Sunday, November 7, 2010
Composed - Rosanne Cash
I am a person grounded in reality. By that I mean I don't enjoy fantasy as much as reality (not as in reality shows however!) Of course, I love "The Wizard of Oz," but not "Lord of the Rings" so much. I don't read fantasy or science fiction, but I do love a good memoir or autobiography. If there is an article about a famous person I skip to the parts about their real life, not their accomplishments. I'm just interested in reading about how people live their lives.
I have read some horribly boring biographies and autobiographies filled with disconnected anecdotes and name-dropping. Some have left out any depth of feeling for their experiences which leaves you cold. Others are beautifully written - usually entirely written by the person, not with the help of another writer.
My two favorites so far have been Julie Andrews' "Home" and Jane Fonda's "My Life So Far." But this week I read another favorite - "Composed" by Rosanne Cash. I knew nothing about her, was not a fan, never heard her sing - but I'd heard OF her. I knew she was Johnny Cash's daughter.
I heard her being interviewed on NPR a couple months ago and found her eloquent and intelligent. She made me want to read her writing and I was not disappointed. She had wanted to be a writer early in life and she definitely is a writer - an excellent one. The memoir flowed with such beauty and grace, even if she was describing mistakes or painful emotions it was never pitiful or difficult to read. The beginning of the book has little about her famous father as she tells of her youthful urgency to forge her own life. Only later, when she writes of her parents does all of it fit together. What she writes about her father is truthful and touching, and she even includes the beautiful eulogies she composed for him, her mother and stepmother June Carter. But the memoir is most definitely hers.
Now I am listening to her songs and her passionate lyrics. We are only 6 months apart in age and the years of her marriages and children were happening at much the same time as mine, but beyond that it is just a beautifully written memoir I would recommend to any reality-loving, memoir-loving readers.
Here's a excerpt - I couldn't agree more:
We all need art and music like we need blood and oxygen. The more exploitative, numbing and assaulting popular culture becomes, the more we need the truth of a beautifully phrased song, dredged from a real person's depth of experience, delivered in an honest voice;the more we need the simplicity of paint on canvas, or the arc of a lonely body in the air, or the photographers's unflinching eye. Art, in the larger sense, is the lifeline to which I cling in a confusing, unfair, sometimes dehumanizing world.