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John Cage: A Mycological Foray
presented by Jason Fulford
When my friend Lee Ellickson was 15 years old, he met John Cage. Lee had brought a blank sheet of staff paper, and asked him to sign it. Cage asked what he was going to do with it. Lee told him he would place the paper on the forest floor for a week, then retrieve it, with whatever marks nature had made. And then he would have an orchestra perform the piece. Cage smiled and signed the paper.

Unfortunately I never met John Cage, but I’m grateful to those who wrote down his words, or recorded them. He would tell students, “Education is of no value unless it continues throughout life.” By education, I think he meant looking at the world and listening closely, and being ready to change your mind. Cage said, “much can be learned about music by devoting oneself to the mushroom.” If you substitute the word photography for music, I think that statement still holds up. —Jason Fulford
— Charcoal Book Club members also recieve our exclusive edition Every Mushroom Is a Good Mushroom postcard set. The set includes recipes by John Cage alongside original artworks and texts from Cage and mushroom enthusiasts Isabelle Bucklow, Francesca Gavin, Jason Fulford, Polly Geller, Erik Kessels, Phyllis Ma, Katty Maurey, Michael Pollan, Thomas Sauvin (Beijing Silvermine), David Shrigley, Mike Slack, Alec Soth, Sissel Tolaas, Ester Vonplon, and Lars Wannop.
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