Sunday, September 11, 2016

Featured Book: Cosmos Screen by Perry Kelly

Cosmos is a flower. Cosmos Screen is a patch of cosmos flowers observed at the age of five; iconic pleasant first memories for the author. It is from this screen that he relates the story of his life. It is also the screen beyond which he relates something of his ancestry.

The story follows the author from that cosmos screen in rural southern Alabama in 1930, through the Great Depression of the thirties, World War 11, his college years, then through his professional development as an artist educator, and describes his travels to forty-six countries.

Throughout all of this the author threads stories of his secret struggles to satisfy his sexual desires while maintaining the secret of his, and his older brother's, homosexual life. Religion, racism, homophobia and poverty are described as issues against which the author struggles along with the alienation that these issues develop for the author and for his brother. Intriguing stories told with analytical insight.

About the author:

The author is a retired university professor, who describes his struggles of life in a fundamentalist religious family, a homophobic and racist society, and rural southern poverty. He left home at the age of 18 and served three years in the United State Air Force. He attended the University of Hawaii, the University of Florida and George Peabody College of Education. He taught art and World Geography in junior and senior high school. He earned his doctor's degree in 1965 after which he became a university professor who obtained recognition as an acclaimed art educator. He is an artist, a photographer, a world traveler, an atheist and an advocate for racial and gay rights. He has lectured and exhibited in Denmark, Brazil and China. His travels have taken him to forty-six foreign countries with one trek along the Silk Route in the Gobi desert of China. He has enjoyed home stays in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Irkutsk, Russia as well as Kunming, China, Uzbekistan and Denmark. In this story, he relates the events of his life and examines them from an optimistic philosophical reference. His pain of having to live a secret life, his sexual explorations, his seeking companionship and love are described without blame. His family's economic struggles as a Southern sharecropper established a fear of poverty that permeates all other events. At the same time he credits effusively those who aided him or directed him on this journey. The Cosmos Screen is the backdrop against which he tells his story.


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