Why Cocaine?

As I’ve met with different reading groups to discuss The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl, one questions that’s come up a few times is that of why I chose cocaine as Audrey drug of choice — why not meth, for example, the use of which has become tragically more common within my beleaguered heroine’s demographic in recent decades, or even pot, as depicted in Weeds?

I have a few answers for this question, but my wife found the best one in a footnote in Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire, in which the author quotes David Lenson as writing, “Cocaine promises the greatest pleasure ever known in just a minute more… But that future never comes.” The conclusion Lenson draws is that the experience of using cocaine is “a savage mimicry of consumer consciousness.”

In other words, what cocaine offers is a host of increasingly empty promises — i.e., the next hit will always be “the one.” The same can be said of pretty much anything anyone can purchase within our profit-driven consumer society. The next purchase — a new car, for example, a new TV, a new laptop, a new pair of shoes — will be the one that makes everything else in our lives snap into place as if by magic. Or so we’d like to believe. But when buyer’s remorse sets in, as it inevitably must, we move on to the next purchase — bigger, better, new and improved.

As anyone who’s read my book knows, this is one of the major themes in Wonder Mom, and one that I wanted to draw out through Audrey’s growing addiction. It’s not just about drugs. It’s about the eternal quest for something wonderful just around the next corner — something that promises the world but delivers a goose egg.

I continue to be grateful…

As the summer heat bears down upon us here in my corner of the world, I continue to be grateful to everyone for the support they’ve given me and my literary endeavors. This week, special thanks go out to:

Louisa May Alcott Takes On Party Girl

I’m obviously not the first person to write a “drug novel” along the lines of The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl. Stephen J. Gertz’s Dope Menace does a great job of cataloging the best titles in the genre, and as Robert Schnakenberg notes in Secret Lives of Great Authors, Louisa May Alcott’s A Modern Mephisopheles and Work: A Story of Experience are based in part on her own experience with opiates. For a shorter version of Alcott’s take on the 19th century drug scene, however, you can read “Perilous Play,” a story of young lovers experimenting with forbidden fruit. The more things change, it would seem, the more they stay the same.