Wednesday, October 18, 2006

In His Own Write

John Lennon's first book, "In His Own Write", was published on March 23, 1964. The book contained 26 drawings and 31 short stories and poems. These included No Flies On Frank, The Wrestling Dog, Treasure Ivan, I Sat Belonely and Deaf Ted, Danoota, (and me). The introduction was written by Paul McCartney and the cover was designed by Robert Freeman.

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A 1964 magazine article on "In His Own Write"

From "Teen World" magazine, December 1964

Here’s your chance to read the words of “The Chief”!!

Everyone knows that Beatles sing, that Beatles play musical instruments and that Beatles have millions of enthusiastic fans. Everyone also knows that one Beatle wrote a book – John Lennon!

The book, published by Simon and Schuster, is called “John Lennon In His Own Write”. We read it – and loved it! And we’d like to tell you all about it now.

In general, it’s a collection of short stories and poems, with illustrations also done by John. If you’ve ever made up words that really have no meaning except to you and your friends, you’ll recognise immediately what John’s doing. He’s “playing” with words, making up new words that sound like ones you already know. And by doing this, he can make the word mean more than one thing – and sound very funny!

We suggest that when you read the book, you read it aloud with a friend, taking turns reading it. The sound of the words help make it clever, witty – and absolutely hilarious!

Such stories as “No Flies On Frank”, “On Safairy With Whide Hunter” and “Nicely Nicely Clive” are funny without having hidden, deep meanings.

As Paul says in the introduction to the book, “None of it has to make sense and if it seems funny then that’s enough.”

And as John himself comments on the back cover, “My (and P, G, and R’s) records might seem funnier to some of you than this book…” But when we spoke to him on trans-Atlantic phone, he said, “Of course I write for my fans. After all, I am a Beatle! But I also write for myself because it gives me pleasure! And I write for the other boys in the group, too. They appreciate me, even if they don’t admit it. Oh, yes, Cynthia appreciates me too. I can’t speak for my son because he’s too young to read!”

After reading his book, we appreciate John – and we’re sure you will, too!

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See John read his poem "The Wrestling Dog" on the TV show "Not Only...But Also"

John Lennon talks about his new book on Ready Steady Go:



"Worth the attention of anyone who fears for the impoverishment of the English language and the British imagination." - The Times Literary Supplement, 1964

"Animals and freaks have comic dignity while adults look silly and too big, bending over and crawling. A double suggestion runs through the writing in both books: that adults are silly, they give children rubbish to read and expect them to like it; and left to themselves, adults are worse than children – they talk jabberwocky about politics and religion, and they believe what they say." - Michael Wood, New Society, 1968

"The first thing any literate person will notice on reading through John Lennon’s book is that it all comes out of one source, namely the later work of James Joyce. Not only the determination to communicate almost exclusively in puns, but the equally determined smutty, blasphemous and subversive tone are Joycean." - John Wain, New Republic, 1975

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