Tuesday, November 18, 2008

RETURN OF BEN AND THE BEAST


In May of this year I wrote a blog about Ben Blanchard, my young, tall and handsome friend, who illustrated THE BEAST BEEZLEBUFO, a short poem I wrote about a giant devil frog whose remains were found in Africa. The poem was inspired by Joel, my “frogasieur” grandson, and Ben knew just the kind of pictures that would appeal to a boy Joel’s age. His whimsical illustrations perfectly carried out the devil frog theme.

This morning, Ben came over to visit while he sojourns with his mother a few days before departing again for Patagonia, AZ. I was able to tell him that Border Press now has the BEAST BEEZLEBUFO in a forward slot, and he can soon retire in Patagonia on royalties from sale of the book! As an artist, Ben can appreciate that bit of humor about exploding the book market.

Ben left Cajun Country in May to attend a course in Raw Food Preparation and Organic Gardening at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia and graduated from the course in August. He has since been practicing his food preparation in Phoenix and environs. After he spent a week back in Cajun Country, he was offered a job as a chef and gardener at The Tree of Life Center in Patagonia.

Ben stayed long enough for us to photograph him and to chat about sales for the little book we did together. As I wrote in a former blog, he’s the son of my good friend, Janet Faulk, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce here. I’ve known him for all of his 22 years, and he has been drawing and painting since he was in kindergarten. He has a deep interest in all things artistic and calls himself a Renegade Scholar and a “Roads Scholar” who likes to travel. Ben is an avid gardener, chef, and artist, and loves music and literature equally. “I’m uncontaminated by formal training,” he once told me. I love his free spirit.

Each time Ben visits, I’m inspired to do more projects with him, and this morning I got an “envee” (“strong urge” in Cajun lingo) to follow him to Patagonia, which he assured me is an ideal place for retirees. He knows my penchant for The West, particularly after I visited Sedona, AZ on two separate occasions for several months two years ago. At that time, I fell in love with red rock country. Patagonia is probably no more than three hours’ drive from Sedona!

I call Ben my “Renaissance Man,” and I’m glad to see he has decided not to re-locate back in bayou country where raw foods would not be as appreciated by those who love Cajun cuisine as those who are devotees of healthful food in the Far West.

THE BEAST BEEZLEBUFO may be “out there” before Christmas. Watch for it! Wonder what the weather is like in Arizona during December…hmmm…
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