1. The Buddha Trip is among the coolest novels to come out of the psychedelic & spiritual consciousness of the 70's. David Detrich

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The Buddha Trip
A Novel by
Jorge Ottaviano

Excerpt from The Buddha Trip
     I remember well that winter of early 1980, in Santa Cruz, California, when my friend Dennis used to come around. I was living with my girlfriend Nina at the time, and she had introduced me to him.
     Dennis had been traveling on the West Coast between Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz, having only recently separated from his girlfriend after a prolonged dispute. Now he was back on the road as a loner and a bachelor, driving his pick-up truck with camper on the back, out of which he was living in makeshift style. He was now one more of the many gypsy travelers whose vehicles on wheels—(motorized), were their only homes.
     Dennis had first met Nina in Santa Cruz after she had moved there from Berkeley.
     She and I were also going through a rough period in our romance, when things were starting to break up, as far as living together was concerned. I would leave and go back to Berkeley to live the vagabond life on the streets, as the only security I could cling to.
     But somehow we would always be drawn back to each other. She would come up and look for me on the streets and find me like magic—and we would have these blazing reunions and be totally happy with each other and want to live together all over again, if only for a short sweet spell of ecstatic love-making.
     That is the way it went, back and forth, many times over, as we experienced the confusion and need of two lovers in love. We couldn't let go of our love for each other, even though it was so often tearing us apart.
     It was on one of those occasions, when I had just arrived back in Santa Cruz, that I found Dennis at the house, heavily into his Buddha trip.
     I was nervous and self-conscious, having smoked some powerful marijuana with the guy that had picked me up hitchhiking.
     I was too upset to go to the house directly, so I went to the place where I always go when I when I need to restore the balance in my soul—the ocean.
     I ran up and down the beach a few times to ease up the tension in my system. I had to dissipate that marijuana effect, because it had bound me up too tightly.
     Finally, when I felt a little saner, I headed up to King Street; and, as I was welcomed into the house by Nina, who was already expecting my arrival, I found Dennis ensonced at the kitchen table. He was rapping to her about his new liberation.
     I never saw a man so intent on proclaiming his happiness. He had found the elixir of life, and it was a sight to see. I was completely taken in by his candidness.
     It was obvious that Dennis had accomplished some clean and definite breakthrough in his life's story, and he wanted to tell the world about it, but most especially his dear and close friends, whom we were. His case looked to me like an authentic case of conversion. He wasn't looking for any followers, he merely wanted to proclaim his message. He was insisting on continuing his trip on a more independent line, free of false attachment, possessions, or relationships. His relationship was now to the Truth. 
     It was his joy to share his awakening with his friends. It was easy to tell that he was releasing incredible amount of pent up energy that had never until now had the free chance to come out.
     All of this came as a lightning flash across my life. It represented a turning point in m own evolution.
     Dennis would turn out to have a subtle, pervasive influence in my mind long after the events that occurred.
     This was the first time that we met, but he already acted like he had known me for some time, smiling his widest grin and beaming his newly-found cosmic bliss my way, and to Nina also. We were suddenly a threesome esoteric circle, floating in the cozy space bubble of our apartment.
     Nina was the one who had brought him there. They had befriended each other on the street. Suddenly Dennis had an invitation and a place to go. That was the kind of warm-hearted, generous person Nina was, and I dearly loved her. She was always ready to take a chance, to make a new encounter. Isn't that the way I had met her myself, 4 years before, when I had gone to visit Cambridge, Massachusetts?
     She was free to chose her friends as she pleased. My understanding with her was that we would trust each other and be free of jealousy. She would go wherever she liked as she felt it, and be with whoever she wanted to be with. All I asked for was that she let me know what was going on so I could be informed. Our agreement was not to lie to each other, or even to hold any secrets from each other, if we could help it.
     This worked out for quite some time while we were still being tight with each other as lovers. But later on, when things changed, and we started moving away from each other, the telepathic closeness also evaporated. I guess that's the way things are.
     As far as Nina was concerned, I was on a Buddha trip of my own, going back to the time when she had first met me. I was in a very philosophical mood back then, and that was the way she had experienced me, and this had greatly intrigued her, because it offered such a contrast to where she was coming from at the time. She was thinking about things, but in a much more romantic, poetic way. What we both had in common was our thirst to experience life, and to understand it. We were approaching the quest from two slightly different angles, with our highly magnetic, sensual love for each other as the focal point.
     She thought Dennis and I would have a lot in common, since we had both gone on the visionary trail, each in our own way, and so she had wanted to introduce us.
     When I walked through the door I gathered that this had been the gist of their conversation in anticipation of my arrival.
     When we were introduced I noticed that Dennis did not attempt to tone down the state of his euphoria, rather he converted it into a more concentrated stance.
     He went into the living room, which was uncluttered with any furniture, but liberally sprinkled with comfortable pillows, and took a seated, adept posture on the floor, and began a close scrutiny of the way Nina and I related to each other.
     It turned out that Dennis was a painter. His canvasses were done in oils that had a pastel coloring to them. They were beautiful landscape shots of Santa Barbara, and the seashore and parks of that coastal area. Palm-tree-lined streets, pottery and ceramic displays, golf courses, and gala events—all of these portrayed with an exquisite touch of professional quality done well enough to be noticed. He had even earned a living from his talent.
     His luscious green and heavenly blue pastel colors perfectly reflected the wonderful summer light of dreamy, opulent California myth, and many people wanted these vibrations to adorn their homes, and were willing to pay good money for them. So he had been lucky in that sense. Enough to buy what he needed to support himself as a gypsy artist roaming the countryside for his new sketch. But of course this wasn't all he was interested in. He was interested in life for its own sake, and not just for a drawing. He had discovered the magic of consciousness to create its own realities above and beyond artistic sensibility. 
     He was full of a thirst to be free to practice his art in a completely individualistic manner, unhampered by any bothersome conventions of what was acceptable or not. He wanted to make his own rules in that department.
     His greatest wish, overall, was to be free of all illusory involvements that did not give energy and life to his vision of what was beautiful.
     He kept stressing the importance that his meditations on consciousness were having on his art. Art and religion were all one to him, he was saying.
     God was there in nature for all to see if they cared to look closely enough. It had been a great revelation to him. Not that he hadn't known it before, even as a kid. He had. But now he had found the key of conscious assent, the awakening that led from intuition to design, and he was being truly inspired to make an example of freedom and self-expression out of his life. He had a reason to live, he wanted to express something to people that would bring about the big change in their lives. He was stepping out of the mould and going it alone.
Jorge Ottaviano
Jorge Ottaviano is the author of The Buddha Trip (2005), and he has been living in Chico for the past eight years where he is working on journals and autobiographical essay writing. He was born in Asunción, Paraguay, grew up in Farmington, Michigan, where he met David Detrich. H e moved to California after high school, and David joined him in Santa Cruz in 2001.  

The Buddha Trip
A Novel by
Jorge Ottaviano
A first novel that begins in Berkeley with a relationship that lasts throughout the novel until the narrator moves to Santa Cruz. The portrait of Nina is that of a casual California romance by a narrator who has moved to the west coast from Michigan where he was friends with David Detrich. This novel is written in a style that is reminiscent of Jack Kerouac with precise descriptions that reveal a perceptive literary mind. Jorge Ottaviano lives in Chico, California. We await a second edition of The Buddha Trip.
First Edition: Sold Out