Ithaca Blog

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Happy Birthday

As you might have noticed, Google noticed, and much of the world remembers, it seems, that today is John Lennon's birthday. He would have been 70.

Of course, he is noted for his music, his peace activism, and his energy and humor, all great. For us, though, one of the most important things about him was his writing.

Lennon wrote two books in the mid-1960s: "In His Own Write" and "A Spaniard in the Works." They were books of short comic vignettes, absurd and playful, with drawings. They showed influences of Lewis Carroll, James Thurber, and even James Joyce.

They were the first books I ever owned. I got them when I was 10 or so. I had to send away for them. Maybe there were bookstores in Manhattan that sold them, but there weren't in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

I treasured them, I guess. I enjoyed them and learned from them.

Lennon was a big inspiration to me. I started a newspaper at school in 6th grade because I knew he had.

I imagine his was better. I remember reading a weather forecast he wrote for it. "Today will be Muggy," he wrote. "Followed by Tuggy, Wuggy, Thuggy, and Fuggy."

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

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