In one anecdote that made the cut, he recounts a night spent with Ken Kesey on a feral embankment between the shoreline and the town dump of sleepy Pescadaro, Calif. Peaking on a relatively high dose of LSD shortly before dawn, Dorothy, one of Ken’s girlfriends, lay down in the dirt to better observe one particular wild violet. Stardust waltzed off its purple petals into the embankment, the ocean, even the dump. Stranger still, the violet budded, blossomed, withered, and died, both forward in time and in reverse.
When Dorothy tried to explain it all to James, he didn’t scoff. Instead he got down beside her and, utilizing insights he’d developed as an IFAS guide, urged her deeper into the experience. Dorothy became aware that stardust was also coursing through her neural network. The universe wasn’t random chance, she thought that morning, but ebullient choice. She didn’t need to go anywhere because she was everywhere.
If you ask her today, she’ll tell you the effects from her trip lasted long after she came down. For starters, she’d say, this was the pivotal moment that led her to become a filmmaker. (Her short documentaries have earned numerous accolades, including an Emmy, an Oscar nomination, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Gold Medal.) But, she’d add, that’s not all. That morning, she ditched Hunky Ken for Interstellar James, and for 47 years and counting, they’ve lived together in an open marriage.