The Pieces Of My Heart” is my memoir. It’s written as a series of stories about the things I saw and experienced along my way starting in 1945, when I was born at the end of WWII. By some coincidence, I was witness to a number of defining moments of my generation and thought firsthand accounts might be of interest to some of you who were not there.
I began writing this in about 2000 and have since worked on it sporadically. This section you are reading now is an overview of what may one day be a real book. Since it’s not all of a piece yet, hopefully this synopsis will assist you in placing the stories in time and place. Here is my curriculum vitae, in an abbreviated if somewhat dry recounting;
My father fought in the Pacific Theatre in WWII. He was a Judge Advocate and took part in the military trials of war criminals during the Occupation of Japan in which almost 1,000 people were executed. He came home when I was 1 ½, a changed man. We had a grim relationship for the next 10 years until he finally died by his own hand.
I left home after graduating high school and hitchhiked to Mississippi with a backpack and my guitar. I got involved with SNCC (The Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee), a black civil rights organization during the Freedom Summer of 1964, running an underground freedom press, registering colored voters and monitoring the polling places to make sure they were not denied their newly affirmed rights by Jim Crow militants.
After a stint working on a pipeline dynamite crew in Missouri, I became a regular meth and heroin user, starting in East St. Louis and finally landing in Laguna Beach, California. In Laguna Canyon, Timothy Leary and the Brotherhood Of Eternal Love moved in around me and absorbed me into their group where I eventually became the co-owner of Mystic Arts World, their store on Pacific Coast Highway. I spent a lot of time between Haight-Ashbury and Laguna in the mid ‘60s while taking large amounts of psychedelics in addition to hard drugs.
To finally kick drugs, I had to get away from the California psychedelic revolution and so I dropped out to the Big Island of Hawaii with my girlfriend. We lived in a cane shack on the Hamakua Coast where we had our daughter. On the Big Island and Maui I continued my spiritual search which had begun in Laguna with Tim and LSD. Regularly practicing hatha yoga and Zen meditation at the Maui Zendo, I also became a single parent.
In 1975 I traveled to Asia staying in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Laos, Nepal and India. I sat with Zen master Yamada Roshi in Japan, at Song Kwang Sa, a Buddhist monastery high in the mountains of Korea, befriended and was almost killed by the serial killer Charles Sobraj, was caught behind enemy lines in Laos when the Russian-backed Pathet Lao closed the border. I lived in a hut in the middle of a marijuana field in Bodnath, Katmandu amongst Tibetans and finally reached Pune, India where I met Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, an enlightened master around whom an intriguing, progressive community was forming.
I retrieved my daughter, Gyana, from Maui and we moved to the Rajneesh Ashram in India in 1976. In order to support Gyana and myself, I dealt on the black market in Pune and Bombay for some years meeting some amazing people and eventually getting caught. In 1981 we moved with the ashram to central Oregon in the U.S. and helped build the controversial Osho Rajneesh Commune.
In 1992, I went to Germany to visit a girlfriend for two weeks and stayed 8 years, working as a telecommunications specialist with clients including BMW, Audi-Volkswagen, the German Government and the European Union and playing and teaching guitar in Germany and Austria.
Now I live in America and find myself with perhaps enough time to tell at least some of these stories to you. I hope you find them interesting. Thank you for reading them.