Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties
From the New York City of Kline and De Kooning to the jazz era of New Orleans's French Quarter, to Ken Kesey's psychedelic California, Prime Green explores the 1960s in all its weird, innocent, turbulent, and fascinating glory. Building on personal vignettes from Robert Stone's travels across America, the legendary novelist offers not only a riveting and powerful memoir but also an unforgettable inside perspective on a unique moment in American history.
South of course was famous for its politicians. Like contemporary pols leading the struggle for values et cetera, the southern politicians knew there was no cause like a lost cause to keep the discontented voters in a state of offended outrage. “Big Easy” or whatever, New Orleans was a tough city for Yankees to ﬁnd jobs in. 46 robert stone It was also basically a poor one, especially dependent on the oil industry’s fortunes. The demonstrations against segregation had started in North Carolina
revulsion curl the thin lips of the tweedy, nice-looking people who seemed so large a percentage of the local population in those days. (Around 1960, a New York wit compared the ambience of San Francisco to being “stuck in an elevator in Lincoln Center.”) But it was sweet, a pearl necklace of a city, at once exotic and Yankee, restrained yet dazzling, possessed of a beauty that went on surprising. And it was charming, a word I could not then honestly employ, because it described qualities beyond
that the lunatic nightmares we fashioned had any direct connection with reality or, as it is sometimes called, truth. Anyway, this just in: —A beautiful young model, suffering an impacted wisdom tooth in this isolated desert community, was the victim of a ghastly muti134 robert stone lation yesterday. Overcome by periodontal pain while driving by Egg Drop, she called at the ofﬁce of the town dentist, Dr. Homer Creel. Rendering his patient unconscious, he proceeded to work his ghoulish
practically thirty. “What, for God’s sake?” prime green: remembering the sixties 145 “What?” she raised her voice and nearly shouted at me. “Put some pizzazz in it! That’s what! Put some pizzazz in it.” I felt like Raskolnikov contemplating the value of Kempskaya’s life, the scant reasons for enduring the old woman’s continued existence. “All right,” I said. “I’ll run it through again.” I kept my eyes on the paper in the roller. Clickety clack clack I go. After what seemed an hour, I had
the street at a velocity beyond our control. We had created a dreadful spectacle that unleashed chaos on the once pleasant street. The pensioners at the hotels were not happy with the awfulness unfolding, nor were Galen and I, who had totally lost control of the conveyance, which threatened to outrun us and carry our passenger off the adjoining cliffs and into the sharkinfested breakers below. And by far, it was the Zulu bearer himself who was least amused by this reversal; he clung to the side