Denis Johnson still writing, anxiously

Aside from contributing lyrics to that One Ring Zero album I’ve mentioned (but haven’t heard), Denis Johnson (Jesus’ Son) has written some plays that are being performed in California, is working on others and is writing a novel, Tree of Smoke, “that takes place in the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and the United States between 1963 and 1983. He’s been working on the book since 1982.” (Via that Rakewell fellow.)

Johnson says he’s never able to evaluate his own work:

“It’s very difficult,” Johnson said in an e-mail. “I write something I think is great, and then some reviewer says horrible things. I’ve always operated in a state of anxious confusion about my own worth, my own abilities.”


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.