The website of Austin R. Pick, featuring fiction, essays, travel dispatches, photographs, podcasts and other tangents.
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A Selection of Items previously featured on FudoMouth's Mainframe...


New from FudoMouth! · Last summer Shauna and I hiked full length of the John Muir Trail in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. My essay about our remarkable 24-day journey, "Traversing The Range of Light," now appears in National Parks Traveler, a major website dedicated to coverage of America's National Parks. Check out my own National Parks page for more.


New from FudoMouth! · I'm pleased to announce that a new short story is now available in print. Published in the Winter 2013 issue of the literary biannual Pleiades: a Journal of New Writing, the story is entitled "Watch Us Watch Us," and recounts the reactions of a young couple preparing to view their debut on reality TV. Pleiades can be found in select bookstores, and the story will also eventually be available here online. Visit FudoMouth: Writings for more.

Psychedelics, Science & Spirituality

Summer 2013 · The return of psychedelic drug research is beginning to challenge how we understand consciousness and interpret 'religious' or 'mystical' experiences, as Erik Davis chronicles in a fantastic recent article. While study findings often seem tame compared with subjective reports, research is already tangling with some big questions. The intersection of neuroscience and altered states is also playfully explored in Radiolab's "Bliss" episode.

Writing as Meditation?

Summer 2013 · After returning from an enriching month-long retreat at Tara Mandala, I've been reflecting on the convergences and contradictions between fiction writing and dharma practice, and am grateful to have found two wonderfully insightful essays on the subject: "Confessions of a Zen Novelist" by Ruth Ozeki, and "Writing Undoes Me" by Pico Iyer. Also recommended is this profile of three Buddhist fiction writers from the Shambhala Sun.

Going Deeper with the Dharma · The MA Religious Studies progam at Naropa University has introduced me to many insightful perspectives. Here are some of the best books from my first semester: Turning the Wheel of Truth by Theravadan teacher Ajahn Sucitto; Bearing Witness by Zen teacher and Engaged Buddhist Bernie Glassman; Minding Closely by Buddhist synthesizer Alan Wallace; and The Making of Buddhist Modernism by scholar David McMahan. Together these books offer a vision of Buddhist tradition, theory and practice that is practical and compassionate, focused but not fixated. All are recommended.

Ray Bradbury: Stuff Your Head · There are a lot of interesting 'advice to writers' lists online —several collected here, for example— but few are as entertaining and flat-out inspiring as this 2001 address by Ray Bradbury that I recently came across. One of the most celebrated American writers of speculative fiction, Bradbury offers insightful anecdotes, practical advice and puckish encouragement for writers and storytellers. Don't miss it.

Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist · Paul Kingsnorth's personal, twenty-year journey through the world’s wild places and the movements to protect them has also become an education in the limits of a project that he claims has forgotten nature and lost its soul. In this excellent recent essay, he eloquently articulates a growing concern that 'environmentalism' has come to mean something other than protecting the world’s wildest and most beautiful landscapes.

Unspooling The Wire · The "astonishingly sophisticated" HBO series The Wire is one of the only creative works I’ve recently encountered that so thoroughly exceeds the surrounding hype and acclaim. The show’s gripping, grim portrait of inner-city life is Dickensian in scope, unfolding like an onscreen novel while remaining true to the realities it depicts. Once you’ve seen the 5-season epic, check out the Fresh Air interview with creator David Simon, his finale letter to fans, and other discussions from NPR. (Note: all contain spoilers.)

"You Can Perform Neurosurgery on Yourself..." · I'm grateful to have recently discovered the Buddhist Geeks podcast, a growing collection of discussions with contemporary contemplative scholars and practicioners. This is a remarkable resource for meditators and psychonauts of any tradition. Enjoy your explorations, the well runs deep. The Judith Simmer-Brown, Kenneth Folk, Ken Wilber and Dark Night Project episodes are all recommended.


New from FudoMouth! · DJ Phalaris returns with a lively new release in the on-going Mixtapology podcast series. Featuring new music from Battles, Amon Tobin, Dreissk, the Beastie Boys and more, this brisk, sample-heavy mix offers a refreshing headphone oasis that’s guaranteed to spin a smile through your summer miles... Download Now from FUDOMOUTH: MUSIC

David Foster Wallace and The Thing Itself

04.15.2011 · With the posthumous publication of Wallace's unfinished novel, The Pale King, readers now have another opportunity to inhabit the celebrated writer's brightly flaring mind. This insightful Time review describes the process of editing the fragmented manuscript, and fellow writers discuss Wallace's achievement in this Bookworm episode. The DFW Audio Project is also worth checking out.

Play It Like Your Hair's on Fire · On a recent episode of Radiolab, writer Elizabeth Gilbert explains how she and Tom Waits share similar ideas about the creative muse. Gilbert expands on her notion that inspiration comes through us, rather than strictly from us, in this engaging TED Talk. The 2002 interview/profile Gilbert did with Tom Waits is itself not to be missed, and neither is this great video of Waits from 1977. Step right up...

Cult and Culture · In August 2009, Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis left the Church of Scientology after 25 years of committed involvement. Lawrence Wright's remarkable cover story chronicles the bizarre evolution of Scientology and its followers, including Hollywood elites like Haggis himself. Carefully researched, the disturbing story of this uniquely American cult itself reads like something only possible in the movies...

Books Behind Bars · I recently donated books and a year's magazines to a nearby penitentiary, and learned that there is constant demand for quality reading materials in prison libraries across the country. Many regional nonprofits help provide books to prisoners, so check this list for one near you. Or contact prisons directly; though dated, this info may be a good place to start. Donating was easier than I thought, and much appreciated. Books can be mailed cheaply via USPS Media Mail. Send yours today!

The Return of Psychedelics Research

TTBOOK, 06.06.2010 · Timothy Leary probably did more than anyone to popularize LSD in the 1960's, but this indiscriminate promotion of mind-altering substances created a backlash, making scientific study almost impossible. Now a new generation of scientists is studying psychedelics' potential for treating problems and illuminating consciousness. This hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge explores the cutting edge of this new research.

TTBOOK's 'Psychedelics' Episode and Real Audio | (Click here for MP3)
Related New York Times Article: 'Hallucinogens Have Doctors Tuning In Again'

'A Novel Approach' to Consciousness

CBC Radio, 02.11.2010 · How does what we read shape how we see ourselves and our world? Writers of fiction often explore why we think the way we do by attempting to convey some sense of the mind’s inner workings. In this provocative episode of CBC Radio's Ideas, Hassan Santur inquires about how literary novels, alongside neuroscience and psychology, inform our understanding of consciousness and perception.

Streaming Audio at CBC Radio's Ideas site | Ideas Podcast Listen and Download
Featured: David Lodge, Jeff Warren and Galen Strawson

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