MJ Usetobe, The Art of Crisis
It is with deep regret that I must inform you that due to the recent demise of MJ Usetobe, there will be no “Interview with Self: Part 2″. Although completed drafts were at the final edit stage the author, in extremis, made the surprising decision to halt final publication before obtaining permission [from a family source] to print certain contentious, and potentially litiginous, statements. Whilst successful in obtaining a full and corroborative response, its arrival was, sadly, dilatory. It was the decision, therefore, of this editor, with the agreement of the author’s executors, that the piece be withheld.
Almost without exception Usetobe’s offerings were visceral and ardent attacks upon those who sought to undermine his “judgement, autonomy and sanity”; he once mockingly described a draft copy to me as “imperfect and rough-hewn offerings, freshly calved from the black ice of my father’s heart”. That there were was a fault line, the demarcation of which deeply and indelibly scored his position relative to the main protagonists featured in many of his posts, that it grew with grinding, tectonic, inevitability to form a final unbridgeable divide, is an incontestable fact. However, despite the bitterness – palpable to the last – his final years in exile from those hostile to him were among the happiest and most peaceful of his life. He ‘fell asleep’ closely attended by his wife and children – always his happiest place.
In accordance with the author’s final wishes John McCrae’s short poem “In Flanders Fields” will close this body of work. A memorial service, attended by close family members and friends, was held in October this year.
In Flanders fields the poppies grow* Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. John McCrae, 1915 *[original pre-published]
SOTC, Nov. 2013