FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID

   review

It was a struggle taking place in the arena of human history and I was a Son of Light who had come here, forgotten his origin, identity and purpose, but regained memory and understanding of all this after I had done my work -- which was done when FLOW MY TEARS was published.

"Buy this one and brace yourself..." -- Theodore Sturgeon


OTHER ENGLISH EDITIONS:


FOREIGN EDITIONS:

{For the best bibliographic info in French goto: www.multimania.com/ggoullet/pkdick/frames.html Thanks for the cover pix, Gilles}

Once they notice you, Jason realized, they never completely close the file. You can never get back your anonymity. It is vital not to be noticed in the first place. But I have been.

Vote for your Fave PKD Story!   FLOW MY TEARS THE POLICEMAN SAID. Quite simply the ultimate expression of everything PKD's genre novels were about: identity, paranoia, redemption, shifting worlds... -- Peter Fenelon, NY

Vote for your Fave PKD Story     FLOW MY TEARS has the most touching, beautiful, needy, human, crazy kind of scene where Felix hugs a hapless stranger under the flourescent lights of a gas station. Aren't we (really) all desperate to one degree or another for human connections? -- Deborah Eley, LA


PKDS-2 7:

After completing FLOW MY TEARS which he had begun before his previous wife had left him, he wrote A SCANNER DARKLY

PKDS-3 13:

A major portion of the EXEGESIS is taken up by Phil's reinterpretation of his earlier novels (esp. TEARS and UBIK in terms of the VALIS universe.

PKDS-4 1:

It was a struggle taking place in the arena of human history and I was a Son of Light who had come here, forgotten his origin, identity and purpose, but regained memory and understanding of all this after I had done my work -- which was done when FLOW MY TEARS was published.

... Close of 1973 and opening of 1974: realization that I could not regain what I had lost, for several reasons, but still professional pursuit of my work; i.e. seeing TEARS through to its publishing in Feb of 1974 and awareness of a mysterious importance of this, as well as a mysterious threat or danger to me and the book, stemming from the same forces which had assaulted me at the close of 1971.
{PKD> Joan, May 20, 1977}

PKDS-4 5:

On p151 0f VALIS, Fat tells his friends "The two-word cypher signal KING FELIX" was sent out in Feb '74, and that "the united States Army cryptographers studied it, but couldn't discern who it was intended for or what it meant." Fat's friends ask him how he knows that, but he won't say; nor does he explain in what form it appeared.

Phil himself, though, was less reticent, and once pointed out that on p218 of the first edition of FLOW MY TEARS the last paragraph break juxtaposes the word "king" directly over the name "Felix". The novel was published in Feb 1974, and Phil said Doubleday told him that the Army did buy -- as I recall -- more than 400 copies of it {Tim Powers}

PKDS-5 8:

Dramatic Developments. An off-off Broadway theatre group named Mabou Mines ... is about to close a deal with the Estate of PKD for the right to do a stage adaptation of FLOW MY TEARS

PKDS-6 12:

(PKD:) I finally decided that I liked the last part of FLOW MY TEARS, but as a whole, I don't like it. I don't think it's totally satisfactory. My appreciation now is directed at A SCANNER DARKLY... {A & B 1977}

PKDS-8 6:

Tears Flow In Boston. Mabou Mines ("A leader of the avant garde" -- Boston Phoenix; "preeminent among experimental theatre groups" -- Boston Globe) presented the world premiere of their adaptation of PKD's FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID at the Boston Shakespeare Theatre, June 18-30 1985.
The play received mixed reviews and a lot of attention from the Boston media...

... Linda Hartinian adapted the novel to the stage and designed the set (she also plays Mary Ann Dominick, and reads Phil's 1981 "Tagore Letter" at the end of the play). Hartinian was a personal friend of Phil's. The Phoenix quotes her on the subject in an interview before the play opened:

"He was someone I admired and looked up to, and I knew he had always wanted one of his works to be adapted. One day when I came to visit him he jumped up and grabbed this manuscript and said 'I want to give you something, but I don't have anything, so I'm going to give you this manuscript, and someday its gonna be worth a lot of money.'" The Phoenix continues, "It was a draft of FLOW MY TEARS, and as Hartinian discovered when she sat down to adapt the book, it contained many passages that had been cut from the published text, including a discussion of ways to remember deceased writers that was to prove prescient. Naturally Hartinian based her script on her private edition."

The play was directed by Bill Raymond, Hartinian's husband. "It was in response to Linda's loss that we chose TEARS, he told the Phoenix. "Because FLOW MY TEARS is in fact a novel about grief, and not necessarily just about loss of identity." ... {see: PKDS-8 for more}

PKDS-11 6:

The Mabou Mines New york production of FLOW MY TEARS has been indefinately postponed due to problems obtaining a theatre; but they still hope to mount an LA or NYC production some time in the next year.

PKDS-12 2:

The unpublished prescript to FLOW MY TEARS by Philip K. Dick.
Editor's note: this essay was found in the PKD papers curently housed at Cal State Fullerton, in a folder with a ms of FLOW MY TEARS. It is titled simply "Prescript". I believe it was written in the summer of 1970, soon after completion of the first draft of FMT, but cannot confirm this. As far as I know this was not included when the ms was finally submitted to Doubleday in 1973 -- PW}

"This novel begins with a famous man telling a joke over network television and ends with an unidentified person loving and cherishing a blue pot..." {See: PKDS-12 for the complete text of this Prescript}

PKDS 22/23    9:

{...}in Yugoslavia FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID has just won the 1988 Lazar Komarcic Award for best foreign science fiction novel.

PKDS 22/23    15:

FLOW Play To Be Published. Linda Hartinian's dramatization of PKD's novel FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID, which has been performed by Mabou Mines in Boston and New York and by the Prop Theatre in Chicago (see Dan Sutherland's article this issue), will be published, probably in 1990, by the Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Illinois, a leading theatrical publisher. Dramatic will also be leasing stock and amateur acting rights to the play. This means that it will become available to be performed by local theatre groups, amateur and professional.


PKDS-28    6

{PKDS 28 contains much bibliographic material for FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID as well as an excerpt (The Different Stages Of Love) from an early draft of the novel. Here are some truncated notes from PKDS 28:}

    {...} I have just finished the rough draft of a new, long, s-f novel, FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID. {...} I've reworked it and reworked it; I rewrote the final section seven times, plus holographic changes. At one point in the writing I wrote 140 pages in 48 hours. I have high hopes for this. It is the first really new thing I've done since EYE IN THE SKY. The change is due to a change that overtook me from having taken mescalin, a very large dose that completely unhinged me. I had enormous insights behind the drug, all having to do with those whom I loved. Love. Will love.

{PKD>Sandra Meisel, 27 Aug 1970}

[In late 1972, after he had been living for some months with his future wife Tessa, Dick signified his willingness to to resume his writing career -- which had effectively come to a halt in 1970 -- by asking his attorney to return the FLOW MY TEARS manuscript to him. It arrived January 6, 1973, and Dick retyped it over the next four weeks and mailed it to his agent in New York. The agent received the completed manuscript on February 7, 1973. On April 6, 1973 Dick learned that Doubleday had accepted the novel, and a few days later he received a letter from his editor at Doubleday, Diane Cleaver, telling him how much she liked the book and offering a few editorial suggestions:}

Cleaver to Dick (4/5/73): "The only other thing is something I think you'll feel strongly about -- Ruth Rae. Her long discussion with Taverner really is too long and I think destroys the movement of the story and it could be cut somewhat without ruining the point you're making about Taverner {...}"

Dick to Cleaver (4/9/73): "Re: paragraph three of your letter, the Ruth Rae section, which I regard as the mid-section of the novel. Here is my feeling about that. I will cut this section. I will go over it entirely and tighten. {... ...}

{... ...}

Cleaver to Dick (4/24): "Thank you for taking so generously to my suggestions on FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID. {...}

{After many delays and Tessa having a baby (PKD uses this as an excuse in a letter to Diane Cleaver dated 7/25{1973?}) followed by a nasty bout with the flu, PKD sent a manuscript to Patrice Duvic, French editor and friend (11/20/73):

PKDS-28    9

    "Because of my flu I couldn't complete my editing of the galleys on FLOW MY TEARS. I hope it makes sense. It seems to me that my agent is supposed to send you a copy of the MS; did he do so?" [This suggests that a manuscript did go from the American agent to the French agent, and thence to French publishers; another possibility is that the American agent sent an uncorrected set of galleys to his French counterpart. {Paul Williams}

{PKD>Patrice Duvic, 20 Nov 1973}

    Dick to Lawrence Ashmead, editor-in-chief, Doubleday (1/23/74):
    "The book came out looking wonderful -- in my opinion by far the get so far. I wanted to tell you, too that the cuts which Diane suggested, and which I made, greatly improve the novel, as she thought they would. Also, I want to thank and commend your copy editors who built the missing bridge across one of the cuts; they did a superb job. I could only have done worse.

{PKD>Lawrence Ashmead, 23 Jan 1974}

{Paul Williams then goes on to discuss the effectiveness of the cuts and PKD's possible loss of interest in FLOW MY TEARS in 1973 -- he'd written it first in 1970 and was in 1973 working on A SCANNER DARKLY. A final letter follows:}

Dick to Goran Bengston {his Swedish translator} (5/4/73)
    "For me the big news (besides me and Tessa getting married) is that I have sold two new novels to Doubleday, the first of which is FLOW MY TEARS. I have said to you that I considered it perfect and finished; it was neither -- I had to do a total rewrite before sending it off at last. Ten rewrites, the last of which was monumental! Anyhow now it is bought and will be coming out. But for me the later one, A SCANNER DARKLY, which is only finished in rough, is the one now. TEARS, when I reread it early this year before typing it up, turned out to be sentimental; so much for what I called 'the perfect' novel.. Only in the final draft did I get any bite into it, any grit. But with SCANNER -- it is all bite, all grit; it is a great tragic anti-dope novel, an autobiographical account, set as science fiction, of what I saw in the dope world, the counterculture, during the two years after my wife and daughter left me. I believe nothing in fiction matches it in the hell it portrays..."

{PKD>Goran Bengston, 4 May 1973}

{See also: The Different Stages Of Love}

To himself, but aloud, he said, "You have bumped the door of life open with your big, dense head. And now it can't be closed."

TDC 35

(PKD:) "...They say I have to say what reality is, and I never had any intention of doing that. And the reason that I never had any intention of doing that is that I don't know -- I have no knowledge at all of what reality is. All I can do is plaintively inquire "Hey, gang, what is really real?" And then here is Terry Carr -- the great anthologizer -- and a major figure in the field -- and he says "All right!" and he blows on his little whistle, like the Recreation Director at camp has. . ."All right!Time to write about what reality is!"
{...}
So I discovered -- as amazing as it may sound -- that it was a lot harder to say what it was than to ask what it was.

(DSA:) What was it?

(PKD:) Damned if I know! {(...)} But I thought: I'll fake it. So in 1970 I started working on FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID. And it was my intention to resolve the problem by the discovery of what reality really was. So that meant there was a three year ellipsis in my writing...

(DSA:) When you had to go out and find out what it was?

(PKD:) Yeah. Well, I just sort of sat there at the typewriter. I did eleven drafts of that novel. I mean literally; I'm not using that as hyperbole. I had a complicated code system worked out so I wouldn't start feeding old drafts back in, in which case I guess I'd still be there today.

I decided the thing that was really real was love. Then I thought, Y'know, somebody else said this; now who the hell was it that said this? Well, actually, a lot of people have said it. My revelation which I'm about to lay on the world is not going to come as a complete surprise.

(DSA:) St. Augustine said it, and Aleister Crowley...

(PKD:) St. Paul said, "If I have not love then I am jack shit"... or something like that. So anyway, I worked for three years on FLOW MY TEARS, then when Terry Carr wasn't looking, I began to go back to the question of what is real.

But another thing happened then -- because your question had to do with working habits. Working all those years on FLOW MY TEARS, doing all those drafts, changed my working habits. I'd never done more than a rough draft and a final on a novel before. And there were eleven drafts. God -- I was reshaping it word by word. Once in, never out; I couldn't go back to doing a rough draft and a final draft, just like that. So the next novel was A SCANNER DARKLY , and it took years to write SCANNER; it just took years. The idea came to me in the early part of 1972, and it wasn't until 1976 that I sent the manuscript off to Doubleday... {PKD - Apel & Briggs 1977}

TDC 87 (PKD:) That precognitive thing in my novels has really spooked me. It's really there. You can see how I would become aware of it in direct proportion to the number of books I wrote: if there was such a factor, the more I wrote, the more I'd begin to notice this.

Let's establish just for the record examples thereof. In the rough draft of FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID, there's a girl named Kathy. Her husband's name is Jack. She is nineteen years old. She appears to be working for the criminal uderground, the anti-establishment thing, but actualy -- because she hopes to get her husband out of a forced labour camp through cooperation -- she is working for the police. The policeman she is working with is on the Inspector level, which is unusual.

Now, that was written in 1970 and the first draft put aside. In December of 1970 I met a girl whose name was Kathy, who was nineteen years old, who appeared to be a dope dealer, who, it turned out much later -- I didn't know this for one year -- had been arrested and had made a deal to inform to the police if they'd drop the charges. Her boyfriend was named Jack, and the policeman she worked with was an Inspector. That's when the precognitive thing in my books really hit me. My novel was so close it was damn near actionable. I could just see an attorney listing all this stuff, you know. Precise details.

{...}

I have really spent a lot of time thinking about this stuff since I began to notice it. I mean, several people have said to me they thought there were precognitive elements in my books, but it didn't really strike me until this thing about FLOW MY TEARS. God, I met the Inspector she was working with. That's how I found out about it. She and I went into a restaurant and she stopped dead and said, "We can't go in there; Inspector So-and-so is in there." And in my book, he wears a grey coat, or something like that, and there he was, sitting there in a grey coat.

I really had to ask myself about this. And what I began to notice was that the precognitive material was coming to me in my sleep, in dream form. That was in 1972, and I began to pay real attention to my dreams from that standpoint. The more time passed the more I was forced to face the actuality of the precognitive elements.
{For continuation see:TDC 88}

TDC 89

Anyway, we were discussing the precognitive elements in FLOW MY TEARS. Now, this is something I really would like to talk about. This is something you won't find other writers saying. {...}

OK... By the time I read over the final draft of FLOW MY TEARS and realised that I had shown real precognitive elements, I had to accept something which I'm not really interested in, which is the ESP stuff. Its not really something which I particularly like. I mean, I don't get off on it. I've written books and stories where parapsychological talents were employed, you know, but I can't honestly say I've ever believed in them as real things.

But there was something about that book that really freaked me. There's a dream sequence... General Buckman's sister is dead, and he's flying home, and he's really grief-stricken. And he has this dream. His main feeling is hatred... the desire to kill Jason Taverner. Buckman has set up Jason Taverner to be busted. Taverner has actually committed no crime. And Buckman in his psychotic grief at the death of his sister -- which was purely accidental -- has lost touch with reality. He's forgotten he's setting up an innocent man. He was looking for a collar on Taverner, then his sister dies in Taverner's proxinity, and Buckman begins to talk about shooting Taverner, just as if he thought that Taverner had actually done it. So he makes this complete psychotic break. He's on his way home, and he's all screwed up about this. And he goes to sleep and has this dream. It's set in a rustic background, where Buckman lived as a child. He dreams of a posse of men on horseback, wearing helmets and multi-colored robes. There's one who looks like a wise old king... he has a snow white beard, like wool. And there's a man whom the posse is going to kill,sealed up in a nearby building. The man cannot see them coming, but he hears them coming and lets out a great shriek of fear. At which point Buckman's psychotic rage -- his desire to kill Taverner-- is completely transmuted into grief for this man hiding in the building in the darkness; grief for this man who is going to be killed.

Buckman is brought back to sanity by this dream. He's brought out of psychotic anger at an inocent man -- previously Buckman's been talking about taking a piss on Taverner's shoe; he takes it that personally -- to an appropriate affect, which is grief. He comes out of the dream and he lands his vehicle at an all-night gas station and he embraces the first human being he sees. It happens to be some black guy standing there while his tires are being rotated. He embraces a complete stranger.

So the dream brought Buckman back to sanity. That's the part that I rewrote very carefully. That's also the part -- I've been told -- for which the John W. Campbell Committee presented me with their award for that book; mainly for that specific episode.

I actually had that dream. There was a case where I consciously wrote something that I dreamt in my writing. But when the book came out, I had the curious feeling that I wrote more than I realised. I couldn't put my finger on exactly what it was. You know, you hear the phrase, "the author wrote more than he knew"... well, I had this feeling. Very, very strong feeling. I was waiting for feedback from my readers. I'm very, very responsive to reader criticism. Not so much professional critic criticism, but reader criticism. I thought someone might let me know what was going on.

FLOW MY TEARS came out in 1974. Now this is where my head was at in February 1974. This was a very stressful period for me. I was having wisdom teeth removed and receiving regular injections of sodium pentathol. Meanwhile I was experimenting with Linus Pauling's orthomolecular vitamin program, and my thoughts began to go very fast. I had read that orthomolecular vitamins, used with schizophrenics, produced more synchronous neural firing, but that it also speeded up neural firing. What occured to me was, "Well, it can't hurt." (laughter) Evidently. That's the thing about water-soluble vitamins, y'know; they're not gonna leave traces of heavy metals in the neuroreceptor sites...

TDC 90

(PKD:) And I remembered an existence in which the world described was the same as the world in FLOW MY TEARS

(DSA:) So... it wasn't a previous existence, but an alternate existence...

(PKD:) You got it. You got it. Exactly right. Only it took me three years to figure it out. For three years, I spent between four and eight hours a day doing research and trying to understand how I could have a previous existence in the present

If I were to detail that world, it would be completely congruent with the world in FLOW MY TEARS. Then I asked myself, Does this explain where the corpus of my writing comes from? And the answer is Yes. The entire corpus of my writing deals with a landscape... a kind of word which is somewhat like ours and somewhat different.And all my books interrelate. Ursula LeGuin pointed that out -- that all my books seemed to take place on a particular alternate world. And in 1974, I actually remembered being in that world. Some of the technology was more advanced than ours, like in my books. They made great use of advanced hydraulics, for instance.

But it was a ghastly garrison state, with forced labor camps. And in that other world, I was an active political revolutionary. I was not just a passive opponent of the Establishment. I remember we blew up a big fortress, a big prison. Actually blew it open, like you'd blow open a safe. I remember being pursued by that authorities.

The Establishment was just like it was shown to me in FLOW MY TEARS. In that world, all civil rights movements had failed. Most amazing of all, Christianity was outlawed.

(DSA:) Had it always been outlawed?

(PKD:) That I don't know. I inferred that what happened was that in the world, Christianity had been completely absorbed by the Roman Empire and a Romanesque civilization, along those lines.

Apparently I got zapped in that other world. We were Christians, but more in the political revolutionary sense; you know, blowing up prisons. Anarchistic. A lot of people were in prisons or forced labor camps.

{For continuation see: TDC 99

TSR 218

(PKD:) in FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID the world of one character invades the world in general and shows that by "world" we mean nothing more or less than Mind -- the immanent Mind which thinks -- or rather dreams -- our world. That dreamer, like the dreamer in Joyce's Finnegan's Wake, is stirring and about to come to consciousness. We are within that dream; these manifold dreams are about to fold into themselves, to disappear as dreams, to be replaced by the true landscape of the dreamer's reality. We will join him as he sees it once again and is aware that he has been dreaming. In Brahmanism, we would say that a great cycle has ended and that Brahman stirs and wakes again, or that it falls asleep from being awake; in any case the universe which we experience which is an extension in space and time of its Mind is experiencing the typical dysfunctions that take place at the end of a cycle. You may say if you prefer, "Reality is collapsing; it's all turning to chaos," or, with me, you may wish to say, "I feel the dream, the dokos, lifting; I feel Maya dissolving: I am waking up, He is waking up: I am the Dreamer: we are all the Dreamer." One thinks here of Arthur Clarke's Overmind.

TSR 224

(PKD:) I myself have derived much of the material for my writing from dreams. In FLOW MY TEARS, for example, the powerful dream which comes to Felix Buckman near the end, the dream of the wise old man on horseback, that was an actual dream I had at the time of writing the novel.

{For continuation see: MARTIAN TIME SLIP, TSR 224

TSR 245

The world of FLOW MY TEARS is an actual (or rather once actual) alternate world, and I remember it in detail. I do not know who else does. Maybe no one else does. Perhaps all of you were always -- have always been --here. But I was not. In March 1974 I began to remember consciously, rather than merely subconsciously, that black iron prison poice state world. Upon consciously remembering it I did not need to write about it because I have always been writing about it. Nonetheless my amazement was great, to remember consciously suddenly that it was once so-- as I'm sure you can imagine. Put yourself in my place. In novel after novel, story after story, over a twenty-five year period, I wrote repeatedly about a particular other landscape, a dreadful one. In March 1974 I understood why, in my writing, I continually reverted to an awareness, in intimation of, that one particular world. I had good reason to. My novels and stories were, without my realizing it consciously, autobiographical. It was -- this return of memory -- the most extraordinary experience of my life. Or rather I should say lives, since I had at least two: one there and subsequently one here, where we are now.
{"If You Find This World Bad..." (1977)}

TSR 247

Examine the text of FLOW MY TEARS and, keeping in mind that it was written in 1970 and published in 1974, make an effort to construct the previous events that would have had to take place, or not take place, to account fot the world depicted in the novel as lying slightly in the future. One small but critical theme is alluded to twice (I believe) in FLOW MY TEARS. It has to do with Nixon. In the future world of FLOW MY TEARS, in the dreadful slave state that exists and evidently has existed for decades, Richard Nixon is remembered as an exalted, heroic leader -- referred to, in fact, as the "Second Only Begotten Son of God." It is evident from this and many other clues that FLOW MY TEARS deals not with our future but the future of a present world alternate to our own. Blacks, by the time FLOW MY TEARS takes place, have become an ecological rarity, protected "as are wild whooping cranes." In the novel one rarely sees blacks on the streets of the United States.. But the year in which FLOW MY TEARS takes place is only eleven years from now: October 1988. Obviously the fascist genocide against the blacks in the United States in my novel began long before 1977; a number of readers have pointed this out to me. One of them even pointed out that a careful reading of FLOW MY TEARS not only indicates that the society depicted, the US police state of 1988, had to be an alternate-world novel, but this reader pointed out that mysteriously, at the very end of the novel, the protagonist, Felix Buckman, appears somehow to have slipped over into a different world, one in which blacks were not exterminated. Early in the novel it is stipulated that a black couple is allowed by law to bear only one single child; yet, at the end of the novel, the black man at the all-night gas station proudly gets out his wallet and shows Police General Buckman photographs of his three children. The open manner in which the black man shows the pictures to a perfect stranger indicates that for some weird and unexplained reason it is now no longer illegal for a black couple to have several children. Somehow, just as Mr.Tagomi slipped over briefly into our alternate present, General Buckman in FLOW MY TEARS did the same thing. It is even evident in the text of FLOW MY TEARS when and where the police general slipped over. It was just before he landed his flying vehicle at the all-night gas station and encountered -- hugged, in fact -- the black man; the slipover, which is to say the moment in which the absolutely repressive world of the bulk of the novel faded out, took place during the interval in which General Buckman experienced a strange dream about a king-like old man with white wool-like beard, wearing robes and a helmet and leading a posse of similarly helmeted robed knights -- this king and these helmeted knights appearing in the rural world of farmhouse and pastureland where General Buckman had lived as a boy. The dream, I think, was a graphic depiction in General Buckman's mind of the transformation taking place objectively; it was a kind of inner analog to what was happening outside him to his entire world.

This accounts for the changed Buckman, the very different police general who lands at the all-night gas station and draws the heart with an arrow piercing it, giving the piece of paper with its drawing to the black man as a communication of love. Buckman at the gas station in encountering the black stranger is not the same Buckman who appeared earlier throughout the book: The transformation is complete. But he is unaware of it. Only Jason Taverner, the once-famous television personality who woke up one day to find himself in a world that had never heard of him -- only Taverner, when his mysteriously taken away popularity seeps back, understands that several alternate realities -- two upon a cursory reading, but at least three if the ending is studied scrupulously -- only Jason Taverner remembers, This is the whole basic plot of the novel: One morning Jason Taverner, popular TV and recording star, wakes up in a fleabag dingy hotel room to find all his identification papers gone, and, worse yet, finds that no one has ever heard of him -- the basic plot is that for some arcane reason the entire population of the United States has in one instant of linear time completely and collectively forgotten a man whose face on the cover of Time magazine should be a face virtually every reader would identify without effort. In this novel I am saying, "The entire population of a large country, a continent-sized country, can wake up one morning having entirely forgotten something they all previously knew, and none of them is the wiser." In the novel it is a popular TV and recording star whom they have forgotten, which is of importance, really, only to that particular star or former star. But my hypothesis is presented here nonetheless in a disguised form, because (I am saying) if an entire country can overnight forget one thing they all know, they can forget other things, more important things; in fact, overwhelmingly important things. I am writing about amnesia on the part of millions of people, of, so to speak, fake memories laid down. This theme of faked memories is a constant thread in my writing over the years. It was also Van Vogt's. And yet, can one contemplate this as a serious possibility, something that could actually happen? Who of us has asked himself that? I did not ask myself that prior to 1974; I include myself.

You will recall that I pointed out that after Police General Buckman slipped over into a better world he underwent an inner change appropriate to the qualities of the better world, the more just, the more loving, the warmer world in which the tyranny of the police apparatus was already beginning to fade away as would a dream upon the awakening of the dreamer. In March 1974, when I regained my buried memories (a process called in Greek anamnesis, which literally means the loss of forgetfullness rather than merely remembering) -- upon those memories reentering consciousness I, like General Buckman, underwent a personality change. Like his, it was fundamental but at the same time subtle. It was me but yet it was not me. I noticed it mostly in small ways: things I should have remembered but did not; things I did remember (ah, what things!) but should not have... ...

TSR 250

The idea that seized me twenty-seven years ago and never let go is this: Any society in which people meddle in other people's business is not a good society, and a state in which the government "knows more about you than you know about yourself," as it is expressed in FLOW MY TEARS, is a state that must be overthrown. It may be a theocracy, a fascist corporate state, or reactionary monopolistic capitalism or centralistic socialism -- that aspect does not matter. And I am saying not merely," It can happen here," meaning the United States, but rather, "It did happen here. I remember. I was one of the secret Christians who fought it and to at least some extent helped overthrow it." And I am very proud of that: proud of myself in time track A. {...}

Continued on FLOW MY TEARS2.

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