Each Thursday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.
John Lennon in Heaven: Crossing the Borderlines of Being
Publisher: Pan Publishing, Oregon
Discovered at: Thrift store
The Cover Promises: Pink-clouded adventures in heaven with the guy who sang “Imagine there’s no heaven.”
Author Linda Keen claims to gad barefoot through the dandelions with dead John Lennon. He’s her afterlife BFF, her “personal spirit guide,” and he can’t stop telling her how she’s very much like him, death and genius notwithstanding.
They’ll talk on and on about how tragedies on earth are no big thing since our souls learn from them, and then he’ll look at her with a Beatley twinkle and say “Well, dearie, you and I have a hell of a lot in common.”
Or: “I haven’t had a conversation like this since Huey Newton.”
Together, they amble through meadows and past Mystic Oceans, having adventures, dishing the secrets of creation and Beatledom. John complains that Yoko keeps throwing memorials for him, boasts about his past lives in Arthurian times, and then, after some 200 pages of tedious bullshit, passes bravely through an underground chamber in which their own corpses lay decaying in coffins.
There John Lennon meets an ancient man in white named Pendragon — as in “King Arthur” Pendragon.
Pendragon is so impressed by John and Linda’s moxie that he bestows upon the peace-loving Beatle an invisible sword made of light and I guess also advances him to level 8 and the Goblet of Fire.
The publishers tagged this edition of John Lennon in Heaven “Novel/Metaphysics,” and the back cover copy cannily makes no claims to truthfulness: “You’ll be so deeply engrossed with the world you see through John Lennon’s eyes, you’ll forget to ask the obvious question: ‘Is this real?'”
There’s no such ambiguity between the covers or on later editions. For Across the Universe With John Lennon, a more sensibly titled 1999 reprint, the word “novel” is stripped away entirely, and the back cover now exclaims “John Lennon lives! And not just in metaphor!”
Both editions make much of what must be least committed blurb in book jacket history:
“It doesn’t matter whether you consider this book to be fact or fantasy – those of us who love John Lennon will enjoy the story with the knowledge it was written with love.”
— Louise Harrison, Beatle Sister
Anyway, it turns out that Arcadia – the non-paradisaical Irish countryside of a heaven in which Lennon loiters – is something of a giant school in which billions of souls from across the universe learn how to make the most of their next “Expression,” or life. Since classroom size remains an issue even in the after the grave, the souls are grouped into “themes” and subdivisions, where they receive individual “theme evaluations.”
A noted proponent of hierarchical structures, Lennon explains further: “There’s about 500,000 in my Blue Ray theme, and 5,000 in my subdivision. My Green Wave topic has about 600, and my subdivision has seven.”
Yes, the afterlife has breakout sessions.
In other news:
Eventually, Keen is granted the rare opportunity to meet beneath a “Learning Tree” with John Lennon’s afterlife support group. It’s worth a roll call.
Their leader is a Greek philosopher named Archimedros. He returns papers they have written and insists on “a dash around the lake” before he leads their discussion of “the coming Eighth Cycle of Bloom.” Then, in a sort of she said/Shehe said, Keen and the Andromedan hash over the meaning of gender in outer space.
Anyway, let’s review.
Things John Lennon Believes In According to “God,” by John Lennon:
Things John Lennon Believes In According to John Lennon in Heaven, by Exploitative Dingbat Linda Keen:
In other news, the three best Beatles CDs are Revolver, A Hard Day’s Night, and Past Masters Volume II. There is no sense in arguing otherwise.
[The Crap Archivist lives in Kansas City, where he originates his on-line Studies for the Voice‘s sister paper, The Pitch.]