Growing up in the South during the 40s and 50s, coming of age and ‘coming out’ in the Alaskan Arctic during the 60s, maturing as an artist in the Pacific Northwest during the 70s and 80s, Galen Garwood’s SELL THE MONKEY is a fascinating memoir, one of humor and poignancy, swimming through generations of racism, homophobia, alcoholism, and uncertainty. It is an engaging chronicle of living and surviving in Ida’s World, his glamorous and talented mother, who played ragtime piano at Alaska’s legendary Malamute Saloon; it is a tale of monkeys, snakes, pigs, elephants, and insects; a story full of eccentric characters—Keoga the Snake Man, Dirty Earl, Greasy John, Mad Irene.
It’s about poets and painters, friends and lovers, art and sex, loss and discovery, and a life blessed by imagination.
Born and raised in Georgia, Galen Garwood has understood early on that life doesn’t just smile at us with her beauty. As a child, he’s experienced tragedy in the family with her mother’s survival of a shooting, lived through the challenges and shame of her elopement with Sam, and endured her errant ways, which eventually saw the young Galen and his siblings put into an orphanage. These are experiences that are powerful enough to leave a painful mark on the psyche of a young man. The reader follows his story as he and his siblings are ferried back to their mother, then their father, and then grandparents.
Galen’s story is characterized by tumultuous moments as he journeys through adolescence and struggles to get a job in a bar in Alaska and get himself through college. His quest to make sense of his life will take him across continents to Asia, where he’d make new friends and re-discover a fascinating love for art. The most powerful moment of his life would come when he freely accepts his homosexuality. The question the reader asks is: Can he finally come to grips with himself and fully reconcile with his past, taking full control of his destiny?
Sell The Monkey is a captivating story of family, love and abandonment, and man’s search for his identity. The story is told in clear and powerful prose, and the reader is pulled in from the very beginning by the ruthless honesty with which the narrator looks at his life. It’s a story that answers the question: What does it take to feel at home with one’s self?
I enjoyed the way the protagonist was developed throughout the narrative and how he grows from a victim to someone who can live life on his own terms, embracing art and determining how his work can be appreciated
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About the Author
In 1976 he won First Place in Painting at the Pacific Northwest Annual Exhibition and in 1979 he received the the Hassam, Speicher Award at the Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, New York. In 1995, his multimedia piece 'Adagio' won the Bronze Award at the International Multimedia Film Festival in Philadelphia, and in 1996 'Adagio'was included in the Venice Biennale's 'Xenograhia, Nomadic Wall' and again at 'Art Affair' in New York.
His film 'Cadmium Red Light received First Place for Narrative/Documentary at the Port Townsend International Film Festival in 2007 and his film 'Ed and Ed' received the First Place Award for Short Documentary for at DeReel Film Festival in Australia in 2008.
Along with American poet, Sam Hamill, he published Passport, paintings and poems, published by Broken Moon Press in 1987 and Mandala, monotypes and poems, an Homage to Morris Graves, Milkweed Editions,
In 2011, he published The One-Winged Body, a series of figurative photographs with poems by Peter Weltner, and the following year, again with Peter Weltner, Where Everything Is Water As Far As He Can See, Marrowstone Press.
In 2014 his Maenam (Water) series of photographs were published with poems by William O'Daly, Marvin Bell, Sam Hamill, James Broughton, Peter Weltner, Linda Gregg, Emily Warn, and Jeanne Morel, as MAENAM, of Water, Of Light, Marrowstone Press.
A selection from a new series of photographs, 'The Dream Sea,' is featured in The Road to Isla Negra, poems by William O'Daly, published by Folded Word Press in 2015.
Other images from 'The Dream Sea' are in a published collaboration with poet, Peter Weltner, entitled Water's Eye, Brick House Books, 2015.
Since 2002, he has been living in Northern Thailand.
Table of Contents
Chapter One JUMP 1
Chapter Two BLACKBERRIES AND BULLETS 7
Chapter Three TIDES OF FOLLY 15
Chapter Four 1302 GEORGE STREET 19
Chapter Five THE HOUSE IN THE WOODS 25
Chapter Six FRANCES 45
Chapter Seven MIGRATIONS 51
Chapter Eight SELL THE MONKEY 71
Chapter Nine CINNAMON SCREAMERS 91
Chapter Ten BUDDHA LUCK 101
Chapter Eleven BREAKOUT 113
Chapter Twelve BONFIRE 119
Chapter Thirteen BIG HAMBURGER 123
Chapter Fourteen A FOOT IN THE DOOR 137
Chapter Fifteen CADMIUM RED LIGHT 159
Chapter Sixteen DER KÖNIG VON CASSOULET 165
Chapter Seventeen WIZARD OF DIVINE MADNESS 171
Chapter Eighteen GRAVY PIE 175
Chapter Nineteen PASSPORT 183
Chapter Twenty ASHES AND ROSES 193
Chapter Twnety-one WHITE CROCODILE 203
Chapter Twenty-two WILD GEESE 207
Chapter Twenty-three THE SCENT OF GARDENIA 223
Chapter Twenty-four ELEPHANTS 231
Chapter Twenty-five THE DARK FALL 239
Chapter Twenty-six SLEEPING WITH MY BROTHER’S KILLER 253
Chapter Twenty-seven THE HEART’S SONATA 259