fit in.
In meme years, two-year-old memes are as old as dinosaurs. If you still love them, you're a Ross Geller. This generation finds Ross adorable. This generation has a lot of Rachels, but with less common names.
This generation loves F.R.I.E.N.D.S references.
Does it still? I'm a two-week-old post, and in Internet years, two weeks are enough for things to go mainstream enough to be hated.
This generation cringes less at the mention of "mainstream". This generation uses the word " mainstream" only when they're avoiding it.
They'll tell you mainstream, upstream, downstream, nothing matters. Nothing Matters. ®
Nihilism is a meme now. As is a e s t h e t i c. Maybe they’ve always been – meme might just be a new word and a new form to a jest that didn’t have a name before.
This generation is good at giving names. From Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows to Urban Dictionary, naming has given rise to validation – that it exists. And even for a generation where everyone seeks to be unique, there’s an odd solace in But I’m Not The Only One.
Or repulsion, really. One is better off not knowing what rusty trombone is.
“This generation” is a massive generalisation, and I’m getting self-aware. But self-aware on a high horse? I’ll Fake It till I Make It. It’s an addiction, convincing self.
The funny part about nothing mattering is that everything starts mattering, because you’d have given up on prioritising.
The thing is, the "millenials" (they even have this term, this niche for themselves) don't /really/ see things the way their predecessors did. Cocooned in the comfort of Netflix and fantasy games/books/movies, real life has become, to a great extent, an elaborate game of "Spot the Difference". While genocides in another continent and orange toupeed almost-Presidents cause the Webcollective to bristle with passive rage, what really gets their goat is Facebook blacking out for half an hour.
While jokes of past genocides that they "did Nazi coming" still sound funny to them.
They are proud of things normally considered unhealthy- binge eating, under/oversleeping, being antisocial are now all medals of honour, when weaboos rule the www.
While it is suggested that substance abuse in the youth is declining (huh?!), addiction really isn’t.
Speaking of abuse- what's the fascination with the anti heroes? They worship Snape, idolise the Joker, and think Deadpool is the badassest superhero. They empathise till their Dark Past is bared and they aren’t Bad anymore. Only wronged. When they start to care (or pretend to), Anti-Heroes become people.
Or villians, too.
And we know how it goes when there are no villains to hate.
The hippie generation wasn't replaced. The substance of addiction is all that's changed. Instead of going to get wasted and listen to Nirvana, they compulsively refresh their newsfeed (while getting wasted) and convince themselves that they can stop anytime they want- despite the panic attacks that strike when they're in public without a screen to stare at.
There are no generation gaps between hippies.
Loneliness is a withdrawal symptom. From an empty house to an empty chat box.
It isn’t people that makes a building a home. It’s the WiFi.
Obsession is a prize to be cherished. Creativity is saturated, and when everything new you think of has already been done, the one thing that makes you YOU is what you're hooked to.
It’s a collective seeking of being different, and bonding over it.
I don't get these people. This generation is strange.
You're all great. You all have your own place in the world with your uniqueness, but then, as The Syndrome
(one of the last villains who was actually hated)
But what would I know.
Update: (More like, Note To Self)
The author probably won't publish this post, since she wiki-ed the author and found that he has exaggerated everything in his memoir, and she got disillusioned and is currently looking for something else to hook on to.
Is this what death feels like? Suspension till eternity? Would she delete this draft? Would that be termed euthanasia if I asked for it?
Seems like the writer rubbed off on me.
Not that it matters…
w00t w00t WHAAAAAAAAAT.