Of mountains and madness

EAST Londoner Marc Schroeder launched his debut novel, Sleeping with Dogs: A Tale of Madness, at the Beacon Bay Country Club last week.

HAPPINESS AT LAST: Marc Schroeder in the Kashmir Himalayas, where he has found happiness after a toxic lifestyle led him into a state of turmoil. Picture: SUPPLIED

The launch was met by an overwhelming response, with Schroeder’s many friends, family members and supporters flocking to the venue to catch a snippet of his story.

Reading an excerpt from his book chronicling a day of cycling along the French Riviera and an evening at an underground French club, Schroeder reflected on the deeply introspective and passionate writing process he experienced while creating this piece of literature.

The novel follows Schroeder’s life – from his childhood days attending Selborne Primary School and College and his crazy student life at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, to a seemingly fulfilled adult life as a financial analyst.

He seemed to have it all – the house, the car, the job – but behind Schroeder’s perceived successful veneer lay a deep-seated unhappiness that he attempted to drown out with the use of drugs.

The book offers a descriptive account of Schroeder’s struggle with his toxic drug addiction.

“There is a lot in this book, but the one thing I hope people take away from it is the concept of fear and how it impacts you and your life,” said Schroeder.

“For years I was ‘locked in a dungeon’ as an undercover drug addict because I feared what people would think.I had so many doubts and fears about what I was doing with my life and drugs were my coping mechanism.”

Schroeder expresses these fears through the re-telling of his whirlwind life, sharing his travels, battle with addiction, stints in rehab, many failed attempts to sober up and finally recounting his journey to happiness.

It was only when Schroeder quit his job, gave up everything and bought a one-way ticket to India, that his healing truly began.

“The only thing that anchored me in life was my dogs. They were the single most valuable thing I had and it was really tough to give them up.

“The title of the book is inspired by them and the book is dedicated to them.”

In 2016, he found himself in the Kashmir Himalayas where he undertook a month long detox in an Indian Ayurvedic and yoga centre. This is where Schroeder began his year-long journey of writing Sleeping with Dogs.

He has since built a full and happy life for himself in Nepal, where he has launched the Kashmir Trekking Company, partnering with a local Kashmir guide, Aslam Mota.

In writing his debut novel, Schroeder has realised a childhood dream, one that had faded when he started living for success in capitalist terms. He is already busy writing his second book.

With this novel, Schroeder hopes to make an impact on the lives of many people, urging them to find what makes them truly happy.

“This book is for anyone who has had a tough time, anyone who’s had anything bad happen to them and anyone who feels stuck.”

“I was stuck for a really long time and although there is so much uncertainty in what I am doing now – writing books and taking people to the mountains – I have never been happier.”

Hardcover copies cost R200. The digital version is available on Amazon.

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