John Lennon - Writing and Art

Writing and Art

Beatles' biographer Bill Harry writes that Lennon began drawing and writing creatively at an early age with the encouragement of his uncle. He collected his stories, poetry, cartoons and caricatures in a Quarry Bank High School exercise book that he called the Daily Howl. The drawings were often of crippled people, and the writings satirical, and throughout the book was an abundance of wordplay. According to classmate Bill Turner, Lennon created the Daily Howl to amuse his best friend and later Quarrymen band mate, Pete Shotton, to whom he would show his work before he let anyone else see it. Turner said that Lennon "had an obsession for Wigan Pier. It kept cropping up", and in Lennon's story A Carrot in a Potato Mine, "the mine was at the end of Wigan Pier." Turner described how one of Lennon's cartoons depicted a bus stop sign annotated with the question, "Why?". Above was a flying pancake, and below, "a blind man wearing glasses leading along a blind dog—also wearing glasses".

Lennon's love of wordplay and nonsense with a twist found a wider audience when he was 24. Harry writes that In His Own Write (1964) was published after "Some journalist who was hanging around The Beatles came to me and I ended up showing him the stuff. They said, 'Write a book' and that's how the first one came about". Like the Daily Howl it contained a mix of formats including short stories, poetry, plays and drawings. One story, "Good Dog Nigel", tells the tale of "a happy dog, urinating on a lamp post, barking, wagging his tail—until he suddenly hears a message that he will be killed at three o'clock". The Times Literary Supplement considered the poems and stories "remarkable ... also very funny ... the nonsense runs on, words and images prompting one another in a chain of pure fantasy". Book Week reported, "This is nonsense writing, but one has only to review the literature of nonsense to see how well Lennon has brought it off. While some of his homonyms are gratuitous word play, many others have not only double meaning but a double edge." Lennon was not only surprised by the positive reception, but that the book was reviewed at all, and suggested that readers "took the book more seriously than I did myself. It just began as a laugh for me".

In combination with A Spaniard in the Works (1965), In His Own Write formed the basis of the stage play The John Lennon Play: In His Own Write, co-adapted by Victor Spinetti and Adrienne Kennedy. After negotiations between Lennon, Spinetti and the artistic director of the National Theatre, Sir Laurence Olivier, the play opened at the Old Vic in 1968. Lennon and Ono attended the opening night performance, their second public appearance together to date. After Lennon's death, further works were published, including Skywriting by Word of Mouth (1986); Ai: Japan Through John Lennon's Eyes: A Personal Sketchbook (1992), with Lennon's illustrations of the definitions of Japanese words; and Real Love: The Drawings for Sean (1999). The Beatles Anthology (2000) also presented examples of his writings and drawings.

Read more about this topic:  John Lennon

Other articles related to "writing, art, writings, writing and art":

Bliss Carman - Writing - Later Work
... Much of Carman's writing in poetry and prose during the decade preceding World War I is as repetitive as the title of Echoes from Vagabondia (1912) intimates" says ... the sweet sadness of age rehearsing old tunes with an art which is now very smooth though with less vivacity than it used to have.'" ...
Double Indemnity (film) - Production - Writing
... we did The Lost Weekend, a depressing film about a writer who has trouble writing." Lost Weekend was a distinguished offspring for the reconciled couple — they left Oscar night with three Awards Best Picture for ...
History of Writing - Dacia (Romania)
... The origin and the timing of the writings are widely disputed, because there are no precise evidence in situ, the slabs cannot be carbon dated, because of the bad treatment of ... presence of influences of Greek, Phoenician and Etruscan in the writings, make it unlikely that they date from this period ...
Blake Schwarzenbach - Non-musical Activities - Writing and Art
... Samantha Gillison commented on Blake literary and artistic endeavors in City Pages “...his writing has expanded beyond lyrics and liner notes ...
Shane Briant - Writing and Art
... the Lotus (2001) and Graphic (2005), and has had exhibitions of his art works hung in Sydney ...

Famous quotes containing the words art and/or writing:

    We’re made so that we love
    First when we see them painted, things we have passed
    Perhaps a hundred times nor cared to see;
    And so they are better, painted—better to us,
    Which is the same thing. Art was given for that;
    God uses us to help each other so,
    Robert Browning (1812–1889)

    It wasn’t by accident that the Gettysburg address was so short. The laws of prose writing are as immutable as those of flight, of mathematics, of physics.
    Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961)