Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ken Kesey's Birthday

From Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of the novelist Ken Kesey, (books by this author) born in La Junta, California, in 1935. His parents were dairy farmers, and he liked to fish and hunt and swim. In high school and college, he was a star wrestler and football player. He married his high school sweetheart and he got accepted into the creative writing program at Stanford University. At Stanford, a friend told him that he should participate in a government-funded research project at a nearby hospital, and that they would like Kesey because he was an athlete. So he agreed, and he was given hallucinogenic drugs and asked to report their effects. These drugs included LSD, which was legal at the time. He also worked the night shift at the hospital in a mental ward, and sometimes he could still feel the effects of the drugs when he was working, and one night he had a vision of an Indian sweeping the floor. So he took his experiences with drugs and working in the mental ward, and he smoked peyote and sat down to write, and he wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962), narrated by a paranoid schizophrenic half-Indian who sweeps the floors of a mental hospital.

1 comment:

rondavis said...

Great post...great music....
Actually he was born in La Junta, Colorado, a small town on US Highway 50 in Southeast Colorado