It's well known that Coleridge dreamed, word-for-word, his great poem ``Kublai Khan''—but not that William Styron wrote the opening paragraphs of Sophie's Choice after dreaming of a woman with tattooed numbers on her arm, or that Stephen King based the horrific Marston House of Salem's Lot on a dream he had as an eight-year-old. Here, Epel (host of a Berkeley-based radio show) presents commentary from 26 writers on how dreams have influenced their work and their lives. Though the commentary derives from interviews, Epel has edited out her questions and sewn the answers into smooth-flowing essays from the likes of Maya Angelou, Clive Barker, Elmore Leonard, Gloria Naylor, Reynolds Price, Anne Rice, Robert Stone, and Amy Tan—a remarkable number of whom keep close track (often in dream-journals) of the dreams from which they draw literary ideas or at least inspiration: John Barth says that once every four years or so, he enjoys a ``Charles-Dickens-scale dream,'' one ``with lots of complications and even subplots.'' And it's interesting to note that, perhaps in keeping with the intimacy of the dreaming that influences them, a number of these authors disavow word processors in favor of more intimate writing tools: Elmore Leonard writes in longhand and then transcribes using an Olympia manual typewriter, while Spalding Gray corrects his longhand again in longhand, with a red-ink pen. Full of surprising insights, these interview/essays make a genuine contribution to our understanding of the writing process. (Twenty-six b&w photos—not seen)
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)