Caverns and Voices
On 10 November 2001, Ken Kesey, one of contemporary America's most highly regarded writers, died. He will be remembered professionally for his writing, especially his novels, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Sometimes A Great Notion. Kesey will also be remembered as a liberal voice-usually of dissent-concerning popular American social, political and cultural issues. In 1989, while a graduate student at the University of Oregon, I was a part of an experimental writers' group, led by Kesey and resulting in the successful publishing of our book, Caverns. Kesey's novel approach to teaching the writing of a novel was based on his notion of group writing: everyone shared in the research, brainstorming, drafts and editing of the final manuscript in what became sort of a cut 'n paste and bend an' blend approach to achieving a full-length novel-from story board to bookshelf-in about eight months. It worked! For a brief time our group was a feature of interest on television, radio and in magazines. With Kesey's death, some members of the original group though it would be a fitting tribute to him if we detailed-in a second group project-the writing technique employed in Caverns and the legacy passed on from him to us. The present article came as a result of that idea, but after much reflection, I have found that now, more than 10 years after publication of Caverns, I strongly take issue with the concept of group writing, especially as in our project as envisioned and directed by Kesey. My repudiation of that writing process here intends in no way to diminish the respect I have for those with whom I worked on Caverns, nor in any way do I want to devalue the legacy of Ken Kesey as artist, nor his valuable gifts of insight and inspiration bequeathed to us as mentor, nor his kindness of heart as friend. And it is my deep regret that he had not lived long enough to contend the following thoughts.
大同工業大学紀要 39, 19-24, 2004-01