The writing biz: Jimi Hendricks was a great… memoirist?

Jimi Hendrix is well-known as one of the most iconic songwriters and musicians of all time… but a great memoir writer? Yes! One could argue though, that he was a great unitended memoir writer. Despite this, I’m guessing he would have been proud of how well it turned out.

Starting At Zero is a bit like a patchwork quilt, yet instead of odd pieces of cloth the book was compiled from the diary entries of the legendary guitarist along with odd bits of interviews, song lyrics, letters, etc. Yes, my fellow writers, you will no doubt appreciate that he was an avid journal keeper.

When I picked up the book I assumed it would be about sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, and of course to a certain extent it is. I was completely floored though by how interesting and insightful Hendrix could be. KirkusReview.com probably said it best when they declared the book to be a “revelation of the restless, curious, creative, self-contradictory mind of a musical genius.”

Between reading the book and watching Hendrix in interviews I also noticed something about him that’s quite true of myself. I always find it far easier to express myself conherently through writing. In contrast, talking to people isn’t nearly as easy as I often trip over my words, say the wrong things and just sometimes seem to confuse people.

“I forget everything, even the pain”
(Hendrix about being onstage) Starting at Zero



“I’m sorry, am I mumbling? Tell me when I’m mumbling. Damn … I always mumble.”
– Rolling Stone Magazine
interview, November 1970 (https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Jimi_Hendrix)

Judging by the several interviews I’ve seen of Jimi Hendrix, I believe he much preferred to talk to people through his music, but his writing does a great job of this as well.

Also plain to see from interviews and his writing… he no doubt had a lot of mental anguish going on. I can certainly recognize and relate to that!!

Anyway, since great writers should always be great readers, this is definitly a book worth checking out! And now here are some parting lyrics from my favorite Hendrix song…

A broom is drearily sweeping
Up the broken pieces of yesterday’s life
Somewhere a queen is weeping
Somewhere a king has no wife
And the wind, it cries Mary

More posts for writers:
The writing biz: Who loves ya, baby?
Blogging bits: The Es of blogging success and the Matthew McConaughey-factor

9 comments

  1. You and Hendrix hardly are alone, JoAnn, in preferring the word written in prose and in lyrics to that which is spoken. In fact, I suspect most of your readers would join your merry band.

    What’s not to love about what’s penned or sung? By definition, words we find within are chosen, often with great care. They’re weighed, polished and selected specifically to enhance their neighbors. Almost as in assembling a mosaic.

    Spoken words, meanwhile, often are called up in haste and, as such, careen clumsily. In direct conversation, rapid-fire discourse is prioritized, leaving no time for contemplation. Wit, when it appears, usually is accidental.

    All hail the writer’s eloquence, though major, major props to those who make it work at the spoken level too. Inspiring and evocative in its rarity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Extremely well said. I suppose speech is just one glaring example of how our snap judgments and other fleeting and implusive thoughts can often be off-kilter for whatever reason.

      And you’re definitely right about people who love to write. Most of us have discovered the wonderful joy of being able to go back and edit before sending or publishing our written words. I’m sure all off us have suffered the negative consequences of saying things we later realize we didn’t mean or didn’t say right.

      That’s also the joy of owning a blog. You can always go back and change or delete stuff. I do it all the time, even with stuff I posted a year or two back.

      I have great admiration for people who can speak so eloquently, like Walter Cronkite.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Joann,
    I just want to let you know that I’m going to remove my blog for now. I need to work on other projects with my family. Maybe one day I’ll return. Thanks for being understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s