John Lennon and the Mercy Street Café
Thursday was the 31st anniversary of John Lennon's murder. Not a day to be happy about. But it has become a nice day to honor the man for all the music and the ideas he left behind. I usually write something, but I didn't feel like it. For once, I wanted to read what other people had to say instead of spewing how I felt. How I feel is obvious: his death makes me mad, sad, heartbroken. Such a waste of a beautiful life.
While reading articles online, I found out about a book titled John Lennon and the Mercy Street Café. I read the sample and thought, "This is how I want to spend the rest of the evening." It was such a great concept. Instead of dying, John Lennon passes straight into a parallel reality where only a young Amy Parisi can see him. It draws her away from the suicidal thoughts she's been having, taking her on a trip that will challenge the ideals and ways in which she lives her life. She quits her job, ends an unhealthy relationship, and starts acting by intuition. She starts believing. And the more she allows herself to believe, the more her parallel reality comes to life, including her visions of John.
What is most striking about this book is the way author William Hammett utilizes the voice and presence of John Lennon as a catalyst for not only Amy's life, but the others who slowly become interwoven into the circle of real-life mysticism. He mixes true facts with fictionalized phrases that sound so much like John that I often found myself smiling and laughing as I read. Sometimes it didn't exactly sound like John, but it sounded like the John who was in the book and who had taken the journey, so it makes sense, and I really appreciated the way in which Mr. Hammett captured that.
It's hard to explain what this book is, and what it means. I am, of course, a huge Lennon fan. I knew all the facts peppered throughout the pages. But I kept asking myself if a non-Beatle, non-Lennon fan would enjoy reading it, and I think the answer is yes. John Lennon and the Mercy Street Café is about so much more than just a music idol, it is about something deeper. How we live our lives, how we let things slip, how we fail by allowing ourselves to accept instead of change, how we pass by our dreams because they're too 'dreamy,' how we allow our fellow humans to fade and die instead of shouting and fighting (do not go gentle into that good night). There were moments that I was so touched by what William Hammett was saying. Every character had a meaning, they weren't there just to accent the MC. He developed each person as if he truly cared about them as one would a child. And most importantly, he cared about those who would read the book, and how they would feel, and what they would come away with. It was truly touching.
I read in an interview where Mr. Hammett explained some of the synchronicity he experienced while writing John Lennon and the Mercy Street Café. Things like repeated names, and affirmations of scenes or details by way of strange phone calls or doctor's office magazines left open at just the right spot. I had a few moments of synchronicity while reading Mr. Hammett's book. One came when, near the end, crowds begin to gather in many of New York's parks and public places. Guardsmen and police come to break the crowds apart. It was eerily similar to what's happening today with the Occupy Movement. The sad thing is, William Hammett's police are a lot nicer than our real-life police. But anyway, reading those scenes gave me chills. Sometimes you wonder if an author knows the depth of what they are writing, and who it will affect. Or rather, how it could affect if people allowed themselves to be receptive. It's a message of hope. Hope Machine. I love that so much. Again, it's not just about John Lennon. There's so much about humanity in this book. Our potential. Our beauty.
My other moment of synchronicity came when someone hands the main character a note. I won't relay what it said, or the meaning it carried. But I felt a direct connection to my life.
Thanks for your beautiful book William Hammett. I read it in just a few days, and I'm going to read it again. And again.