Take me to the bridge
Author, storyteller, farmer, father and legendary hero Ken Kesey died last week of complications due to cancer. To say he was a hero of mine is to diminish in words the impact his life has had on me. For those of you unfamiliar with his stature, I suggest picking up Sometimes a Great Notion or One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. And for an outsider’s look in, the much-celebrated The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe is easy to find. Many agree that Ken was the bridge between the Beats and the hippies, while I have always believed that he was no less than a prophet, reporting on the impending heralds’ horns that he heard blaring in his head.
I once had the opportunity to interview Ken, and while his answers were obscure and purposely obfuscated in response to decades of public attention, his availability and wittiness were sharp as ever. Here then is a completely abbreviated transcript:
DNA: How does the Bible guide you?
KK: I got my orders from De Lawd decades ago. I have never questioned those orders or doubted that Authority. I march, tangle footed and toe stubby and sometimes blind as a peeled potato, but I march.
Was the ‘60s really a time where it felt like divine providence was intervening?
In the sixties MEATBALL fell. Everything was hit by MEATBALL. Everything and everybody. A lotta people won’t cop to it, but they were hit, nevertheless. Grace happens, like shit. You can’t do shit to make it happen, but you can learn to recognize it.
How do you approach writing, after having been such a hit at such a young age?
I try to be a warrior, like my heroes. And writing is just one blade on my Swiss Army samurai sword.