"Philip K. Dick lives now in San Rafael and is interested in hallucinogens and snuff. Married, has two daughters and young, pretty, nervous wife Nancy who is afraid of the telephone. Spends most of his time listening to first Scarlatti then "Gotterdammerung," in an attempt to fit them all together. Has many phobias and seldom goes anywhere, but loves to have people come over to his small, nice place on the water. Owes creditors a fortune, which he does not have. Warning: don't lend him any money. In addition he will steal your pills"
(Auto)biographical Material by Dick in 1968.
What a strange and unusual man. I've recently completed reading a book by Lawrence Sutin (editor of the Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick). It is called Divine Invasions and is a biography on the prolific, semi-paranoid, somewhat schizoid and downtrodden author Philip K. Dick.
Sutin sets out to make this the definitive Dick biography by beginning with his early youth, his parents lives, and the points at which the three intersect, creating deeply ingrained neuroses, perpetually evident in his stories and novels, personal relationships, and world view.
We get a picture of Dick from his ex-wives (he had five) of the child within him, his feelings of carrying either the weight and being of his forever lost twin sister or the spirit of Bishop James Pike. How Dick needed to be cuddled, and treated as a baby often as his body continually buckled under the weight of perpetual drug usage. There was a point in his life where he took 1,000 pills of amphetamine a week until being told by his physician that the speed wasn't even going to his head any more--it was just filtering through his kidneys. He was brain high.
Much time is spent in critically examining (with tender, love, and care) his copious canon. Valis gets a rather deep look, as the events that lead up to its creation are viewed in the words of the people he loved, who loved him, and the man himself. His so-called "literary" masterpiece, Confessions of a Crap Artist is set as a lens to examine Phil himself, splitting his personality in halves to inhabit two persons, both in the bellows of smoky relationships.
Phil's mystical experiences often separate him from his readers. For many, it is the entry portal by which they seek him out. This book helps one to understand these experiences, the actuality of them as supported by his wives and friends. Anything can be just explained away, to a point found satisfactory by some and less turn-key by others. For those interested in exploring the events of 2-3-74 for understanding and curiosity, this book offers a great investigation.
Included in the appendix is a useful list of all of Dick's books, in the order that they were written, and reviews of almost every book he wrote. This is an excellent resource. I am glad that I read this book, it helped me understand Dick better and continues me on the path of devouring.