“Men of extraordinary genius and force of mind are far better as objects for distant admiration than as daily companions”, De Quincey once revealed of Wordsworth. The subject of this work is one such man. It was, on rare occasions of levity between us, an attempt at humor on his part to self-deprecate and claim he was afflicted by “leprosy of mind, microbial thought contracted socially having compromised his faculties”.
At once, incapable of profound intimacy all while possessing more compassion than anyone this humble author is likely to encounter again in his lifetime, he would often say “Damn your gods and heroes and endless fictions! There are no heroes, only men willing to do things others are not. This is merely a matter of the amplitude of one’s character where heroics, in the broadest sense, conceals ever lower grades of depravity, since men of moderation never wake slick from sweat with murder on their mind.”
I leave, dear reader, that determination to you.
As for myself, it is my imperative to prevent personal aberration or distortions from mottling the lens. My intent and hope is that you will be as little aware of my presence as you are of the thin glass pane between yourself and your device, television or the engineered wilderness out of doors, with the exclusion of this introductory note, naturally, through which I must employ the time honored tradition of endearing myself to you, dear friend (may I call you friend, friend?), that we may form a social contract by which I offer to lead you through unfamiliar lands and, in return, you offer to retreive me from the ledge should you find me dangling there.
My acquaintance with K (‘kah’), or “The Cosmonaught” as some have come to call him, is a lifetime hammered into a blade three years thin and I, the moth drawn by sheen and shimmer, have curiously survived the wing-clipped fate of others flitting too near his edge. Nevertheless, it would be false to assume K’s endorsement of this work or of its author. I admit to no authorization from or election by K to act in a capacity of chronicler, amanuensis, archivist, devotee, critic or student. Such mundanities never interloped our discussions. There simply wasn’t time.
The account that follows presents some of K’s own unpublished writing, fragments of dialogue recorded, a selection of archival images and, wherever necessary for coherence, my bald appraisal of his movements, interactions, preoccupations and state of mind during our years together.
It should further be noted that I consider myself and all writers to be criminals of the highest order – swindlers, confidence men and pickpockets, all. Through symbols and incantation we conjure demons that breach all mortal defenses and drive deep their venomous fangs. The effect is hypnotic and renders the reader ductile, his or her reality unceremoniously assailed and molested, possibly altered forever.
In what other circumstance would an unwitting victim willingly and warmly receive into their life, home, mind or heart so sinister a thing as myself? By way of comparison, I consider parenting (‘murder most foul’) and indoctrination (a waking purgatory), mere shades more heinous than that which I am just now committing to these pages.
Nevertheless, consider yourself apprised.