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Genius

a real man, a real genius

               

  

                "Never had I met another individual so burning with their own nebulous fire as I did in Hans. I doubt that in all the epochs of all the worlds there never has been one such as he, and perhaps there never will again. You would have to merge the idiosyncratic characteristics of Nietzsche, John the Baptist, Daniel Boone, and Beethoven together to come close to the fiery stew of eccentricities this one specimen of mankind enveloped.

                Having left his German homeland in his early twenties with the sole intent to become a child of the earth and to “reclaim his rightful heritage”, as he put it, he bounced around Canada for a while and finally ended up the last place you’d expect to find a growling, fastidious, Teutonic intellectual- in the uncultured bush, one hundred kilometers by boat or plane from the nearest community.

                It was in that remote utopia that he hacked out a life for himself, building two exquisite cabins, a massive organic garden, chicken coop, goat house, and solarium complete with grapes, figs, lemons, and other geographically inexplicable delicacies.

                Over and above his carpentry and horticultural skills, he was a top-notch musician, playing every conceivable instrument with assured finesse; from raucous, Appalachian banjo tunes, to self-styled guitar solos, to Celtic recorder riffs, to piano adagios which made the Moonlight Sonata sound like a Russian fighting march.

                And there he was, in all the splendor of a crackpot, genius, hermit mystic, mad and fanatic and full of a life- which is as rare on this earth as the dinosaur- as I arrived to my delight and astonishment to find that such a one as he could exist in this world, at this time, in this way. I had stepped out of the twentieth century and right into middle earth, and Gandalf and Treebeard came out to greet me, and the comparatively inexperienced hobbit that I was at the time crossed his furry little toes and prayed that he was not dreaming.

               ...Hans and I quickly latched onto each other like two derelict prisoners in a sea of idiots. And there we clung together, grappling through the darkness of words for ways of understanding each other and our common lot, for ways of sharing in each other’s visions, for ways of saying- “Yes, brother, yes, it is all crazy and impossible, this life, and no one sees it like we see it, and you see it differently than I, and I differently than you, but damn it, not that differently, and at least we- two out of six billion- at least we know it is all mad and misunderstood and that there are realities running on behind the scene that would freeze the average man cold where he stands were he to get even the slightest glimpse of it.”

                Poor Hans was like a castaway who had been adrift even longer than I; a voice crying in the wilderness in a language that was no longer spoken, of a reality that had been long forgotten; a lost remnant of a lost race which was suddenly thrown upon the shore of my implausible world- a world in which I had begun to realize was far more tangled, far more psychically polluted, far more afoul with the stench of mankind’s sordid history of folly and blindness, and far more enmeshed in the hidden dream of the Gods who had forgotten they were dreaming than I ever could have imagined.

                But now I had met one who was calling them to account. One man, alone in the wilderness, raging like an awoken beast with the scent of divine blood on its nose. There was Hans, driven like an exiled Pharaoh, out into the bush, driven by an unknown force, with an unknown need, out into the wilds to vent and curse the heavens, and build himself a life and try to heal the rift he could no longer avoid seeing. ..."

 

Excerpted from IN, AND OF, by Jack Haas           

 

 

 

 

 

 

What the critics have said about Jack Haas' books:

 

"...very strongly recommended reading..." Midwest Book Review

"The Kerouac of the new millennium." Frank Wolf (author of Blind Bay)

"...inspires us to rediscover the mystery of ourselves..." Judine Slaughter (Express Yourself Books)

"...Read in awe." Benjamin Tucker (author of Roadeye)

"...groundbreaking..." Joanne Turner (The Messenger)

"...an embarrassment of riches..." George Fisk (author of A New Sense of Destiny)

"...poetic and stunning..." Nancy Jackson (Dog-Eared Book Reviews)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books by Jack Haas

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