Talking Drugs: Conversations About Psychedelics, Addiction & Altered States of Consciousness, Starring Chris Ryan

Tangentially Speaking is without a doubt one of my favorite podcasts out there. I found it thanks to Duncan Trussell –curiously enough, it was Duncan who suggested Chris to start his own podcast– and have listened to every single episode at least once. What I love about TS is that it covers a whole gamut of subjects, from current politics and comedy to sexuality and even parapsychology (Chris’s mentor is the famous researcher Stanley Krippner who was a personal friend of Rolling Thunder and used to hang out with The Grateful Dead).

I really can’t pinpoint how Chris started to notice me or the comments I used to leave on his website –although I do remember he got a kick about the one time I donated some money because I had enjoyed so much his story about that time he accidentally left a long stain of liquid shit on the impeccably white wall of some hotel in India (trust me, it’s a good one!)– but slowly we started to interact digitally, and then I had the chance to actually hang out when came to Mexico a couple of years ago –we watched the Superbowl together, if you can believe it.

So when Chris emailed me to ask if I was interested in helping him with a project to transcribe and edit some of the TS episodes and putting them in some e-books he wanted to publish by himself, he had me at “radio mano papá chango”!

There were two topics he wanted to initially cover with the e-books: Drugs and Sex (which also happen to be two of his favorite topics). I chose the former, because I firmly believe there’s a better chance to change our current materialistic paradigm for the better, by way of pointing out to the many potential benefits psychedelics have to offer —when taken with the proper set and settings, that is— and putting an end to the ridiculous War on Drugs, than waiting for the fucking aliens to land and solve ALL of our problems for us, like most Disclosure advocates seem to be doing right now.

The project was both exciting and challenging –as it should be, when you’re attempting something for the first time that you’re very passionate about– since I had the task to pick which of the many episodes in the TS archives to select for the final version of the book, appoint volunteers to make the transcriptions, follow up on their progress (or lack thereof as it was mostly the case), review the texts, make a lot of corrections, and finally edit the conversations in such a way that would leave in the most relevant parts and retain the informal flavor of a dialogue, while removing the stuff that deviated too much from the main subject for the sake of brevity –and trust me, the podcast is named Tangentially Speaking for a reason, so it was no small feat!

Nor was it settling down on just five guests to be included in the final list, because I had to leave out a lot of great conversations; but my aim was to reach the right balance of scholarly expertise, engagement and covering the full spectrum of altered states of consciousness –both positive AND negative. I also chose to include Kevin Johnson, who is an expert in floatation tanks, because I feel that such contraptions offer a viable alternative to attaining some of the benefits psychedelics have to offer, without the current illegal stigma these chemical substances still suffer from. Psychedelics are certainly a valuable path to inner exploration, but they are NOT the only one.

Chris also gave me the chance to design the cover, and after some initial back and forth (the initial title was going to be “Tangentially Tripping” for example) I settled on a format that pleased both Chris and the rest of the people involved in the management of the project —Erin Ginder-Shaw and Lorie Deworken. Erin managed the Sex book and gave a final edit to the Drugs book, while Lorie designed the book layout and was in charge of the e-book conversion.

So, what are you waiting for? If you dig psychedelics and mind-expanding substances, get your copy of Talking Drugs!

And if you’re interested on a bilingual Fortean luchador in order to help you out with editing your book or design the cover, you know how to reach me 😉

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