Thursday, April 25, 2024


Since Guerrilla Mural of a Siren’s Song: 15 Gonzo Science Fiction Stories came out, people probably think I’m on drugs. I’ve never needed drugs to have visions. Hallucinogenic imagery has always come easy to me, even as a toddler when I spent most of my time playing with imaginary friends. My imagination never stops. 

I suppose that most people don’t have weird shit dancing through their brains 24/7. That’s something I have a hard time imagining. Must be boring.

If the police ransacked Hacienda Hogan they wouldn’t find anything that would get me locked up. Sure, there’s some cerveza, but I write sober. And still I make incredible typos.

What is a gonzo Chicano science fiction writer? People probably imagine me sprinkling genetically engineered peyote powder on my Cheerios before I go out in my low rider hovercraft to cruise the barrio in search of virgins to sacrifice to Tezcatlipoca with electrified accordion psychedelic cumbias a-blasting. Maybe some even believe it.

Still, drugs and Xochipilli, the god of mind-altering substances, have not been totally absent from my life—after all I came of age during the Seventies, in Southern California, when you needed a gas mask to avoid the coke and pot in the air. It was part of what was happening, man! And as a writer, I felt it was my duty to be hip to what was going on, so I could write about it.

I was what we used to call a social drug user. At parties and other gatherings of long-haired, freaky people, funny cigarettes and pipes would be passed around . . . in pre-Star Wars fandom, the stairwells of convention hotels would fill up with smoke. 

But I digress . . .

I have to admit that pot, grass, weed, what we called cannabis back then, was fun. But it was me hoping that marijuana (or mariguana, as the Spanish-language press spells it) would make the conversations more interesting. Without the “dope” most of those events would have been dull.

After a while, I realized that instead of bringing others up to my level, it was dragging me down to theirs.

But that wasn’t why I gave it up.

One night, over at a friend’s house, I took a few tokes. I assumed it was good ol’ pot, but there was something different this time. I got this buzzing–WAAAAH! . . .WAAAAH! . . . WAAAAH!--going through my head. Things started to look different–focus and colors looked weird. Then I started puking my guts out. Must have been somekinda unidentified psychedelic whatchcallit mixed in. That was the thing about illegal drugs–you never knew what you were really getting. Also, I seemed to be disconnected from my body, could barely talk, and walking was . . . those several puke-runs to the toilet were . . . interesting. They eventually gave me something with opium in it, and I slept it off.

It was the classic bad trip I had heard so much about. I didn’t really want to go through it again.

Also, I was going through a lot at the time, realizing that if I’m going to do the creative stuff that I do, I absolutely had to keep my brain and body in good condition. I decided to give it up.

By it I mean the stuff with laws against it.

It was pretty easy, I just started saying no when it was offered. Nancy Reagan would have been proud.

Besides, the times I tried cocaine–which made me feel good and so self-confident that I committed a crime someone asked me to (I see how it could mess up your life)--and speed (which was like coke, but not as pleasant) I wasn’t left hungering for more.

And I had done enough research in that area. Sorry Xochipilli, but you don't get to eat my brain.

But then, there was another drug, however, that I did not give up for another decade or so . . .

To be continued!

Friday, April 19, 2024


Chicanonautica examines my latest stint as a teacher, at La Bloga:

I was never comfortable in a classroom:

I never wanted to be a teacher:

I don’t believe in gurus:

I do have a lot of bizarre experiences:

Thursday, April 11, 2024


Whew! I need to take a long, deep breath. Or maybe a loud, noxious fart will do. 

Been up to my orejas in the Gonzo Science Fiction, Chicano Style class for the Palabras del Pueblo Writing Workshop during which I wrote a story while delivering play by play reportage on my creative process. I also got to visit an alternate reality where I am famous, and an influence on a lot of writers in the planet-spanning reaches of the Latinoid continuum. It was great and had me feeling like I can take on all the madness that I see building up and threatening to erupt in the rest of the year. 

I don’t want to be a guru. I don’t believe in gurus. I do have experience that can help people who have chosen to take the path I have taken. I’ve been around on this merry-go-round a few times.

Meanwhile, Our Creative Realidades takes its place next to Guerrilla Mural of a Siren’s Song: 15 Gonzo Science Fiction Stories as something I've got to hype. Yes, I’m a sort of a gonzo journalist–or is it anthropologist?--from time to time. And I do know the differences between fiction, and nonfiction, sci-fi and reality. I think. Maybe I’m just a clumsy slapstick comedian.

Then there’s my novel Zyx; Or, Bring Me the Brain of Victor Theremin. Still trying to get an agent who will be willing to run it through the gauntlet of the big New York publishers because I can’t give up the dream of making a wad of cash and retiring to write my bucket list novels and do art rather than work far into my old age. Creativity can be a bitch.

I could probably find a publisher for Zyx (did I ever mention that it rhymes with sex?) in a few weeks if I didn’t care about money. Unfortunately, I need money to survive. I won’t rule it out. Like I keep saying, I keep one foot in the underground, so when the shit hits the fan, I’ll have a place to stand. What is that stuff flying around?

Speaking of novels, mine, High Aztech, Cortez on Jupiter, and Smoking Mirror Blues made David Bowles’ List of Mexican American Futurism. I’m down as Nestor Hogan, but people still get confused when you go against their handy-dandy stereotypes. Nestor, Nesto, Ernesto, I’m my perplexing Ernestoid self. Buy my books and figure it out yourself.

The election and politics are getting weirder than ever. Grotesque alternative universes battling over which one we’ll live in. Your favorite utopia d’jour ain’t one of the choices–guess what, it never is, and be careful if it seems to be. Meanwhile, I recommend voting against the guy who the Klan, the Nazis, and the governments of Russia and China want in the White House.

Ah . . . I’m feeling better. More focused. What was that I just did? Maybe it was deep breath and a fart. Is it possible to do both at once? Nah, it would probably cause serious injury, and I’m actually feeling good.

I’ll just keep doing my Ernestoid thing in the face of a future that promises to be crazier than my wildest dreams, because I have some dreams that are pretty damn wild that I haven’t shared yet.

Friday, April 5, 2024