Jack Kerouac on Self-Loathing (1962)

“The rucksack sits hopefully in a strewn mess of bottles all empty, empty poorboys of white port, butts, junk, horror … ‘One fast move or I’m gone,’ I realize, gone the way of the last three years of drunken hopelessness which is a physical and spiritual and metaphysical hopelessness you can’t learn in school no matter how many books on existentialism or pessimism you read, or how many jugs of vision-producing Ayahuasca you drink, or Mescaline take, or Peyote goop up with – that feeling when you wake up with the delirium tremens, with the fear of eerie death dripping from your ears like those special heavy cobwebs spiders weave in the hot countries, the feeling of being a bentback mudman monster groaning underground in hot steaming mud pulling a long hot burden nowhere, the feeling of standing ankle deep in hot boiled pork blood, ugh, of being up to your waist in a giant pan of greasy brown dishwater not a trace of suds left in it – the face of yourself you see in the mirror with its expression of unbearable anguish so haggard and awful with sorrow you can’t even cry for a thing so ugly, so lost, no connection whatever with early perfection, and therefore nothing to connect with tears or anything.”