Instruction on a Ritual for Simplifying Your Life

The first step is defining the place. It must be your living room. You must live alone.

Time is not inconsequential. Do it at night, after the bars have closed, but leaving yourself enough time to swing by the liquor store on the way home.

It must take place in the dark, naturally. Lit up the stereo’s spectral glow, slip on an oversized pair of black leather-padded headphones.

You may choose a theme. Metal one night. Country another. The best results, though, will be when you let one song from one album inspire you to listen to another from another regardless of genre.

Beer is permissible as a chaser. Don’t quibble over domestic versus foreign. But your main beverage must be scotch on the rocks.

Start with every Friday night. It will become Saturday night as well. Then Sunday. Eventually, every day of the week.

Some nights, once you start, you may feel inspired to hail a taxi to low-rent neighborhoods in search of something stronger. You will have work in the morning. It will not matter.

Do not worry about proportions. These will sort themselves out with repetition. At first a half glass. Then a pint. Then a quart. Finally, a full bottle a night.

This is a reverse conjuring. As the amount of liquid increases, everything else will decrease. Lovers. Work. Friends.

Repeat. Again. Until nothing remains.


Chris LaMay-West believes in the power of rock music, Beat poetry, and the sanctity of Star Trek. He has appeared in Kitchen Sink and Morbid Curiosity, in various online venues including The Rumpus and Opium, and in the Mortified reading series. A California native, Chris is currently expatriated to Vermont, where he writes, works for a college, recently served as the poetry editor for Mud Season Review, and lives with his lovely bride, two cats, a dog, and several chickens. His literary exploits can be followed at: https://chrislamaywest.com/