New Woody Guthrie novelPosted: February 5, 2013
A new Woody Guthrie novel, set in Pampa, Texas, has been uncovered and will be published by actor Johnny Depp’s new imprint, which he says will be devoted to worthy, hard-to-publish works. You can find good reviews and information on the book at the following sites:
Ttitled House of Earth, the novel takes a close up look at a couple engaged in a serious, sexual love affair who spend a lot of time arguing and making love. A theme is the main character’s belief in adobe construction methods as a way for the poor to have decent, quality homes.
Depp would make a good Woody in a movie (surely he’s working on that), and we need stories like Woody’s to be told. He spent a year or so in the Big Bend area of Texas and decades later produced a good novel set there based on some of his experiences, The Seeds of Man. This synopsis is an excerpt from moneyblows.blogspotcom:
Woody Guthrie’s Seeds of Man was inspired by a 1931 trip the author remembered…. or mis-remembered… in 1947-8. The novel wasn’t published until 1976.
By evidence of this rambling tome, Woody Guthrie wrote more about his 1931 trip to Big Bend, than about any other single topic. Although, that may be unfairly comparing songs to prose.
A visitor to the mysterious border wilderness known as Big Bend, where Seeds of Man is set, will not quickly grasp how formative was Guthrie’s own visit. He was an impressionable young man in 1931 whose travels thus far had been limited to Oklahoma and Texas. Woodrow Wilson Guthrie took his family gift of music and optimism farther than any Guthrie had before. It some ways, it could be said this magical trip started it all.
In 1941 he was part of the propaganda effort for the Coulee and Bonneville dams on the Columbia River. 26 ballads in 30 days, he had so much creativity coming out of him. His autobiographical novel Bound for Glory came in 1943. As he began to feel the curse of Huntington’s Disease in the late 1940’s, he typed like a madman on a novel he originally titled Study Butte,calling it “An Experience Lived and Dreamed,” the chronicle of a search to look for his family’s lost silver claim in the Christmas Mountains.
Study Butte is the name of a crossroads settlement in the Big Bend, near Terlingua, a stone’s throw from Mexico, which had an active mercury mine. It was very wild country at the time of Woody’s visit. Guthrie’s vision of America was inspired, and his themes were the same ones that get so little traction today, in spite of the bankers and big shots running roughshod over the governing system the same way today as they did during the Depression and the Dustbowl days.