So, here’s a matter for consideration: fame as a(n) il/legitimate path to literary success. (1) For research (believe it or not), I’ve started reading Bob Dylan’s autobiographical Chronicles: Volume 1. I think we can all agree that the man was and is a brilliant lyricist and performer, and that he’s done some pretty cool stuff with and within the tradition of folk music. But, based solely on the bit of the book I’ve gotten through so far, I’m not sure his literary work would have ever made it to the published light of day had he not already been super-famous and a seminal part of a time and movement. The judgment may, of course, be premature, but at this point, I’m not sure what to do with the man’s non-musical writing style. In a way, I imagine it’s what would happen if Hemingway were talking– not writing— at you: a sort of close-lipped and maybe grudging delivery of narrative that would make you uncertain that the guy really wanted to be speaking, or in your general vicinity at all.
Well: maybe it was something someone gave him the chance to do– and it’s not his first book, after all. It’s one of the few– maybe the only– times I’ve read a work by someone who reached stardom in a non-literary field before venturing into extended prose. Morrissey did try his hand at novel-writing before he turned into Mozza– and didn’t he put out a book on the New York Dolls?– so maybe he doesn’t count. Either way, I’m still yearning to read his description/justification of his own life. I’m not including Andy Warhol’s ridiculously lengthy and self-involved diary in this category, since he largely just dictated his thoughts every morning over the phone, which in my book, doesn’t qualify as any sort of planned narrative. And oddly enough, I’m at least somewhat interested in checking out the written stylings of Molly Ringwald, who’s coming to mind as a example of the sort of second-career author I’ve got in mind, and who, based on an interview I accidentally caught with her, seems to be a uniquely intellectual former child star.
I’m sure I’ll kick myself later for having forgotten entire obvious lists of people I should have included here; thoughts and suggestions are, as always, welcome.
(1) How was that for postmodern phrasing?!?!