One more thing about publication: when this book of mine came out, the one that did pretty well, the one that necessitated the buying of a new dress, I found myself stoned on all the attention, and then lost and derailed, needing a new fix every couple of days and otherwise going into withdrawal. My insides became completely uninhabitable, as if I'd wandered into a penny arcade with lots of bells ringing and lights flashing and lots of junk food, and I'd been there too long. I wanted peace, peace and quiet, but at the same time I didn't want to leave. I was like one of the bad boys in "Pinocchio" who flock to the island of pleasure and grow donkey ears. I knew my soul was sick and that I needed spiritual advice, and I knew also that this advice shouldn't be terribly sophisticated. So I went to see the pastor of my son's preschool.The pastor is about fifteen. We talked for a while. It turns out he just looks young. I said that I was all over the place, up and down, scattered, high, withdrawing, lost, and in the midst of it all trying to find some elusive sense of serenity. "The world can't give that serenity," he said. "The world can't give us peace. We can only find it in our hearts.""I hate that," I said."I know. But the good news is that by the same token, the world can't take it away."
All that I know about the relationship between publication and mental health was summed up in one line of the movie Cool Runnings, which is about the first Jamaican bobsled team.... The men on [the] team are desperate to win an Olympic medal.... But the coach says, "If you're not enough before the gold medal, you won't be enough with it."