Thursday, February 28, 2008
When I went to see Ken Kesey talk in 1993, I never thought that I would find out years later that a friend of mi8ne from years before was sitting in the same room. We listened to Ken Kesey read from the book Sailor Song, and gave an exciting talk. He then cliosed out the talk, the reading, and walked the whole group of listenerts across the San Jose State campus.
He cr54ossed the campus while talking to all around him, that followed hi8m inn a lively procession, and landed in a more open venue, where ghe sat down, and started signi9ng books. I had a freshly purchased copy of Sailor Song, and he signed it. I wass still thinking about his appearance, this older man with tri colored bowling shoes, and a bag over his shoulder shaped like a swordfish.
Of course, I think how if only for a minute, I have gotten to jmeet writers I have enjoyed. I am not much for hero worship, but it is wonderful to meet the people that created books I have enjoyed so much. Having reread about Allen Ginsberg's controversy in the courts, and how it almost led to publisher and poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti to criminal indictment, I am thrilled when I get to meet people who are parts of the histories I celebrate. In think it fun to remember these meetings when you discover thast these people are not defined by one set of work, that many of them continue to grow and change.
The thrill is to see that many of these people remain interesdting decades after their initial fame , or infamy has faded.
Back in the nineteen seventies, Noam Chomsky stated that once you set an idea to study, like a thesis in college, it is important to know that few truths are lasting, eternal. Asd such, he said, if you aere teaching your thesis thirty years after completing it, then you have not grown. The ideas I have about so much in life, I know will change. I know that my only lasting goal is to remain teachable, and hope I can keep excited about my life.
As for Kesey, he died many years too young. Still, I was in our grocery store, stocking Nancy's yogurt in our refgrigerator. I looked at the label,, and noticed that it said, 'thanks from the Kesey family' and discovered that this thriving organic dairy is from Eugene, Oregon, the home city of Ken Kesey's ranch. Wild.
Thank you for reading.