Patrick Clark Interview to Rudy Rucker for Interference On The Brain Screen. St. Paul, Minnesota.

Q: We were talking about your public image, and I think you mentioned you had something to say about drugs and alcohol? A: It’s kind of touching how much attitude I used to have. I was pretty desperate to get noticed. To be different. For a long time I embraced the classic notion that drinking and taking drugs is a bohemian identifier, a legitimate path to enlightenment. As I got to be older than Poe and Kerouac ever were, it became all too evident to me that their “left-hand” path is not a sustainable one. “It just ends in tears,” as my mother used to say vis-à-vis almost anything. I’ve been clean and sober for almost three years now, which feels like a big and joyful deal to me. I couldn’t have done it without group support. The simple act of reaching beyond yourself and asking for help seems to be crucial. I used to be scared that if I got straight I wouldn’t be the same person, that the wild creative part of me would go away. Well, I’m not exactly the same person — but I still feel creative. My bizarre and millennial Saucer Wisdom will be out in mid-1999. And I recently finished Realware, which is the coda and finale of the Ware tetralogy. There is, I would say, as much weirdness in these books as ever. Regarding enlightenment, it seems humorous to me that I used to think enlightenment was about getting wasted and blasting my brain into nullity. The flash, the pop, the white light. Like it never occurred to me that attaining enlightenment might have something to do with becoming a better person or being more loving to those around me. I’ve finally started getting some serenity now and then. “Let go, let God.” Brain-dead bumper-sticker or profound truth? Yes, yes, it’s the latter, even if you write in Olde English Scripte. There’s some good raps about the bumper-sticker/profound truth dichotomy in David Foster Wallace’s book Infinite Jest. I read that book in early 1996, right before I finally got sober, and it made a real difference to me. Some people say that Infinite Jest is too fat to read, but you have to know how to deal with a book that size, you can’t let it boss you around, you have to just dive in there and carve out what you can use. In my case, I tossed out all the parts about prep school tennis matches and read the stuff about recovery and halfway houses, which is still enough for a really big book. The footnotes were good too. And the wheelchair assassins. Wallace is a great man. Q: In closing, what book would you like to be published Ace Double “69 style” with? A: I already did it! The small press Ocean View put out my transreal rant-memoir All the Visions back to back with a book of poems Space Baltic, specially selected for the occasion by my favorite poet Anselm Hollo. Check it out, you can actually still order it from Ocean View, like through, it’s beatnik heaven, with a cover by Robert Williams yet.