After posting an anecdote involving Phil Spector and Doc Pomus, I came across Pomus' journals. A few gleanings from his peculiar street wisdom:
He was one of those white kids who heard the blues and got fucked up forever. He thought there was blues in the bottle and blues in the dope and so he drank too much and he stuck needles in his arm and burnt out his nostrils with cocaine and his soul never got a little black.
And he only got more fucked up. And his singing and playing got a great big "I" for superior imitation. And the white kids never knew the difference and they paid big money to hear him, and bought his records and idolized him and he hated them because he knew they knew nothing. They mistook his hatred for eccentricity and a famous blues singer said he was great because this was a way to get a gig for more money than a blues singer ever makes. And everybody was happy—the famous blues singer, the white junkie musician, and the audience.
Cause we're children, children lost in a world we never made, no matter how hard we try, we're gonna cry til we die, and never, never make the grade, cause we're children.
The important thing is to be the poet—not the famous poet—there are so many uncontrollable intangibles that make up recognition and success.
It's the life we choose that sets us up in the hierarchy of humans—that proves our courage and understanding and sensitivity. I'd rather be the worst poet than the best agent.
And a creative life is so much more important than a structured shadowed existence.
(Later)—Saroyan represents all that is noble and sad in life—the nobility in maintaining the poetry and the sadness in always feeling the inevitability of failure and death.
(Much later) —I'm not running a glue factory to patch up fragmented lives.
Gerry Goffin called me yesterday and apologized for "copping so many of my songs." I told him he was silly and I invited him over. He said he would bore me and every time I spoke he answered, "What did you say?"
Don't forget that people get into business because they like to make money. People play ball—because they like to play ball. People write songs cause they like to write songs—and it's always us against them. And somewhere along the line the businessperson loses perspective and thinks that he does everything and the ball player or the musician are like puppets on his string and he actually causes them to do their thing.
(Later)—Sometimes you're infuriated by some people's tactics. But maybe they're just aware of their limited equipment and are trying to make the most of it and then their way of doing it comes out so strange and rotten, but it's all they got. And they're trying to make the most of it no matter how rotten it gets—and you can't blame them for trying.
Kafka said a book must be an axe for the frozen sea in us.