I came to weed relatively late in life: namely the exact moment it was available for recreational purchase in LA. I knew it was kind of embarrassing to become a stoner in my late 20s, just as it had been embarrassing to start drinking at 21, but what can I say: when scarcity mindset mixes with a terror of losing control, you get me, a weirdo who does things late.
The point is that when I did start, I went all in. After a uniquely horrible introduction to weed involving a too-potent gummy and the film Being John Malkovich, I eased into what would shortly become a pleasant, if slightly worrying weed dependency. More importantly, I figured out what media to avoid while high, and what kinds of stories jive with a well-packed bowl.
Which is what I’m here to tell you about: high reading. Now I know what you’re thinking. “How can you read while you’re high?” Well my friend, it’s a delicate balance, some might even call it an art form. You have to get just high enough for the book you’re reading to be enhanced but not so high that the words fall off the page. It also matters what you read. You don’t want to make the mistake I made and choose something a little too psychedelic. So here I am, a person known to some of my friends as “Professor Weed,” to give you the ins and outs of reading while stoned.
Tip #1: Choose Your Fiction Wisely
Now what you read doesn’t have to be fiction, but I find that high reading works best with something just a little bit magical and mystical. It’s been fun to revisit some old YA classics of my youth, like Jane Yolen’s “Dragon’s Hall” and Patricia MacLaughlan’s “Tomorrow’s Wizard.” It’s also a good way to start getting into girthier works of sci-fi and fantasy. For instance: I have no desire to read the novel “Dune” sober, to the deep sorrow of all my ex-boyfriends. But I could do it high! I mean I’m definitely not going to…but I could.
Tip #2: Keep It Short
I’ve tried to read a lot of different types of fiction high, and I’ve found that not only does fiction with a more fantastical bent lend itself perfectly to high reading, short fiction is also usually your best bet. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m in the mood for a contained story that I can read in one sitting. A book I’ve found that is perfectly suited to this task is a (sadly out of print) volume called “Yenne Velt: The Great Works of Jewish Fantasy and Occult.” There are transformations, spells, witches, and some truly kinky sh*t happening in those pages, and plenty of the stories are under 10 pages. The perfect fodder for high reading!
Tip #3: Choose Your Weed Wisely
I usually limit myself to just vaping during my high reading sessions, as edibles can induce a too fast, too furious high not suited to this activity. That said, if you’re a more experienced user and you want to f*ck around with a gummy, be my guest. Those little Kiva mints that you can use for microdosing are also great.
Tip #4: It’s All in the Timing
I limit my weed use to the evening hours, and usually I only allow myself to start high reading after I’ve spent an hour or two sober reading. This is because I’m autistic, and my relationship to reading has always been more than a little challenging. I find that I need to create an atmosphere before settling in to get lost in a story. This means that my phone needs to be in the other room, and the white/pink/purple noise needs to be blasting, and I need to have no distractions. Like, zero distractions. It’s about surrender, okay?
Tip #5: Give Into the Magic
How many of us have secretly yearned to return to that magical, mystical state of being we could access as kids when we could just hole up in a corner and read for hours on end? And yes, I’m aging myself here, because this is probably a trope that died long ago. Still: there’s something about the idea of letting yourself escape into a world where you don’t have responsibilities to think about, taxes to pay, dinner to get on the table, and the impending end of the world encroaching on your ability to function. Call it escapism, because it definitely is that, but it’s also something more. I think of high reading as a form of self care. When I take that first nightly hit of my vape and crack open a weird, fantastical story, I feel like I’m being transported into one of those Wishbone posters that had every library in a chokehold when I was growing up. And let’s be real: who didn’t want to live in those posters?
Take these tips and go forth, young high reader: here’s hoping you have a magical, mystical time.