like to believe that the self is an illusion … but, if it is, it’s a pretty painful one’
Interview With Dion
We are in a huge house, just outside Manali,
in the beautiful Kulu Valley, North India, given to Dion by her step-mother, after her father died from a sudden heart
attack a year ago, and she is in hiding from Indian Fundamentalists, and possible charges of obscenity, for her sexually-explicit
diaries The Erotic Adventures Of A Young Girl.
have mentioned on your blog (http://www.newemergingwriters.com/blog/ that you write 1,000
words an hour, and never change a word once it’s written down. Is this mainly because The Erotic Adventures Of A
Young Girl is your personal diaries, albeit some of it written from Jack's point of view, and this makes it easier
definitely. Although The Erotic Adventures Of A Young Girl is presented as a novel, it’s only about 15%
fiction, and it’s a useful device, writing from Jack’s point of view, in expressing my views, on various subjects,
as well as Jack’s, comments about society, in general, and particular aspects of it, and, of course, how we met, and
how our relationship has developed over the last three years.
did meeting Jack, and your relationship with him, help you in relation to your writing?
Dion: Not just
my writing, in every way, as a person. I’d already started writing, about that time, but I was too much in my head.
I’d been spending a lot of time among literary intellectuals, radical thinkers, playing and losing money at Blackjack.
I was a thinker, and writing little pieces for radical publications, such as the Free Press. Jack was the first to show me
that thinking itself was the problem, not the solution, and that dropping the mind, letting the heart rule, was the answer.
that how you came up with vider l’esprit, the empty mind, and can you say
more about that?
I call my writing Viderism – empty mind. The difficulty is that’s the whole point, trying to describe it, to label
it, is the very antitheses of what it is. You, as a person, can only be described by negation, and discover who, or what,
you are, by finding out who, or what, you are not, because as soon as you say I am this, or that, you are wrong, as anything
you can point at, as who, or what, you are, must be some other, not who, or what you really are.
Question: How do you apply that, in
a practical way, as a writer, which is largely, and essentially, a cerebral activity, isn’t it?
Dion: True. I used to write with my head, like most
writers, though my emotions were involved, but I had to think how to write, and express what I felt, and it was all outward,
the right word in the right place, sentence construction, a clear narrative line, story structure, that kind of stuff. I wanted
to be a writer, even a great writer, and knew, one day, I would be. I read Ernest Hemingway, J P Donleavy, J D Salinger, and
then got into Henry Miller and Anais Nin, Emmanuelle Arsan, and Colette, but it was only when Jack pointed out, and showed
me, how my entire life, not just my writing, was run by my mind, which was, in fact, at best, a dysfunctional entity, what
I called me, my little self, the ego, that I started experimenting, mainly with stream-of-consciousness and surrealism, and
reading writers like James Joyce and Anton Breton, William Faulkner and Franz Kafka.
Question: You once said, nobody can
really write unless they are, or have been, really in love. Can you say more on that?
Dion: Tumbling into love, with Jack, for
me was like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole. It was a wonderland of new ideas, a different way of seeing, of thinking,
and, a huge part of that different way, was Jack himself; the way he talked, so uninhibitedly, and behaved, so scandalously. I started
writing what I felt, without any mental editing, disabling my critical faculty, as you do when you are dreaming, not being
concerned with how, but with what, not bothering at all about punctuation, or run-on sentences, and I just allowed it
all to bubble up from deep down, no longer worrying about what others might think, or say, and, of course, the deepest need,
in human beings, is to discover who, or what, they really are, and uncover, and remove, all the things that prevent this,
and allowing all the words to tumble out, uninhibited, and unrestricted by social restraints, moral concepts, and all the
rest, was really what did it for me, both as a writer, and as a person, and I have Jack to thank for that entirely.
Question: The fact that he was almost
seventy years old, and you were fourteen, didn’t bother you at all?
Dion: I was fourteen, pretending to be eighteen, when
I was in the Casinos, but I wasn’t a virgin, though, of course, I pretended I was, and, I guess, what I really
wanted, without being aware of it, was to discover a lot more about my sexuality but in Asia and in India particularly,
that’s not an easy thing to do, then along comes this very old, fascinating man, Jack, totally honest, funny, smoking,
vulgar, dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and, looking back now, I guess I just fell in love with him right
Question: But you didn’t recognize
it, at that time?
Dion: No. I was still very much in my head, not
my heart. I was just fascinated by him, and a little scared. But he was different, too much for the mind to comprehend, a
spiritual person, but still a man and, I knew, given the opportunity, he would have me in bed, like any other man, but that
didn’t bother me. I was used to, and very adept at, fending off unwanted advances. I guess I did that with Jack, for
three days, and then said to myself just do it, and see what happens. I had a vague notion, a kind of cloudy awareness, it
was the right thing to do, for me, at that time.
Question: When you came out of the
hotel, after having sex with him, for the first time, and you saw a crescent moon with a star in the middle and folk taking
pictures of it, did you really see it as some kind of confirmation, a celestial, or divine, sign?
Dion: Yes, in this dream world we all create, moment
by moment, we’re all connected, and that means every human being, every animal, fish, tree, plant, and star. After all,
we are all made of the same atoms as stars; we are star-born, star children. Not a single leaf falls without the entire universe,
the whole creation, being involved, and contributing to it. I like to think the universe conspired to bring about what happened
that night, and the crescent moon and the star were part of that.
Question: Do you believe in destiny,
Dion: I believe our destiny is in our own hands,
in the sense of whatever we are doing now, this moment, is the cause of what happens next, and our fate is the result,
or consequence, of that. John Lennon got it right when he said ‘Life happens while you are busy doing something else’.
Stop thinking so much, and live, from the heart, not from the head, no matter where it might lead you, or what others