This is a brief description of the source and origin of “The Squeeze,” a short story I posted on Wattpad a few weeks ago.
Way back in 1991, I worked as the mail-order manager for the U.K. distributor of a large number of small U.S. independent publishers—most of them specializing in New Age spirituality or alternative modalities of living and breathing. I wrote catalog copy and handled the mailing list and awaited the owner of the company (who doubled as the catalog designer) to get around to finishing his work. It so happened that he came from Canvey Island.
One of the individuals distributed by the company, and about whom I had to compose a few words, was a personal growth guru by the name of Stuart Wilde. Through the inspiration of the photograph above, he became the genesis of Mickey Melon. Now I have absolutely no evidence that Stuart Wilde, who died in 2013, was anything other than an upstanding and thoughtful counselor of the human condition. “The Squeeze” is by no means a statement on Stuart Wilde’s work and thought, about which I have no comment. The photo above says more about 1980s fashion than it does about Stuart, who, judging by the encomia on his website, appears to have had a sense of humor, which is how I would have hoped he would have taken this story, had he lived to read it.
I’ve always been interested in gurus who are part flimflam artists and part genuinely insightful into the spiritual life. In some ways, that may be my very definition of the guru. One day, I plan to write a novel about a character based on Simon Magus, the charismatic fraud who taunts St. Paul in Acts of the Apostles to prove exactly what makes him different from (and inferior to) Jesus Christ. I admire such an individual’s self-confidence and frequently accompanying wit, and so it is with the hapless Ganesh and the rambunctious force of nature that is Mickey Melon. And, like Melon, I happen to have no problem with the placebo as a means of healing. If it works, why worry about how or why?