The Real Nature of Love:

In New York, I became friends with the

great underground cartoonists: R. Crumb, Trina Robbins,

Art Spiegelman, Kim Deitch and many others.

In 1968. as Art was having a nervous breakdown

(which he has often mentioned in his work) he and I fell

profoundly in love. We were seeking an infinite Truth and

awareness, and forgot to eat or sleep (a lot of Ritalin

was being consumed at his college at the time).

When he got out of the mental hospital, I rejoined him and

was spending the weekend with him when his mother killed herself

(I am the "Isabella" his parents didn't like, mentioned in Art's

Pulitzer Prize-winning book MAUS, A Survivor's Tale).  He and I

stayed together despite many difficulties and lived together in Brooklyn in the winter of 1968-9.  In the spring we joined a dark, controlling urban

commune in which the women had to serve coffee (and themselves) to

any man who demanded either-- in the nude.   Art and I were

separated and kept apart for a long time. Later that summer, the leader tried to take over Quarry Hill, my family's 140 acre farm in Vermont. And still, this is just a part of the story.

All this, and more,  happened to me.

When I reached my teens, my parents stopped traveling between Vermont and Florida twice a year to avoid the compulsory education laws, and opened a storefront (rented with my mother's last $75.00) in New York's then just-burgeoning East Village. They called the place The Gallery Gwen, and in its location at 74 E. 4th St. (off 2nd Ave.), my father, Irving Fiske, writer, playwright and "Forest Wizard," began to give talks on "Tantra, the Yoga of Sex."  Many who attended these popular talks came to Vermont to visit or to live with us-- and some stayed for many years, building homes and raising children.

What is it like to be the product of an experiment in human consciousness?

What happens when your parents admire and respect you--- and, in the strict 1950s, defend all kids from being spanked or scolded by their parents or anyone else?

What happens when you decide not to go to school and have to stay one jump ahead of the law to keep out of the hands of truant officers? When you grow up camped by

hidden railroad tracks, listening to the train blow away into the soft, slightly sticky Southern breeze?


Barbaraand William Fiske, Quarry Hill




Meeting again after 5 years...





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