An Open Letter from a College Student Who Got Out of an Art Block by Taking Mushrooms

Subject: An Open Letter from a College Student Who Got Out of an Art Block by Taking Mushrooms
From: Anonymous Student
Date: 18 Mar 2020
Collage of flowers made with paint markers on watercolor paper

I know the title is a lot to take in, and I am not expecting everyone who reads this to agree with my choice to ingest mushrooms as a means of defeating an artist’s block. I am simply here to tell you my story and maybe show you that mushrooms aren’t as scary as you might have been led to believe.
To let you in on some background, I am a college student who just recently finished a research project on psychedelics and their many practical uses. To be completely honest, I began my research believing that psychedelics were extremely dangerous drugs that only people who identified as hippies would be interested in taking. I entered my project with a moralistic stance that began to melt as more and more positive results began to refute my previous notion.
Long story short, I changed my mind. So much evidence was presented against my initial stance that I even decided to experiment with magic mushrooms myself. Though my first time taking mushrooms is not what I am here to talk to you about today, I can assure you that I had a safe and positive experience.
I am here instead to talk to you about my second experience, the one I had just a few days ago.
It started when I woke up on a gloomy Saturday morning and remembered that the final assignment of my English class was due within the next few days. With the hot topic of coronavirus looming over my mind for the past few days, I had completely forgotten about my assignment. I was supposed to create an “action document” where I was to express my feelings on my research topic to a broader audience whether it be through a letter to the president, a letter to the local newspaper, or an open letter like the one I am writing right now.
I scrambled to come up with ideas. Maybe I could write a letter to Trump telling him that psychedelics can help people and that he should consider making them legal? I thought. Nah, that’s a lost cause. I struggled for a few minutes.
Then it hit me. I looked to my desk to see the tiny vintage enamel tin I had sitting on my desk. The rest of the mushrooms from last time. I looked to the tin, and then to my box of art supplies.
I hadn’t touched my art box for a few weeks, for I had been plagued by a frustrating artist’s block. With a new-found excitement, I opened the box and spread out all my supplies on the carpeted floor beneath me. Then I grabbed the flimsy bag of leftover magic mushroom scraps and headed downstairs to make mushroom tea, my preferred way of ingesting the intensely earthy-tasting fungi.
With my tea now consumed and my art supplies readily available, I got to work.
I began my journey by taking a more traditional route. I blasted some Tame Impala and traced squiggly multicolored lines across a piece of paper, expecting to feel inspired. As the mushrooms gently took effect at around thirty minutes, I found myself frustrated with my progress. The page beneath me felt blocky, stereotypical, and it showed no reflection of the person behind its creation. I wanted the mushrooms to help me create a psychedelic masterpiece, but what I had just drawn looked like an art piece that Keith Haring would have made as a toddler.
I decided to take a deep breath, change the music I was listening to, and try again. I put on some Kevin Krauter, and his smooth voice and graceful guitar lulled me into a more comfortable trance. Trying to gain inspiration, I glanced around the room. My eyes quickly landed on the small glass of faux flowers perched upon my desk, and I grabbed my paint markers.
For the next two hours, I jammed out to relaxing music and got lost in the process of making art. I relished the gentle euphoria that cascaded over me as my markers glided across the page. Though the mushrooms did not make me hallucinate, my perception of my surroundings had noticeably changed. The music filled my ears and circulated through my head like a pleasant breeze while the visuals of paint spreading across paper instilled in me wonderous contentment.
While my usual art depicts botanical subjects in a rather fragile and muted manner, the art I produced during this sitting possessed a dramatic abstract aesthetic that I had never been able to attain before. The sensations caused by the mushrooms lasted for about five hours, and within that time, I was able to explore an untapped side of my artistic capabilities. Before this, I would often get frustrated when trying out new styles of painting. But by providing myself with a safe and stimulating environment to use mushrooms, I was able to create art that was unfettered by the restrictive expectations I would usually hold myself up to. Mushrooms provided me with the headspace I needed to explore my creativity and I had a blast while doing so.
As I finish this letter, I understand that my choice to take mushrooms in order to finish a school project is an odd choice to make. But it is a choice that I will fondly reflect upon as I hang my new art on my apartment wall and return to my art box with a new-found sense of inspiration.