Then one day I packed up and went away to Ibiza, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean.
I had visited Ibiza twice before, briefly, in 1960 and 1963. I had loved the island, and the writer's life there. Ziva, a New Yorker to her fingertips, hadn't liked it much and certainly didn't want to live there. I was mad to live there, or at least somewhere in southern Europe. So I ran away and began a new life. Ibiza lived up to my expectations. I found an inexpensive finca, and followed the writer's round there -- stay home and work until noon or so, then drive to Sandy's bar for mail, and then go to El Kiosko, the big out-of-doors cafe in the center of town, for a coffee and to talk with friends, then as often as not have lunch with those friends. Then home for a siesta. And then the evening.
I loved it. And when I met a new woman, Abby Schulman, there for the summer to visit friends, life got even better. Abby stayed on in the fall and we moved in together.
I was really enjoying my life now. Trouble was, I wasn't writing as much as I thought I should. Freelancing between America and a Spanish island presented delays, technical difficulties, a falling off of communication with friends and editors, especially in those pre-computer days. But I was making some money from movie sales, the Ibiza life seemed worth the difficulties I faced in making a living, and life went merrily on.
I was heavily into drugs at that period. I had never thought of myself as a junkie. But that's what I was, though I didn't realize it at the time. It began with marijuana. Then, acid -- LSD. Then psilocybin mushrooms, and other mind-changing substances. Marijuana was hard to find in Ibiza, but there was plenty of hashish, smuggled in from Morocco and Afghanistan.
I was also using sleeping pills, ever since first getting on them in Acapulco, where Barbara and I had gone on our honeymoon and for me to write my first novel. The little house we rented on Hornitos Bay was only about a hundred yards from an indigent who lived in a broken-down hovel and whose only possession was a radio, which he blared at all hours of the night and day. It played hell with my work. I could not sleep, and so went to a pharmacy in Acapulco to get sleeping pills. What they sold me were barbiturates, and this was the beginning of my twenty-or-so-year habituation to them.
Sleeping pills performed their magic, but often left me tired and hungover the next day. And they were unreliable -- I had to increase the dose to get the effect, and that was getting into dangerous overdose territory. I tried to counteract their next-day-hangover effects by using stimulants.