Years ago, I read a great novel by Christopher John Farley called My Favorite War. I lost track of him after that, but I’ve recently learned that he became the pop music critic at Time and, from there, an editor at the Wall Street Journal, and that he’s got a biography of Bob Marley pubbing this week called Before the Legend, which he agreed to tell us abouut.
Writing a novel requires you to look inside yourself. Writing a biography requires you to seek out others and convince them to look inside themselves, and Before the Legend presented the most difficult task I’ve ever faced as a writer.
Truth can be stranger, and harder, than fiction. Discovering just who Bob Marley really was required more than three years of research, investigation and writing. Degas once said, “One has to commit a painting the way one commits a crime.” Biography is the same way. Committing a biography is pressure-filled work, full of stealth and danger.
My biography had more than its share.
30 April 2006 | guest authors |
I never really understood
what he said
but every now and then
I find myself
barking with the dog
or helping out
in other little ways
25 April 2006 | poetry |