“. . . (The goose swells closer to us. I move my face inside the rubber poncho hood to see if the kid is watching. He ain’t even turned toward the goose. He’s turned looking at my face. And he’s grinning.) . . . then, just as the goose comes within range, I said, “Forget it.” “What?” Joby said. His jaw dropped a foot.”

                  Sometimes a Great Notion, Ken Kesey 1963

Artist Statement

Kesey creates a sense of place like few others.  I’ve lived in Colorado most of my life but have spent a few years in the Northwest.  Reading this book always takes me back there.  Back to the land of water, but not the calm introspective lakes.  It is a land of snarling, fighting, raging water.  I love the Northwest.  This book brings back the rain, the mold, the dampness.  The memories of the little towns, the bars, the cheap beer, the mist.  The whiskey shots and Rainier beer of the little town bars served us a refuge from the dampness.  The pig knuckles and eggs in purple vats on the bar tops bring back a time before the celebratory craft beer pubs of today with their gourmet taste plates.  Leland comes back from the East and his precarious and threatening Northwest is put up against his brother’s acceptance of the whims of nature.  This book jumps from character to character and gives a great back and forth sense between the family and other non-family interlopers.  It’s been foggy for weeks and the honking of the geese is driving everyone more crazy than normal.  Joe Ben has been waiting for a shot at a goose.  It appears and at the last moment Hank pulls him back.  All within the dynamics of the family.  The disappointment is real but he bounces back quickly – a theme that tends to repeat through this lovely onomatopoeic book.       November 2014


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