Monday, February 01, 2010

A touch of Zen

When, one evening in 1976, Philip K. Dick invited Tim Powers to his Fullerton apartment, the Cal State student expected the kind of night he often passed with the science-fiction titan: a wide-ranging conversation, fueled by wine and beer, about religion, philosophy and Beethoven.

The night began the usual way. But it took a strange turn as Dick's wife, Tessa, and her brother began grabbing lamps and chairs. "She and her brother were carrying things out of the house," recalls Powers. "I said, 'Phil, they're taking stuff, is this OK?' "

" 'Powers, let me give you some advice, in case you should ever find yourself in this position,' Dick said. 'Never oversee or criticize what they take. It's not worth it. Just see what you've got left afterward, and go with that.'

"And then," Powers recalls, "her brother said, 'Could you guys lift your glasses? We want the table.' "

Dick was an old hand at marital dissolution.
Considerable elan, though there is a darker underside.
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