Adventures of another gringo who wanted to be a shaman. An interview with Nathan Horowitz, by Sylvia Petter


Adventures of another gringo who wanted to be a shaman

I was going to do a Q/A with Nathan Horowitz on his writing, but then I saw that everything I wanted to know was all there on his website at

I first met Nathan in Vienna at the open mic sessions at Café Kafka in 2006. I´ll never forget when he read a super “poem” which turned out to be nothing more or less than his Visa bill. This could have been the first hermit crab piece I had ever heard.

I lost touch with Nathan and then bumped into him here and there when he was teaching Business English at the University of Vienna. He was going to return to the US and his wife and daughter who I’d bump into at readings were soon to join him.

I found Nathan again online and he was kind enough to let us have a translation of a story by the prize-winning Ecuadorian writer, Abdón Ubidia, for our first issue of WordCity Monthly in September 2020.

Nathan is also working on a quadrilogy called Nighttime Daydreams.

He has published the first two volumes Gateway Mexico  and Bat Dreams.

Gateway Mexico includes in the middle of the book a magazine of literature and visual art by seventeen artists. Nathan describes it as “A travelogue, a coming-of-age story, a gritty philosophical reflection; a clear-eyed, passionate study of culture, nature, and the mind. With sex, drugs, violence, mental illness, tamales, and sensitive poetry, and, in this edition, an in-flight magazine containing literature and visual art by Sylvia Van Nooten, Matjames Metson, Evelyn Holloway, Yvonne Brewer, Faith Shearin, Martina Reisz Newberry, dawn zahra, Ronnie Niedermeyer, Dave Santander, Barbara Joan Tiger Bass, Tamara Miles, Jonathon Miller Weisberger, Jamie Clark Jones, Vassilis Galanos, and Raymond Soulard. “

About Gateway Mexico, the Austrian writer Wolfgang Ratz has written: “Nathan D. Horowitz’s Gateway Mexico has the fine subtitle Adventures of another gringo who wanted to be a shaman, which conveys well what the book is about, and also the mixture of seriousness and irony which makes the book very worth reading. The adventures of the youthful, naive, first-person narrator, who is also called Nathan and may well be more than just an alter ego of the author, lead us through Mexico and Ecuador, always in search of peyote and ayahuasca. His wondering, often self-doubting view, and his experiences with flora and fauna and with the indigenous communities where he seeks shamanistic experiences and healing from the pain of the world, shape the mood of this book, which recalls a little Carlos Castañeda, a little Wade Davis’ phenomenal ‘One River.’ Ciro Guerra’s film ‘The Embrace of the Serpent’ also comes to mind when reading.”

After Gateway Mexico, Bat Dreams is the second in the Nighttime Daydreams quadrilogy—in which, in the 1990s, far off the beaten path in Mexico and Ecuador, a young writer searches for healing and knowledge among indigenous people and alone in nature. In Bat Dreams, the narrator visits Secoya (Siekopai) territory in Ecuador for four weeks in 1994 and six weeks in 1995. The book contains sex, drugs, violence, mental illness, big tasty rodents, tame wild pigs, leaf-nosed bats, the language of hummingbirds, tiny sky people wearing crowns, and the armadillo that saved the world. With In-Flight Magazine, Vol. 2, featuring writing and visual art by Neeli Cherkovski, Lova Delis, Mark Fisher, Vassilis Galanos, Frederick A. Horowitz, Evelyn Holloway, Echem John, Elias Kasselas, Hillary Keel, Sam Knot, Matjames Metson, Tamara Miles, Jonathon Miller-Weisberger, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Stephen Nelson, Ronnie Niedermeyer, Juan Patricio Pilco Hipo, Martina Reisz Newberry, Peter Richards, Raymond Soulard, Jr., Sylvia Van Nooten, and Thomas Wang.

Audio episodes of Bat Dreams are also available: Introduction and Chapter One and  Chapter Two.

The incorporation of “In-Flight Magazines” in the first two Adventures of another gringo who wanted to be a shaman is a novel and inclusive approach to widen the reader’s experience.

The other two volumes are the works in progress Provisional Truths and Beyond Wahuya.

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Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Nathan D. Horowitz has a BA in English from Oberlin College and an MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts – Boston. After four years in Latin America, fifteen in Austria, and three in Kansas, he now lives with his wife and daughter in Baltimore, Maryland.

Sylvia Petter.fiction

Vienna born Australian Sylvia Petter trained as a translator in Vienna and Brussels.  Founding member of the Geneva Writers´ Group, she holds a PhD in Creative Writing from UNSW (2009). Her stories have appeared online and in print since 1995, notably in The European (UK), Thema (US), The Richmond ReviewEclecticaReading for Real series (Canada), the anthology, Valentine´s Day, Stories of Revenge (Duckworth, UK), on BBC World Service, as well as in several charity anthologies, and flash-fiction publications.Her latest book of short fiction, Geflimmer der Vergangenheit (Riva Verlag, Germany, 2014), includes 21 stories drawn from her English-language collections, The Past Present (IUMIX, UK, 2001), Back Burning (IP Australia, Best Fiction Award 2007), and Mercury Blobs (Raging Aardvark, Australia, 2013), and translated into German by Eberhard Hain, Chemnitz. She has led flash-fiction workshops in Vienna and Gascony, France. Writing as AstridL, several erotic stories appeared in anthologies in the US (Alyson Books) and the UK (Xcite) and subsequently in her collection of 17 erotic tales, Consuming the Muse, (Raging Aardvark, Australia, 2013.) In 2014, she organized in Vienna the 13th International Conference on the Short Story in English. In March 2020, her debut novel, All the Beautiful Liars was published as a Lightning Bolt eBook by Eye & Lightning Books, UK. In July, 2020, she served on the jury for English-language flash fiction for the Vienna Poetry School’s second literary magazine to be issued in October. Sylvia works part-time at the University of Vienna in education science, and blogs on her website at where there is more on her and her writing.

Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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