Synopses & Reviews
It looked like any other medical chart, with different boxes filled in with my blood pressure and heart rate, but at the bottom, next to Diagnosis, the doctor simply wrote, Terminal Assholism.
Juggled between an endless succession of friends, relatives, anarchist boarding schools, libertarian commune dwellers, socialist rebels, and born-again circus clowns, Oran Canfield grew up viewing the inconsistencies of the world with a wary eye. The son of Jack Canfield — the motivational speaker and creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul — Oran is intensely self-conscious and reserved, but his life won't seem to leave him alone. Whether he's teaching two hundred eager self-help disciples to juggle (among them a woman with stumps for hands), dodging a series of wacky near-death experiences, delivering newspapers in satin pants on a unicycle, or experimenting with drugs in the back of a Mexican cop car at age thirteen, one thing's for sure: Oran's life is much stranger than fiction.
Eventually he finds some fleeting comfort in heroin, but the world proves dizzying whether he's stoned or sober. Playing drums in fringe bands and bouncing between rehab centers, he encounters a host of weird characters along the way: a devotee of obscure noise music who makes his own sunglasses out of cardboard, hooligan hockey players left in charge of group therapy, and the unassuming chess nerd who might be in the mob. Feeding a dope addiction that becomes more harrowing by the day, Oran sells off every possession and burns every bridge on the road to recovery.
With humor and wit, Long Past Stopping grapples with the paradoxes of a mad world and shows that feel-good nostrums go only so far. Sometimes the only way out is the hard one.
"An oddly compelling and appealing account of a life truly stranger than fiction." Booklist
"The author's deadpan irony is periodically brilliant....An unconventional childhood described through the lens of the author's battle with substance abuse, likely to be of the most interest to those recovering from an addiction." Kirkus Reviews
"Thank god Oran Canfield came out of this alive and thank double-god he emerged with his sense of humor. So many weirdball characters and harrowing situations that you'd be hard-pressed to make up better ones. This is the kind of life story that begs to be told." Beth Lisick, author of Helping Me Help Myself
From the son of Jack Canfield, creator of the bestselling self-help series Chicken Soup for the Soul, comes a wry, edgy, and often hilarious memoir about his struggle to overcome a childhood dismantled by hypocrisy and an adulthood plagued by heroin addiction.
Oran Canfield—son of self-help guru and Chicken Soup for the Soul creator Jack Canfield—tells his surreal story of growing up in Long Past Stopping. In this remarkable memoir, writing with a wry and cutting edge, Canfield relates tales of a childhood in flux—being buffeted about among family friends, relatives, rebels, and born-again circus clowns, in an anarchist private school, communes, and libertarian enclaves—and of a young adulthood spent among the ruins of heroin addiction. Long Past Stopping is Oran Canfields often hilariously harrowing tale of surviving life in the strange lane.
About the Author
Oran Canfield was raised in Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Central America, New Mexico, Arizona, and the San Francisco Bay area. While attending the San Francisco Art Institute, Oran began his career as a drummer and became heavily involved in San Francisco's flourishing underground music and art communities. Along with his involvement as a drummer for numerous bands in the nineties, he also owned and operated a recording studio and cooperated a music venue featuring experimental and creative jazz music. He has also been a bike messenger, piano restorer, housecleaner, limo driver, and sex-toy maker. Early in 2001, after seven separate stints in rehab, he got clean after attending an experimental treatment center in the Caribbean islands. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works as a musician and freelance art handler.