[How This Book Came To Be, A Letter From Thaddeus Golas Part 3]
For six weeks, I wrote every day. Six weeks may seem like a short time, but in the twenty years preceding, I had written and discarded thousands of pages.
One day when I did not write, I awoke in the middle of the night and wrote a few pages. I still have that journal, and the handwriting is terrible, the writing confused. But some of the passages made it all the way to the published book, including the first sentence, "I am a lazy man." I never considered any other title but The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment.
I borrowed an old office typewriter and wrote the first coherent manuscript. At least it was now passable. Half was commentary on the contemporary scene, correspondences between historical nomadic tribes and the hippies, and so on.
I wanted to make Xerox copies to give away, but that would have been expensive in double-spacing. I decided to type it single-spaced, in two columns per page because long lines would be hard to read. In those pre-computer days, this felt like hard work! When I was about halfway through, I realized the book was complete at that point, and the rest was journalism. I added some of the last chapter to the short version, and that was it.
This version came to twenty densely typed pages and was inexpensive to reproduce. Over the next year I gave away hundreds of copies, with occasional small revisions. I suppose it was a sort of market testing.
Previously I had often wandered around town, talking to people at random, sometimes as many as five or six in an afternoon. When I started to write, I found that many of the things I had been saying were stored in my mind as if taped. Also, a number of lines in the book were words that came to me on psychedelic trips. The book was more talked than written.
I really intended it for other "acidheads," so that those of us in the psychedelic culture would have a language to use in describing our experiences. I was quite astonished later when the book found wide acceptance by the general public.
For some time I had been mailing copies to various people, and now significant feedback began coming in.
In July of 1971, I sent a copy to Alan Watts, whom I had met briefly, and told him he was free to do anything he wished with it. (Over the years I had tried to give the idea away, to get someone else to do the work of developing it.) Watts replied that he had read it with "the great≠est interest" but suggested I should do the fur≠ther work myself. The importance of his reply to me was that he did not dismiss it as something already existing in the literature, since he was more scholarly than I was.
However, I never did become a popular "New Age" figure, and people in the movement seemed to find me shocking and disturbing. Well, love may sometimes be blind, but it does not require us to be blind. To "love it the way it is," in the phrase from the Guide, it is necessary to see it the way it is. Or, in a thought that came to me once, God must love us even though we are stupid, but God does not love us because we are stupid.
How This Book Came To Be
A Letter From Thaddeus Golas
Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment Contents