One thing that really surprised me during my education was English lessons. Surprising because way back in 1982 something occurred quite unexpectedly, our teacher went off menu with her book selections and instead we were treated to the weird mind opening experience of Trout Fishing In America by Richard Brautigan. A series of short stories mostly written during the summer of 1961 when the author went camping with his family in a ten year old Plymouth station wagon around the creeks and lakes of Idaho.
Up until this point I had been subjected to Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain etc. You get the picture yet here was a book bordering on anarchy. For a start it included sex and the whole text gave the feeling of an acid trip. With chapter titles like 'A Waldon Pond For Winos' and 'Another Method Of Maming Walnut Catsup' you knew this was no ordinary book to study. It went along with the teacher, a radical spirit that took us hand in hand through this weird and wonderful book, assembled by Brautigan from experiences, childhood memories and items he found on his trip that summer.
At the time I just thought it was a little odd and a tad racy but looking back I think I pulled a lot from the experience as it was the first time that I had read a book that did not confirm to having a story. It was just chapters of experiences and almost a revelation that it could be done.
Why am I telling you all this, well, I don't really know apart from one thing that occurred to me this morning as I flicked through the stories for the next set of releases. They are all unrelated but describe experiences, experiences taken from childhood memories and everyday items, its only when you put them all together that they make sense. Very similar to my memories of the book.
Which brings me to the next thing, I'm going a step further over the next two weeks. I'm taking one of the new limited editions which have been printed and the entire edition is coming back to the studio. I'm going to attempt to alter each one individually by painting in extra objects in oil paint, not the same objects over and over again but different objects in each one effectively making each one a little original so they are not being embellished more modified. The objects will be blended into the existing landscape and each will have its own reason to explain why the objects are in there. A big undertaking, it's seventy five to meticulously work on together, the idea is that individually they tell a page of a story, collectively they create a book.
Looks like I have my work cut out for a little while yet.