Your Comfort Comic
There is a comic I reach for whenever I am feeling stressed, or when I just need a light, uplifting read. I have memories of sitting in the bathtub on more than one occasion with this book, letting the warm water and the warm narrative sooth me.
This book is Helyun: A Simple People by Chas Berlin. It is a strange story about a wild young man who lives in the woods of Arkansas. He claims to be a changeling who took the place of a local boy many years ago. The changeling replicated the boy’s appearance and grew up among us. For several years, he tried to fit in to rural society. He says, “…Ah even thought for the most part thet ah was one of the multitude, but ah was ju’ bein’ optimistic. Ah knew deep down thet people an’ me were like earl and water and no matter how much of a veneer ah spread on muhself, it ju’ wudnt no account ‘atall.”
The mysterious woods draw him back. He leaves behind his job, his shoes and his fiancee, Pixie. He roams the forests in rags, having adventures both supernatural and sociological, all the while philosophizing about the difference between civilization and his true nature.
I suppose the reason I like this book is that I too have that “earl and water” feeling sometimes. I long to chuck my shoes, wander into the wilderness and never look back.
Dialogue © Chas Berlin
Berlin, Chas. Helyun: A Simple People. San Jose: Slave Labor Books, 1990. Print.
Tomorrow: A Gorgeous Comic