Column

The Reading Room

Writing about writing about music.

Henry writes about music and music books for ND, The Bluegrass Situation, Country Standard Time, Publishers Weekly, and more.

The Reading Room

Writing about writing about music.

Henry writes about music and music books for ND, The Bluegrass Situation, Country Standard Time, Publishers Weekly, and more.

Pamela Des Barres On Writing a Rockin' Memoir

Her advice sounds like Kerouac's approach with "spontaneous prose" but the big difference? I'd read Kerouac and have absolutely no interest in reading about PDB's conquests (but you did a nice job presenting it).  For the record I never saw Whitman's quill, but I once heard him speak to me late one evening. I thought it was a vision, then perhaps the drugs, then I realized it was simply Tom Russell's  "The Man from God Knows Where" playing in the other room.

As always Henry, an entertaining Reading Room...Des Barres taught one of these workshops right up the road from me in Fairmount, IN, which is best known as the hometown of James Dean (though I suppose honorable mention goes to Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield)...I read "I'm With the Band" a long time ago...I was surprised how much of it wasn't about sex (though quite a bit of it was)...it actually was, in retrospect, a better book about music and the music business than a lot of books that are supposed to be about music and the music business, and it was an entertaining read...I've not read anything else she's ever written, but I did almost head up to Fairmount just to see what the whole thing was about...probably should have...

I've also read "I'm With the Band" and found it honest and entertaining. But I was surprised by her teaching instructions since every writer whose advice I've read always preaches, "Revise, revise and revise some more." Kerouac was one exception who did seem to believe in first drafts, or so he claimed.

True enough...most writers do revise...and I get that...sharpens things...I suppose it depends on what you are trying to achieve...

That was a good synopsis of her book Dennis...it was honest and entertaining...

All I gotta say is first drafts served me very well through four years of college. And I had to write about way less interesting subjects than Pamela, so maybe I should be teaching creative (ish) writing.

And another thing, Hotwalker, The Man From God Knows Where, and The Rose of Roscrae are individually and collectively as creative as creative gets. Hickory Wind this!

And  in case you thought that was a gratuitous Gram reference, it decidedly was not.  Gram was on her list of friends.

Agreed.  I'm not sure I've ever read anything on Tom Russell in No Depression?  Maybe an album review? But certainly not the coverage he deserves!

I think you mean "friends". Wink wink nudge nudge.

   

I would say that Tom is among our greatest living songwriters and that you, sir, took a nuanced view of my comment about Pam and Gram.

Yes...he was...among her "friends" that is...

Say no more, say no more.

I just glanced over this article again Henry, even though I had read it before, I came out here expecting a new post as I always read your column...had to laugh, she should have added "don't listen" to all of her don'ts...you asked her to name 3 writers and she named 5...couldn't argue with the writers she picked though...King is good enough, but Miller, Whitman, Nin, Kerouac...those are must read...some of King probably is too...

She's certainly a likeable enough character...may have to give the new book a spin when she gets it done...can't wait to hear about her "spritual journey", given the content of the last paragraph of the interview...