inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #26 of 80: Brian O'Dea (bodea) Thu 17 Sep 09 14:15
    
SSOL
My book's early incarnation was as a newsletter to my friends who had
been so supportive of me.  Somewhere early on I decided to include
stories from my life that acted as stepping stones on the pathway to
prison.  Many of my friends who had supported me so vigorously knew
little of my life as most were post-sobriety friends. I thought they
would get a kick out of the stories, and that the stories would somehow
inform me.  From time to time I would write down sounds of what was
going on around me, and drop them in the newsletter for some "Live"
moments.  It started to take its shape from that.  An original title
for the book was INSIDEINSIDE
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #27 of 80: Lisa Harris (lrph) Thu 17 Sep 09 16:30
    
ooh, I like that title.  So, I'll ask, why didn't you go with title?
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #28 of 80: Brian O'Dea (bodea) Thu 17 Sep 09 16:48
    
The publisher at Random House Canada worked through over fifty titles
before settling on HIGH, Confessions of a Pot Smuggler, which Virgin
Books in Britain changed to HIGH, Confessions of an International Drug
Smuggler, and that's the title Other Press in the US went with.  More
provocative in a sense I guess, a little less telling of the tale of
overcoming the many small selves and the circuitous route it sometimes
takes to get to a significant threshold, which INSIDEINSIDE seems to
depict.
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #29 of 80: Hugh Watkins (hughw1936uk) Thu 17 Sep 09 18:10
    
if you legalise drugs - how will the criminals make money?

more robberies?
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #30 of 80: Brian O'Dea (bodea) Thu 17 Sep 09 18:35
    
If we were to truly legalize drugs, all the way to regulating their
distribution, we would remove the single most powerful currency
presently in the hands of criminal gangs, which not only control whole
neighbourhoods, but countries, even.  We simply will take away one of
the many tools in their arsenals, but a very potent one nonetheless.
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #31 of 80: Infradibulated Gratility (ssol) Fri 18 Sep 09 09:37
    
I'm with you on the prohibition position. Since the US started keeping
records in the early 1800s on addiction to alcohol and such, the rate
of addiction and recovery has remained the same; about 12.5% for each
group. Laws have no effect on this now apparently genetic
predisposition to addiction. Laws are like yelling at a pickle to turn
back into a cucumber. Congrats on your triumph among that 12.5%!

"Confessions of a Pot Smuggler" Have you read "Confessions of a
Hashish Eater" by Ludlow, or "Confessions of an Opium Eater" by
DeQuincy. Was your book's title an allusion to those volumes?
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #32 of 80: Lisa Harris (lrph) Fri 18 Sep 09 09:57
    
The contrast between sound and action - prison and smuggling - is
obvious.  Do you recall these experiences in those ways? Or did you
purposefully write them differently to emphasize the contrasts?
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #33 of 80: Brian O'Dea (bodea) Fri 18 Sep 09 10:47
    
To SSOL - In fact it was not, at least as far as I know. That I should
be mentioned in the same sentence as those cats!
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #34 of 80: Brian O'Dea (bodea) Fri 18 Sep 09 11:04
    
I wanted to let the prison pieces speak "Live", to give a sense of
immediacy to the lunacy of our overuse of the "hammer' as our sole
device to fix the broken
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #35 of 80: bill braasch (bbraasch) Fri 18 Sep 09 11:09
    
the 12.5% factor feeds the taste buds, but not everyone sets up a smuggling
network.  you must enjoy a bit of risk in your life.

you've also got some foresight, for example sleeping in a cot in the aisle
instead of moving up to the 3d floor with the aryan gang at terminal island.

how do you know who to trust in the laissez faire world of drug smuggling?
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #36 of 80: Christian Crumlish (xian) Fri 18 Sep 09 14:43
    
Brian, sorry we weren't able to meet while I was in Toronto. I was
somewhat astounded by your generosity in offering to get together to
chat over coffee!

Loved your book and was interested in the bookeding with that
Christian Brother, how you ran into him at your father's funeral (was
it?). And how you said he wrote his own book. Seems there are enough
cluse for someone to track him down, though I guess what would be the
point?

I'm glad you included the personae at the end, because I definitely
had trouble sometimes telling Rick from Richardo from Bob from Robert
etc.

Will this become a movie at any point? I'd love to be able to tell the
players without a scorecard, and there are some fascinating little
portraits of characters in there that I'd love to be able to visualize
a bit better if brought to life by actors.

I was surprised to learn later that the prison time in the LA harbor
was relatively short (about a year?) - threaded through the book it
seems like an eternity.
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #37 of 80: Brian O'Dea (bodea) Fri 18 Sep 09 16:20
    
Bill
In Shakespeare's Pericles there is a line early on that goes something
like this "It is well that it is known, and it is fit; what grows more
known grows worse to smother it." That about says it.  Intuition,
first knowing is the course of action to follow.  There is no room for
second guessing, and to survive as long as I did, I think that was key.
 And even when I fell, I knew when making the decision to participate
that something was not quite right.  I defied my intuition, and paid
the price.  But it made room for threshold experience after threshold
experience.  The greatest gifts I have received have come in the oddest
of disguises.  I think I would have turned almost all down given the
opportunity up front.
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #38 of 80: Brian O'Dea (bodea) Fri 18 Sep 09 16:32
    
Hi Christian - There is an even more complicated story with that
brother cat, but we'll save it for a conversation some day, which I
hope will be soon.
I have been working with some very fine guys in LA recently and it
seems I am will get to discuss the film potential with a couple of very
accomplished producers who surprise me with their interest.  
I participated in the writing of two distinctly different scripts for
HIGH, one for TV and the other feature, and while the TV one works, the
feature version was weak.  I have shelved the TV version in order to
pursue it as a feature in LA.
While I longed to be elsewhere, I am fortunate to have lived at
Terminal Island, to have been able to experience the great bonds
uniting people which can only be constructed in such a place; as life
throws a whole new set of circumstances at you, life preservers show up
in abundance.
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #39 of 80: Lisa Harris (lrph) Fri 18 Sep 09 17:14
    
I agree with xian's impression that your time at Terminal seemed, well,
interminible.
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #40 of 80: bill braasch (bbraasch) Sat 19 Sep 09 14:52
    
your intuition would have served you well in any line of work.  You took a
lot more risk.  Part of the attraction?
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #41 of 80: Lisa Harris (lrph) Sun 20 Sep 09 10:15
    
Along those same lines as Bill's question...is there any part of it
you miss?  Or rather, would do again, if it weren't illegal?
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #42 of 80: Brian O'Dea (bodea) Mon 21 Sep 09 07:16
    
Perhaps risk was part of the attraction, although one might argue that
there are many other ways of taking risks that aren't life
threatening, or have the potential of years in prison as a result.
I miss the group coming together to accomplish such a huge project.  I
have been in legal and large projects since, however nothing has had
the feelings of unification of a group of diverse individuals to
accomplish a single goal like smuggling.
But, ultimately, that smuggling part of my life was a threshold to
something else, and it has done what it came to do. I have no interest
in going back, for I left nothing there.
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #43 of 80: bill braasch (bbraasch) Mon 21 Sep 09 09:29
    
That's an interesting way to look at it.  I suppose you don't need a lot of
role playing exercises in a conference room somewhere if you've all got the
same goal right from the start.

Being from Chicago, I found it interesting that the guy with the gun was
from Chicago, as was a ripoff.

Your collaborations by nature involved teams from different areas, different
cultures.  You shared a common goal, but you needed some level of trust or
perhaps fear of recriminations from the others to keep things on track.

I suppose over time you may have learned who to steer clear of, and it
would not just be the narcs.  You're not really competing against the other
smugglers, I suppose, but against the legal system.
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #44 of 80: Christian Crumlish (xian) Mon 21 Sep 09 12:46
    
Brian, I got the feeling throughout the book from the way you
portrayed yourself that you felt you were primarily motivated by a
desire to share things (and live a free, easy, high life, perhaps) but
that most of the people you met in the drug underworld were scary
damaged menacing characters frequently motivated by money (and perhaps
later by drug-induced psychoses).

I often felt afraid for you as your described your interactions.

How did you handle the stress?
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #45 of 80: Brian O'Dea (bodea) Mon 21 Sep 09 13:24
    
Xian
I am the kind of guy who crammed for every exam he ever took.  Perhaps
I have a greater capacity for "stress storage" than others, taking the
pressure off through temporary outlets such as
drugs/alcohol/relationships.  
I may have alluded to it earlier, but once I made a decision to move
forward in a project, I rarely thought about it again, just kept my eye
on whatever was going on, projecting as little as possible.  I don't
know that at that time I could have wrapped all these words around how
I did what I did, but retrospectively it becomes less and less
difficult to see the tracks I have left, if I am willing, that is.
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #46 of 80: Brian O'Dea (bodea) Mon 21 Sep 09 13:25
    
Xian
Further, life kept showing me time and again that all things work out,
somehow, and I became a believer.  
Mark Twain said 99% of the battles he fought never took place...
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #47 of 80: Brian O'Dea (bodea) Mon 21 Sep 09 14:07
    
"A believer" -  in life delivering the necessary goods, that is. That
sentence seemed to have a religious ambiguity to it, which I hope is
cleared up.
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #48 of 80: Christian Crumlish (xian) Mon 21 Sep 09 18:15
    
sure, I follow. it does seem that there's an element of faith
involved. not so much religious faith as faith in "the way of things."
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #49 of 80: Brian O'Dea (bodea) Tue 22 Sep 09 09:50
    
Precisely.
  
inkwell.vue.365 : Brian O'Dea, High
permalink #50 of 80: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 22 Sep 09 11:22
    
Brian, early on in this conversation you described the reason for
writing as a way to make mind-course corrections.  That was a powerful
idea, and it makes that interesting point that the process of the
writing can be as important as having the material to look at later.  

Do you still write on a regular basis about your current life?  Do you
mostly write interactively for the near term, as in this conversation
or in email?  How has your experience of the process of writing changed
over time?  
  

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