Friday, January 29, 2010

VW bug as... Denis Johnson's first car

I mentioned before that in a previous existence I was an editor/publisher of a small "cultural review" magazine called, Midnight Mind Magazine. Somewhere around early 2002, we put out our third issue, which was subtitled, "On the Road in America".

In that issue, we asked certain well-known authors to share memories of their first car. Sue Grafton, a VW bug owner, shared her memories, which I shared in a previous post.

Denis Johnson, one of my favorite authors, shared his memories with us. And it turns out that he was a bug owner as well. So, as printed in the third issue of Midnight Mind, here are Denis Johnson's first car memories:

The first car I owned was a Volkswagen Bug. This was around 1968 or 1969. It was a unit from the 50s. I remember you cranked up the heat by turning some kind of faucet handle that jutted from the floor. The car started out green, but I painted it blue one day with a couple cans of spray paint. It deteriiorated steadily until it had no brakes and both the steering wheel and hand brake could be removed with a flick of a wrist. Finally this guy, Marshall, one of my housemates, took it out and blew the engine. I was back in that town just last month and ran into Marshall, and we talked about the little VW, and he claimed he wasn't the one who blew the engine. It sat out in front of our house for a few weeks and then one day while I was taking a bath I looked out the window and saw the police hooking it up to a tow truck, and then they stole it.

-Denis Johnson, author of Jesus' Son, Seek and much more incredible writing.


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