Thursday, May 21, 2015

Remembering Chuck Bowden: "I Had Never Met Anyone Whose Senses Were So Alive and Hungry"

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2015 at 9:33 AM

Richard Grant, author of God's Middle Finger, remembers legendary local author Chuck Bowden, who died last August:
I had never met anyone whose senses were so hungry and alive. Even when interviewing a cartel enforcer about the unbelievable atrocities he had committed, Chuck’s fingertips would be registering the texture of the tabletop that lay between them, because he was incapable of ignoring such a thing. He lived in a place where the thermometer stays above 100°F for months on end, yet he disapproved strongly of air conditioning, because it cocooned people from the physical reality of where they lived. He wanted to melt into the heat and become one with it. He thought sex in the summertime was all the better for being sweaty and overheated, and he thundered against air conditioning for ruining it.

Unless he was working, cooking or sleeping, he was seldom inside his house. His real home was in the backyard, where the walls were painted in bright, Mexican-inspired colours. Hummingbirds dive-bombed each other at the feeders, the males flashing iridescent green, purple and ruby at their throats. There was shade from a spreading mesquite tree, and the beds were planted with cactus and succulents. When the night-blooming cereus unfurled their outrageous flowers in midsummer, Chuck would hold parties in their honour, and plunge his face into the spreading, heavily scented white blooms with the purest ecstasy.

Chuck’s sensory awareness offered a kind of refuge, a last-ditch hope of an honest connection to a real, living world

He relished intense heat, bitter cold, thunderstorms, and reeking pitch-black bat caves. He craved sensory bombardment, and loved everything that amplified the feeling of being physically alive, right here, right now, in the present moment. Television bored him. It was a cold dead machine dispensing clichés and imitating life in two dimensions. He never went to the movies, to gaze at a screen with a herd of silent strangers in a climate-controlled room. He loved wine, but he had no interest in identifying its characteristics, or analysing its nuances. If it was big and red, sluicing across his palate, and coursing through his bloodstream, he was delighted by it.

Read the whole thing here.

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