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Grapefruit Hardcover – Special Edition, October 10, 2000
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About the Author
Best known as singer-songwriter for the legendary Beatles, John Lennon was born in Liverpool, England. In 1969, Lennon married Yoko Ono and the two formed the Plastic Ono Band. Lennon was killed by a deranged fan outside his apartment building in New York on December 8, 1980.
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Although this is a book of instructions, I will openly admit that I barely followed any of the instructions given in this book. I think Yoko Ono might appreciate that I didn't, taking it as a sign of individualism, of assertiveness, maybe even rebellion? I don't know. I think I may be talking out of my ass - excuse the language. But that's the effect that Yoko Ono has on you, really.
Some instructions were very simple: "Light a match and watch till it goes out"
Others were interesting: "Carry a bag of peas. Leave a pea wherever you go."
Others were impossible: "Fly."
Some instructions were creative: "Painting to be slept on. Hang it after sleeping on it for more than 100 nights."
And some were intimate: "Listen to each other's pulse by putting your ear on the other's stomach."
Some instructions your mind couldn't help but follow: "Think that snow is falling. Think that snow is falling everywhere all the time. When you talk with a person, think that snow is falling between you and on the person. Stop conversing when you think the person is covered by snow."
Then there were passages that were just beautiful thoughts:
"It's sad that the air is the only
thing we share.
No matter how close we get to each other,
there is always air between us.
It's also nice that we share the air.
No matter how far apart we are,
the air links us."
What beautiful poetry, and what a beautiful thought.
Then there's humor and satire:
"I wonder why men can get serious at all. They have this delicate long thing hanging outside their bodies, which goes up and down by its own will."
A gem of a book, definitely worth keeping around.
If you love Fluxus, Dada, and Surrealism, you will love this book. Imaginative little gems range from the Imppossible ("Drill a hole in the sky...") to the Possible ("Draw a map to get lost.") to the Inspirational ("Listen to the sound of the earth turning."). All her words are aimed toward touching the creativity of the thinking person and igniting the imagination.
If you don't get this book, you should read a bit about the Fluxus movement, Surrealism, and Dada before attempting it again. You do have to have a bit of background knowledge about art to understand why this is art and why it is important. If art doesn't make you think or feel, then it is not doing its job. (Even if it makes you angry that its called art--then it has succeeded in being art.)
As others here have mentioned, Ms. Ono was a very well off and respected artist long before her association with John Lennon. Admittedly, I didn't really understand her work until I attended her retrospective at the SFMOMA a few years ago and was completely inspired. Her work has a way of opening the mind unlike any other artist. It is important when engaging with her art to not be mentally closed off. Not always easy! But you can do it!
As a long time Beatles fan, I did originally hold some reservations about Ms. Ono, but the more I engaged with her work and learned about her, the more I have come to love and admire her. After all, how could I respect and admire John Lennon so much and not appreciate the person he loved so dearly and inspired his most beautiful work?