A Meditation On Seeds
Kurt Vonnegut a favorite author of mine once used the invented word “karass” in his novel “Cat’s Cradle” to describe a group of people linked in a cosmically significant manner, even when superficial linkages are not evident and with some amount of dry humor applied to this theory I often wonder both looking back and in the present tense if myself as a writer of this blog and it’s readers have shared a certain “karass” as much as I consider the readers of this blog as acquaintances I have never met. Some I know better than others. Perhaps this is more evident in the friendships that develop in our lives over time. A long time reader of this blog asked me within the confines of an e-mail why I did not insert more of myself as a person into the content, which I thought I had done by the act of writing it whereas he was asking about myself as a person.
And so with having this “karass” term stuck in my head lately I thought an exception was due and this post resulted as I am writing it for the sake of ( as always) entertaining myself and hopefully in doing so, entertain others as a recess from other more pertinent realities. I think of this term of karass as revealing to oneself as to the friends one finds in life, accidentally or otherwise says more about ourselves than we could summon as a self description.
1957 was the year of the Civil War Centennial and on the playground between lessons, the boys reenacted that conflagration armed with their imaginations as well as the marketed toys intended to foster this role playing. A Johnny Reb cannon that shot plastic cannonballs was one I recall amongst other props such as hats, swords and rifles to name a few. On the playground you were either in the Grey or Blue camp andmock battalions, generals and foot soldiers raced from one end of the playground to the other. I was in the Grey camp not having a clue what the Confederacy stood for, and my choice was driven by a tv show called “The Grey Ghost” whom I thought was cool. Yah! We would charge back and forth and kids would pretend to die. Any kid who did not participate was fodder for recruitment and this is when I first encountered Ed.
In the heat of these “battles” I ran up to Ed and asked “What side are you on!?”
Ed smirked and non plussed and calmly said “I am a conscientious objector.”
After the thrall of battle wore off, Keith and myself would wander around the playground and played a role of disinterested observers commenting on this or that. Keith like myself were round pegs to the square holes of childhood, Whether it was winter or summer, he wore a tattered brown parka, white tee shirt and baggy pants and when something interesting caught his eye, he would pantomime using a hand ranked cinema camera as if he were capturing all on film. Perhaps not surprisingly Keith became a homicide detective and subsequently died of a heart attack or so I heard.
In fourth grade I encountered Ed once again when our class was summoned to the lunch room where all the tables had been put away. We were told that Ed was directing a Shakespeare play.
I could not make heads or tales of the plot or what the dialog meant and swords were brandished, speeches given and costumes made out of sheets were all a part of this extravaganza. A school day anomaly if you will.
It was then in fifth grade our class was assigned to split up into teams and write an illustrated story and Ed and I were selected to be one of the teams and I soon discovered that Poe was a shared taste and we set off to write the most macabre story we could summon between us.
I soon discovered Ed was a fellow “artist” and we soon began going over to his house to collaborate on our horrific project with glee.
This project soon evolved into nearly weekly cartooning sessions where we would each work on a strip and then reveal each others work with the suitable goofy voices and theatrics that accompanied the characters. His main protagonist was Uncle Snort, an alcoholic host of a kiddy show whereas mine was an alien character who always failed at human disguises always finding himself in a jam. His name was Fungus “Smith”.
These days I spend an hour or so off and on writing a blog about the anomalous and when the rare moment of ambition beyond this hobby surfaces, I contribute magazine articles here and there, or by request, bang out contributions to surrealist anthologies.
And Ed? One of our past times in that small Midwest town was to walk along the railroad tracks that divided the empty grasslands and vanished into the horizons to talk of the atypical goofy things kids talk about. One of our imaginary creations was a railroad named after ourselves that would take us on adventures, exotic places, and the great unknown beyond the confines of what we knew. A life of wandering and exploration. These days I explore inner worlds and Ed is now Hobo Ed the proprietor of a coffee house and an advocate of third world development through a respect of the natural ecology, via his other profession as a blender and roaster of those beans grown there.
Art as life or life as an art creating this or that as living threads...