The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Dr. Richard Kaczynski

lastwrites

TODAY’S DEPARTING:

Richard Kaczynski

I first became aware of Richard Kaczynski from his foreword found in People of the Earth by Ellen Evert Hopman and Lawrence Bond back in the mid-nineties. His seminal work, Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley, published first by New Falcon Press, then later revised and published by North Atlantic Books, is the defining, quintessential biography of the most notorious occultist to ever peel back the layers between this reality and the great sea of possibilities beyond it.

As a metaphysical scholar and author, he is unparalleled, but Dr. Kaczynski is also a talented musician, an excellent writer of occult fiction, and a pop culture enthusiast whose insights are always on point. He is, without question, one of my favorite people on this spinning rock and if you’re not following him on twitter, then you are certainly missing out. I am honored to now share with you his Last Writes.

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LAST MEAL

Wow, this is tough! My first thought is this amazing dish called “palak chaat” at the Washington, DC, restaurant Rasika. It’s crispy flash-fried spinach topped with a tamarind/yogurt sauce. There are no words to express how great this dish is. It is the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. My runner-up would be the vegetarian tasting menu at Restaurant Gordan Ramsay on Hospital Road in London. That was one of the most memorable meals of my life…though I’m concerned that a return visit wouldn’t wow me as much now that the bar has been set. If neither of those is possible, I’d take a nice malai kofta, which is my go-to dish at Indian restaurants because everybody makes it so differently. After five or six months of quarantine, being at *any* restaurant would be a luxury.

LAST BOOK

This is hard. I’ve never been one to re-read a book, as there are so many books I haven’t read yet. I wouldn’t want it to be one of my own books: last thing I want is for my final moments to be distracted with wanting to edit and revise myself! Crowley’s “Book of the Law” contains what to my mind is one of the most beautiful passages that can be taken about the end: “For I am divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union. This is the creation of the world, that the pain of division is as nothing, and the joy of dissolution all.” But I can quote that from memory. Maybe I’d go back to my childhood love of comics, and reread something from that genre. Watchmen, Promethea, or maybe Elektra: Assassin.

LAST MOVIE

There are so many movies I love, it’s hard to pick just one. On the one hand, there are obvious choices suggesting that there’s more to this life than we think (2001, The Matrix). Logan’s Run or Soylent Green would be very ironic, but there are other films I’d rather watch at the very end of my life. Cloud Atlas has a great message that our actions endure far beyond our lifetimes, and I’d *almost* pick it for that optimistic note. But part of me would want to return to the simple pleasures of my youth and experience “Star Wars” one last time.

LAST SONG

Finally, an easy one! My friends in the Philadelphia-based progressive rock band Echolyn have a song, “Never the Same,” on their 1995 record “As the World.” It’s a meditation on death, and how to move on when we lose someone we love. The chorus–“After the song is over, the dance goes on, so dance away. When all has been said and done, remember what’s been given, not taken away. There’s never any endings, but I’ll never be the same”–to says it all to me.

FIRST PERSON YOU’D LIKE TO MEET ON THE OTHER SIDE

I’m not convinced that there is life after death, or–if there is–whether we meet people as they were in this life. But for the sake of argument, the first person I’d like to see in the afterlife is my sister Diahann. We shared so many interests–music, comics, playing piano–and she was always my biggest fan. I have a note from her, probably from my teens, where she wrote out the lyrics to The Beatles’ “Paperback Writer” to encourage me as a young writer. She was fun and wise beyond her years, and I learned to much from her. She died suddenly in her sleep 25 years ago, and I still miss her. With every hardship or heartbreak, I think “I wish I could talk to her.” And with every success as an author, I think “I wish Diahann was here to see this, she’d be so excited

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