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Opium – The Diary of His Cure by Jean Cocteau.

80272

Title: Opium – The Diary of His Cure.
Author: Jean Cocteau.
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir, drugs, addiction.
Country: France.
Language: French.
Publication Date: 1930.
Summary: Perhaps Jean Cocteau's most celebrated piece of non-fiction, this a truly gripping account of his drug addiction and cure.

My rating: 8/10


♥ With opium, euphoria leads the way to death. The tortures come from going against the current back toward life. A whole springtime drives the veins to madness, sweeping along ice and molten lava.

I advise the addict who has been deprived for eight days to bury his head in hes arm, to glue his ear to that arm, and to wait. Upheavals, riots, factories exploding, armies retreating, flood - in the starry night of the human body, the ear bears witness to an entire apocalypse.

♥ The purity of a revolution can last but fifteen days.

That is why a poet, a revolutionary of the soul, limits himself to about-faces of the mind.

Every fifteen days I change the show. For me opium is a rebellion. Addiction is a rebellion. Detox is a rebellion. Forget my artworks. Each one guillotines the other. My sole working method: I aim to spare myself Napoleon.

♥ The fatal boredom of the recovering opium-smoker! Everything that happens in one's life, even love, happens on an express train racing toward death. To smoke opium is to jump off the moving train, to concern oneself with something other than life or death.

♥ Now that I am cured, I feel empty, poor, heartbroken, sick. I'm adrift. The day after tomorrow I check out of the clinic. Check out to where? Three weeks ago I felt a sort of happiness. I was asking M... about altitudes, about little inns in the snow. I was going to be released. In fact it was a book that was going to be released [Les Enfants Terribles]. It's a book that is going to be released, that is due to be released, as the publishers say. Not me. I could die and it would make no difference to the book... The same trick happens over and over again, and we always let ourselves be taken in by it.

It was difficult to see how a book could be written in seventeen days. I might have thought it would have something to do with me. The work that exploits me needed opium; it needed me to give up opium; once more I am tricked. And I wonder: will I or won't I start smoking opium again? Useless to pretend nonchalance, dear poet. I'll start smoking again if my work wants me to.

And if opium wants me to.
Tags: 1930s - non-fiction, 1st-person narrative non-fiction, 20th century - non-fiction, addiction, drugs, french - non-fiction, memoirs, non-fiction, translated
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