It's incredible that it's been over two years since I wrote my review of the epic music/muse memoir Dandelion, because my love for its authoress, Catherine James, hasn't wavered a bit during that time. Her story is too wild, too dramatic, too epic to believe it all really happened to one person. When I think of Catherine James' life story, I think of a quote by Tom Clancy: "The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense." Fiction has to be rooted in some plain, identifiable commonness in order for an audience to connection. Memoirs by incredible women, like James - who embodies the word 'survivor' in every sense - or Pamela Des Barres, Marianne Faithfull, Chris O'Dell, Peggy Lipton, Bebe Buell, Pattie Boyd and the so many others run in the opposite direction. The stories and lives of these women are within the realm of the fantastical, the unbelievable, the jealousy-inducing beauty of a particular moment in music history.
While I certainly was not born into the family of a cruel socialite mother, a starlet aunt, and a cross-dressing father, I identify with the desire Catherine had to get out of her home environment and create something all her own. It wasn't the insistence of Bob Dylan or the hyper-creative atmosphere of Warhol's Silver Factory that inspires me to pursue something grander - like it was for Catherine - but I still connect with her story. I'm not alone in finding inspiration in Catherine - Jackson Browne wrote "Under the Falling Sky" for her, and John Mayall penned the tune "Miss James," not attempting to hide the identity of his muse. In an interview, Catherine said, "I have received several amazing letters from people who have wanted to relate their own extraordinary experiences. Many wrote that my book deeply inspired them."
I know I'm not alone in this and that there are a lot of people out there like me who have found someone's life story to offer wisdom and inspiration to welcome into their own lives.
Who are some of your personal heroes whose lives have inspired you in some way?
Title: from "Miss James" (John Mayall)