Shepherd’s kid stories appear sprinkled throughout his radio career. There might be a kindergarten story told in the 1970s and a high school story told years earlier. Those that previously managed to appear in print are mostly found in his first two books of compilations in 1966 and 1971, individually self-contained as short stories that don’t conform to any special order in the book, though he referred to these groupings as “novels.” Yet, just as his army stories can be arranged into a rather rough and ready sequence to present an almost continuous, novel-length form, so his kid stories I’ve gathered here can be ordered into groupings, into a rough chronology according to phases of the life, not of “everyman,” but of “everykid.” We find in the stories, a portrayal of Shepherd’s fictional alter ego from early childhood toward adulthood, a coming-of-age opus which comprises a “novel.” Through his understanding of his experiences in these childhood stories, he will go forth as an adult into the world beyond Hammond, Indiana, recognizing his own wider possibilities. Maybe what we have here is truly a novel? Another bildungsroman?
What an extraordinary how-do-you-do! Here, waiting to be devoured is a banquet-full of stories. This book delivers courses in just about every one of the interests and enthusiasms that master chef-Shepherd cooked up individually over decades, and serves them neatly together from soup to nuts. Enjoy scarfing down every morsel while laughing yourself silly. Definitely a reader’s feeding frenzy.
My goodness, it’s almost as though ol‘ Shep planned it this way!
(Coming next=Kindergarten Part 1.)
WARJA LAVATER 2 of 2
SKETCH BOOK: THE DISOBEDIENT
For Me, This Book is Her Masterpiece
In addition to her many individual books composed with symbols in abstract shapes that tell the story nearly without words, she created a continuous history of the artist as a seeker, looking within oneself as well as acting in the exterior world (the culture of his/her time). This is also a “laporello” book with continuous images, page-to-page throughout, but the pages’ inner edges are bound at the spine. The story begins with black pages–a cave–then the eyes open and the history of art begins, with a short narrative, strung-out pathway, in French, English, and German continuing up to modern times, in several dozen pages.
Warja drew and inscribed my copy on the day we met at the Museum.
(Below is just a sampling. The white cover has somewhat discolored with time.)