« Pondering Along

Sale of Lennon's Manuscripts and Pics Brings Great Memory

by Mark Cartwright

Sotheby's Auction just sold a bunch of manuscripts and scribbles of John Lennon's. Being a fan, and having read the books "In His Own Write" and "A Spaniard in the Works" years ago, I went to the website, and began looking at them, all over again. So much was familiar. There were silly quotes that somehow invaded my vocabulary, even today, and I giggled once again reading "No Flies on Frank" and "The Fat Growth on Eric Hearble." Such nonsense, yet so... fun. You may think it's gibberish, however, I am very fond of these two books for one simple reason.

They allowed me to write my American Literature Term Paper on John Lennon.

It was 1981. I was a junior in High School, and our teacher, a rather attractive brunette, announced that we all needed to pick an American author to be the subject of our term paper. The term paper counted as a full third of our grade, so it was an important choice. Also, everyone had to choose a different author. The names were slowly taken. Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Salinger, Poe. One by one, my classmates shuffled up to her desk, uninspired at having to have to research an author. If they didn't have an author in mind, the teacher would pick one for them. Ugh. They looked like the walking dead. I could tell they were dreading the whole experience. When it came my turn, I walked up to her desk and said, "I want to do my paper on John Lennon, and the meaning of his lyrics on the Double Fantasy album."

(A slight pause and a quizzical look) "No." She said.

"Why not?"

"He wasn't American."

"He was an American citizen when he died." I argued.

"Well, he wasn't an author."

"Yes he was!" I insisted. "He wrote two books, "In His Own Write" and "Spaniard in the Works."

(She paused a few more moments. My classmates were starting to giggle and shake their heads at me and my silly request.)

"Okay." She said.

My classmates were aghast. Really!? They were stuck trying to find information on a guy named Faulkner, or Thoreau, and I got to write about John Lennon? They couldn't believe it.

So, every day for a month, I got to bring my John Lennon books to school as reference materials. Even better, the last two published interviews with John Lennon, which talked of the Double Fantasy album and much more, were in magazines, and therefore, I was allowed to bring them into class as well. Where were those interviews published? Playboy Magazine.

Oh, by the way. I got a B on my term paper.