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Drummer and founding member of
The Doors, renowned percussionist
and political activist John Densmore
is also an accomplished writer and
a creative force to be reckoned with.
Here he shares some of his most
poignant influences and inspirations.
ON MY NIGHTSTAND
JOSEPH ANTON—A MEMOIR
Some say this autobiography isn’t as brilliant as some of his fiction novels, but I
will run across a paragraph in this personal tale that I know I could never write
because I’m not a genius. I met Salman
and he said he felt it was too self-serving
to write a memoir in the first person. Instead, he writes, “He did
this… and he did that” in talking about himself. I have not one,
but two self-centered memoirs (Riders on the Storm and The
Doors Unhinged) in which I say, “I, I, I.” Oh well…like I said,
I’m not a genius.
I can grab this book, open it to any poem,
and immediately have to get out my han-
ky. The depths plummeted by this Pulit-
zer prize-winning poet instantly make me
weep. Poetry is the skeleton of our lan-
guage, and Mr. Kinnell has an ability to
fish deeper than the rest of us and pull up the essence of what it is
to be human. “Little Sleep’s Head Sprouting Hair in the Moon-
light,” is the story of a father picking up his daughter from her
crib after a nightmare. His inner dialogue speaks of the deepest
love there is: a parent for their child. He imagines her growing
up and hopes that she will, “Kiss the mouth which tells you,
here, here is the world.” As he places her back in the crib, the
ancestors come through, “In the light the moon sends back, I can
see in your eyes, the hand that waved once in my father’s eyes, a
tiny kite wobbling far up in the twilight of his last look, and the
angel of all mortal things lets go the string.” I told you…get your
hanky out. You’ll laugh, but mostly, you’ll need a bucket for all
the feelings that are unlocked.
NO ONE IS HERE EXCEPT
ALL OF US
This first novel by this young woman is
extremely unique. I say young because at
times she writes as if she is at least a hundred years old, her prose is so wise. The
setting is quite dark; the classic immigrant
tale of escaping oppression, but she somehow makes it thrilling
in its uplifting compassion.
An original and founding member of the The Doors, John Densmore co-wrote and
produced numerous gold and platinum albums and toured the United States,
Europe, and Japan. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
His 1991 autobiography, Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and the Doors,
was on the New York Times bestseller list. He has written numerous articles for
Rolling Stone, The Guardian, The Nation, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post
and the Utne Reader. His second memoir, The Doors Unhinged: Jim Morrison’s Legacy
Goes On Trial, was published in Spring, 2013.
PHOTO BY BOB STEVENS