Last summer I had the chance to sit in a workshop with Amy Hempel discussing minimalism and Denis Johnson, among other writers. I remember folks in the workshop were quoting lines from Johnson’s work. Mine was this: “Sunset had two minutes to live.” And Amy Hempel’s was: “Folks walk around Beverly Hills with their head’s blown off with money.”
This summer finally had some time this week to get through the audiobook version of Jesus’ Son. Yes, I am a nerd and listen with ear buds and follow along in the book. I like to listen to Will Patton–who was a character in the film version of Jesus’ Son not too long ago by the way–reading Johnson’s work. What can I say about this achingly beautiful and minimalist book. I have to reread this book every year. Every few months actually. Johnson follows in the Salinger Zen style of illuminating character and place in so few words. I chase this in everything I work on.