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One Toke Over the Line: a novel
David Courtney
David Courtney / Softcover / Feb 2022
price: $24.95
538 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

ONE TOKE OVER THE LINE is a literary novel involving the psychology of hidden forces. The world is too much with us, said Wordsworth, its coming and going. The coming and going has changed an enormous amount since Wordsworth, and emphatically since Covid. Everybody is letting their inner giant turn into their inner monster. The things locked away in our heads in our safety deposit boxes, things we cherish are under threat. The world, at least politically, is as topsy turvy as ever it has been. Comparisons with pre-Hitler Germany are more than in order.

Many White people like myself feel shocked by the deep roots of racism and misogyny in our culture. In 2019 on a bench in Paris France in the shadow of the Eiffel tower, my wife and I talked to an American couple from Kansas, Missouri. The man authored a character for Hallmark cards and this was their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Talking about the widespread Trump support in America --- he says he thought Americans were better than that.

The United States is not the only centre of global rot; it is in every country. In Canada the truckers’ strike for so-called Freedom demonstrates that Freedom is understood differently by different people.

For Caulfield, the world is a labyrinth and to fight for freedom is an internal battle.

This freedom exists in Caulfield’s mind because he and Desiree consciously ward off the Minotaur. But it’s not easy. Even getting high isn’t easy despite Canada’s legalization of cannabis. You can’t shake the world loose that easily.

The world of psychedelics is changing. Kevin O’Leary is investing in LSD and Psilocybin therapy. Such companies are springing up everywhere. It’s no wonder, if you look at the new research surfacing about psychedelics curing alcoholism, depression, autism and the 7-year itch. Most significantly, there is hope for people with Fentanyl addiction. Caulfield is all for exploring the mystical. He works on expanding his neural map and cultivating mirror neurons. It all comes down to firing and wiring.

Society has educated us, making us posers, leaving us acting out our lives to a script we see as do-able. It’s do-able and then it isn’t --- if anxiety moves in, the mind can respond with any number of mental illness features. When you think One Toke Over the Line, think Merry Pranksters. It is the whimsical and serendipitous that keep Caulfield high as a kite. Like Catch 22, TOKE also wades into serious shit.

As we enter a new era where drugs like cannabis open up the imagistic creative brain, we simultaneously fear political censorship. The old hope, that the truth will out, is facing off with the impenetrable mass mind. Drugs can break up the neuro-map and free it from entrenched bias including addiction.

Most exciting perhaps is the descriptiveness of altered states. Stricken by Covid-19 fever, Caulfield connects with strong hallucinogenic characters that remain in his dreams after the fever dissipates. Night after night they upload human specimen information and leave Caulfield gasping for air.

One Toke Over the Line
Brewer & Shipley

One toke over the line, sweet Jesus
One toke over the line
Sitting downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line
Waiting for the train that goes home, sweet Mary
Hoping that the train is on time
Sitting downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line
Who do you love? I hope it's me
I've been changing, as you can plainly see
I felt the joy and I learned about the pain

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