Dave Besseling grew up in Canada, and after graduating from college, spent his 20s bashing around the globe, then turned 30 having lived, worked or travelled in as many countries. He has been employed as a graphic designer, language teacher, visual artist, tattoo designer, journalist and magazine editor.His first book The Liquid Refuses to Ignite has just been published by Hachette, India.
In a series of essays that define the travails of those who prefer life on the road, The Liquid Refuses to Ignite sees Dave and his possible alter-ego Dr Heagney theorize upon, ruminate over and scoff at everything from Kurt Cobain to Kundalini. Hitting out at the modern traveller – the backpack-wearing self-professed outcasts who scour the world for meaning – Dave stumbles upon the epiphany he’s been searching for: behind the robes and the rituals of wise men everywhere, they’re selling the same thing – the answer to emptiness and need. And they-ve been selling it to him all along.
Soaring into heaven moment:
I think that moment came when I knew what the book’s title would be. It is a rare feeling, one that reverberates from your coccyx to your ribcage, one that doesn’t come round often enough. Later, a lesser vibration occurred, when I searched ‘the liquid refuses to ignite’ on google, and after the relief that no one had called their book that before, I found a passage from Auto Repair for Dummies that was, essentially, a metaphor of the entire book. Heaven is weird.
That infernal fire time:
The time before I knew what the title would be. It’s odd how simply having a title can initiate direction, instil discipline, and glean deeper meanings from what you’ve already written. Before a book has a title, it’s like an unnamed baby on the steps of an orpahnage. It may be taken in and fed, or it may be kidnapped and sold into the sex trade. You never know. It’s a tense time.
The purgatory point:
Between the book’s submission and publication. Jesus God, do people realize how long this sort of thing takes? Maybe I’ll have to re-designate the Heaven moment to now, after the book’s release, because the last year has felt so authentically purgatorial.
…….years, …….drafts and ……….words thereafter, would you do this differently and again?
I guess you could say I wrote the book in about 6 months, but it was 10 years and 30 countries that supplied the material. That lazy Elizabeth Gilbert only did three countries in one year for her book. What a soft option. I am Elizabeth Gilbert’s Antichrist.
In the first draft, the whole book took place in Varanasi, with each chapter having a dip into a past episode, whereas now the book starts in Varanasi, goes back ten years, and weevils its way back to the book-present moment. Hard to say whether I’d do it differently, since that would mean I would have had to live differently, and I wouldn’t trade my 20s for anything.
Death. Or no. Being alive. Or wait. Leprosy. I would not like to have leprosy.
Desire the most?
Death. Or no. Being alive. Or wait. Love. Love is so bizarre that it has no definition, is elusive as a pimpernel and may never reveal itself to you at all. Yet here we are, waiting for it to occur, not knowing what it looks like or what it is, but it always seems to be conceived as an outer agent, a paranoid replacement for an absent god.
Hate the most?
God. Or no, wait. Children. And cats. I hate all cats.