I cannot wait to read some more stories about this man.
Eustace Conway moved into the woods for good when he was 17 years old. This was in 1978, which was around the same time Star Wars was released. He lived in a tepee, made fire by rubbing two sticks together, and bathed in icy streams. At this point in his biography, you might deduce that Eustace is a survivalist or a hippie or a hermit, but he’s not any of these things. He’s not storing guns for the imminent race war; he’s not cultivating excellent weed; he’s not hiding from us. Eustace Conway is in the woods because he belongs in the woods.
Eustace travels through life with perfect equanimity. He has never experienced an awkward moment. During his visit to New York City, I lost him one day in Tompkins Square Park. When I found him again, he was in pleasant conversation with the scariest posse of drug dealers you’d ever want to meet. They’d offered Eustace crack, which he’d politely declined, but he was chatting with them about other issues.
“Yo, man,” the drug dealers were asking as I arrived, “where’d you buy that dope shirt?”
Eustace was explaining to the drug dealers that he did not, in fact, buy the shirt at all but had made it out of a deer. He described exactly how he had skinned the deer and softened the hide with the deer’s own brains and then sewed the shirt together using strands of sinew taken from alongside the deer’s spine. He told the drug dealers that it’s not a difficult process and that they could do it, too, and that—if they came to visit him in the mountains—he would show them all sorts of wonderful ways to live off nature.
I said, “Eustace, we gotta go.”
The drug dealers shook his hand and said, “Damn, Hustice. You something else.”
“Chinatown” —Wild Nothing
Eagle Seagull “The Boy with a Serpent in His Heart”
The Women Could Not Be Trusted
Anni Rossi “Crushing Limbs”