Ken Kesey quotes

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Ken Kesey

Birthdate: 17. September 1935
Date of death: 10. November 2001
Other names: کن کیسی

Kenneth Elton Kesey was an American novelist, essayist, and countercultural figure. He considered himself a link between the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s.

Kesey was born in La Junta, Colorado, and grew up in Springfield, Oregon, graduating from the University of Oregon in 1957. He began writing One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1960 following the completion of a graduate fellowship in creative writing at Stanford University; the novel was an immediate commercial and critical success when published two years later. During this period, Kesey participated in government studies involving hallucinogenic drugs to supplement his income.Following the publication of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, he moved to nearby La Honda, California, and began hosting happenings with former colleagues from Stanford, miscellaneous bohemian and literary figures , and other friends collectively known as the Merry Pranksters; these parties, known as Acid Tests, integrated the consumption of LSD with multimedia performances. He mentored the Grateful Dead throughout their incipience and continued to exert a profound influence upon the group throughout their long career. Sometimes a Great Notion—an epic account of the vicissitudes of an Oregon logging family that aspired to the modernist grandeur of William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha saga—was a commercial success that polarized critics and readers upon its release in 1964, although Kesey regarded the novel as his magnum opus.In 1965, following an arrest for marijuana possession and subsequent faked suicide, Kesey was imprisoned for five months. Shortly thereafter, he returned home to the Willamette Valley and settled in Pleasant Hill, Oregon, where he maintained a secluded, family-oriented lifestyle for the rest of his life. In addition to teaching at the University of Oregon—an experience that culminated in Caverns , a collaborative novel written by Kesey and his graduate workshop students under the pseudonym of "O.U. Levon"—he continued to regularly contribute fiction and reportage to such publications as Esquire, Rolling Stone, Oui, Running, and The Whole Earth Catalog; various iterations of these pieces were collected in Kesey's Garage Sale and Demon Box .

Between 1974 and 1980, Kesey published six issues of Spit in the Ocean, a literary magazine that featured excerpts from an unfinished novel and contributions from such luminaries as Margo St. James, Kate Millett, Stewart Brand, Saul-Paul Sirag, Jack Sarfatti, Paul Krassner, and William S. Burroughs. After a third novel was released to lukewarm reviews in 1992, he reunited with the Merry Pranksters and began publishing works on the Internet until ill health curtailed his activities. Wikipedia

Works

„He knew you can't really be strong until you can see a funny side of things.“

—  Ken Kesey, book One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Variant: You can't really be strong until you can see a funny side to things.
Source: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

„Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.“

—  Ken Kesey, book One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Source: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962), Ch. 5
Context: Maybe not you, buddy, but the rest are even scared to open up and laugh. You know, that's the first thing that got me about this place, that there wasn't anybody laughing. I haven't heard a real laugh since I came through that door, do you know that? Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.

„I got high on psychedelics before I was ever drunk. I never smoked. Then LSD came by. And to me it was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened…“

—  Ken Kesey

Trip of a Lifetime (1999)
Context: I got high on psychedelics before I was ever drunk. I never smoked. Then LSD came by. And to me it was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened... And, of course, the best drugs ever were manufactured by the government.

„Leary can get a part of my mind that's kind of rusted shut grinding again, just by being around him and talking, 'cause that's where he works.“

—  Ken Kesey

As quoted in "Comes Spake the Cuckoo" the Far Gone interview (13 September 1992) http://www.intrepidtrips.com/kesey/fahey.html by Todd Brendan Fahey http://www.fargonebooks.com/bio.html
Context: Leary can get a part of my mind that's kind of rusted shut grinding again, just by being around him and talking, 'cause that's where he works. He knows that area of the mind and the brain, and he knows the difference between the two areas. He's a real master at getting your old wheel squeaking again. … When we first broke into that forbidden box in the other dimension, we knew that we had discovered something as surprising and powerful as the New World when Columbus came stumbling onto it. It is still largely unexplored and uncharted. People like Leary have done the best they can to chart it sort of underground, but the government and the powers do not want this world charted, because it threatens established powers. It always has.

„I'm so crazy I plan to vote for Eisenhower again this November.“

—  Ken Kesey, book One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Source: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962), Ch. 1
Context: Mr. Bibbit, you might warn this Mr. Harding that I'm so crazy I admit to voting for Eisenhower.
Bibbit! You tell Mr. McMurphy I'm so crazy I voted for Eisenhower twice!
And you tell Mr. Harding right back — he puts both hands on the table and leans down, his voice getting low — that I'm so crazy I plan to vote for Eisenhower again this November.

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„He's a real master at getting your old wheel squeaking again.“

—  Ken Kesey

As quoted in "Comes Spake the Cuckoo" the Far Gone interview (13 September 1992) http://www.intrepidtrips.com/kesey/fahey.html by Todd Brendan Fahey http://www.fargonebooks.com/bio.html
Context: Leary can get a part of my mind that's kind of rusted shut grinding again, just by being around him and talking, 'cause that's where he works. He knows that area of the mind and the brain, and he knows the difference between the two areas. He's a real master at getting your old wheel squeaking again. … When we first broke into that forbidden box in the other dimension, we knew that we had discovered something as surprising and powerful as the New World when Columbus came stumbling onto it. It is still largely unexplored and uncharted. People like Leary have done the best they can to chart it sort of underground, but the government and the powers do not want this world charted, because it threatens established powers. It always has.

„Doing magic, you not only have to be able to do a trick, you have to have a little story line to go with it. And writing is essentially a trick.“

—  Ken Kesey

Trip of a Lifetime (1999)
Context: What I always wanted to be was a magician... My real upbringing when I was a teenager was doing magic shows, all over the state, with my father and brothers. Doing magic, you not only have to be able to do a trick, you have to have a little story line to go with it. And writing is essentially a trick.

„She worked for the villain and believed in the villain, but she ain’t the villain.“

—  Ken Kesey

The Paris Review interview (1994)
Context: I was performing The Sea Lion in the Newport Performing Arts Center. Afterwards a white-haired old woman approached me and said, Hey, you remember me? I looked her over, and I knew I remembered her, but had no idea who she was. She said, Lois. It still didn’t click. She said, Lois Learned, Big Nurse, and I thought, Oh my God. She was a volunteer at Newport, long since retired from the nursing business. This was the nurse on the ward I worked on at the Menlo Park hospital. I didn’t know what to think and she didn’t either, but I was glad she came up to me. I felt there was a lesson in it, the same one I had tried to teach Hollywood. She’s not the villain. She might be the minion of the villain, but she’s really just a big old tough ex-army nurse who is trying to do the best she can according to the rules that she has been given. She worked for the villain and believed in the villain, but she ain’t the villain.

„Real warriors like William Burroughs or Leonard Cohen or Wallace Stevens examine the hollow as well as anybody; they get in there, look far into the dark, and yet come out with poetry.“

—  Ken Kesey

The Paris Review interview (1994)
Context: It’s the same old wilderness, just no longer up on that hill or around that bend or in the gully. It’s the fact that there is no more hill or gully, that the hollow is there and you’ve got to explore the hollow with faith. If you don’t have faith that there is something down there, pretty soon when you’re in the hollow, you begin to get scared and start shaking. That’s when you stop taking acid and start taking coke and drinking booze and start trying to fill the hollow with depressants and Valium. Real warriors like William Burroughs or Leonard Cohen or Wallace Stevens examine the hollow as well as anybody; they get in there, look far into the dark, and yet come out with poetry.

„Mr. Bibbit, you might warn this Mr. Harding that I'm so crazy I admit to voting for Eisenhower.“

—  Ken Kesey, book One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Source: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962), Ch. 1
Context: Mr. Bibbit, you might warn this Mr. Harding that I'm so crazy I admit to voting for Eisenhower.
Bibbit! You tell Mr. McMurphy I'm so crazy I voted for Eisenhower twice!
And you tell Mr. Harding right back — he puts both hands on the table and leans down, his voice getting low — that I'm so crazy I plan to vote for Eisenhower again this November.

„Melville took on the whole world, saw it all in a vision, and risked everything in prose that sings. You have a sense from the very beginning that Melville had a vision in his mind of what this book was going to look like, and he trusted himself to follow it through all the way.“

—  Ken Kesey

The Paris Review interview (1994)
Context: Kerouac had lots of class — stumbling drunk in the end, but read those last books. He never blames anybody else; he always blames himself. If there is a bad guy, it’s poor old drunk Jack, stumbling around. You never hear him railing at the government or railing at this or that. He likes trains, people, bums, cars. He just paints a wonderful picture of Norman Rockwell’s world. Of course it’s Norman Rockwell on a lot of dope.
Jack London had class. He wasn’t a very good writer, but he had tremendous class. And nobody had more class than Melville. To do what he did in Moby-Dick, to tell a story and to risk putting so much material into it. If you could weigh a book, I don’t know any book that would be more full. It’s more full than War and Peace or The Brothers Karamazov. It has Saint Elmo’s fire, and great whales, and grand arguments between heroes, and secret passions. It risks wandering far, far out into the globe. Melville took on the whole world, saw it all in a vision, and risked everything in prose that sings. You have a sense from the very beginning that Melville had a vision in his mind of what this book was going to look like, and he trusted himself to follow it through all the way.

„I like that saying of Thoreau’s that “in wildness is the preservation of the world.”“

—  Ken Kesey

Settlers on this continent from the beginning have been seeking that wilderness and its wildness. The explorers and pioneers were out on the edge, seeking that wildness because they could sense that in Europe everything had become locked tight with things. The things were owned by all the same people and all of the roads went in the same direction forever. When we got here there was a sense of possibility and new direction, and it had to do with wildness.
The Paris Review interview (1994)

„It’s the same old wilderness, just no longer up on that hill or around that bend or in the gully. It’s the fact that there is no more hill or gully, that the hollow is there and you’ve got to explore the hollow with faith.“

—  Ken Kesey

The Paris Review interview (1994)
Context: It’s the same old wilderness, just no longer up on that hill or around that bend or in the gully. It’s the fact that there is no more hill or gully, that the hollow is there and you’ve got to explore the hollow with faith. If you don’t have faith that there is something down there, pretty soon when you’re in the hollow, you begin to get scared and start shaking. That’s when you stop taking acid and start taking coke and drinking booze and start trying to fill the hollow with depressants and Valium. Real warriors like William Burroughs or Leonard Cohen or Wallace Stevens examine the hollow as well as anybody; they get in there, look far into the dark, and yet come out with poetry.

„When I see bad-looking bikers with black leather studs on their wrists hanging out at the Oregon Country Fair, I take it as a sign of health. No, I don’t want them hanging around, but trying to eliminate them all, arrest them all, legislate against them all — that’s evil.“

—  Ken Kesey

The Paris Review interview (1994)
Context: When I see bad-looking bikers with black leather studs on their wrists hanging out at the Oregon Country Fair, I take it as a sign of health. No, I don’t want them hanging around, but trying to eliminate them all, arrest them all, legislate against them all — that’s evil. I have asked feminists, If you could, would you eliminate all male chauvinist pigs? If you could come up with some kind of spray to spray in the air and do away with them, would you? Would you do away with all scorpions and rattlesnakes, mosquitoes? Mosquitoes are part of the ecosystem. So are male chauvinist pigs. You’ve got to fight them, but you don’t try to exterminate them. A purifying group or system that would eliminate them all — that would be an evil force. Anytime you have a force that comes along and says, We will eradicate these people, you have evil. Looking back in history, what has seemed the worst turns out not to be the worst.

„I'm not going to talk about that because I've never seen it, except in kids doing stuff that I don't know about and I'm not interested in… I've never taken crack and I've never taken ecstasy; none of us has. I don't want to take some strange drug and end up chewing my tongue for 12 hours.“

—  Ken Kesey

Trip of a Lifetime (1999)
Context: A TV crew came over 10 years or so ago, on the anniversary of the discovery of LSD, and those guys were trying to push me towards saying how bad it was. They wanted me to talk about the dark underbelly of the drug culture. And I said, I'm not going to talk about that because I've never seen it, except in kids doing stuff that I don't know about and I'm not interested in... I've never taken crack and I've never taken ecstasy; none of us has. I don't want to take some strange drug and end up chewing my tongue for 12 hours.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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