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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Paul Nelson, Scout

"Greil Marcus says Nelson asked a lot of each record he played: 'Would it raise the possibility that you could think differently, respond differently, feel differently about the dilemmas of love or money, success and failure? Was the singer telling you something that perhaps you didn't know, or was he or she flattering you that you already knew all you or anyone needed to know? He had a phrase in the late Seventies: "the rock wars." Music had barely begun to talk about loneliness, suicide, the toughness needed to say everything you had to say in the turn of a line or the way a melody broke. Paul's role? A scout, behind enemy lines, reporting back.'"
--From the Rolling Stone obituary


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cameron Crowe

When Cameron Crowe started writing for Rolling Stone in 1972 at the age of fifteen, Paul Nelson, thirty-six, was already old enough to be his very hip father. Though Crowe resided on the West Coast and Paul on the East, they came to have something more in common than just writing for the same magazine: their friendship with Lester Bangs.

Last week, Cameron, who went on to write and direct Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous (which recounted his early years at Rolling Stone), was kind enough to provide a blurb for Everything Is an Afterthought:

“Kevin Avery has done something heroic here. Avery has rescued the work and the passion, the life and the meaning of the great Paul Nelson. Nelson was a deep and beautiful writer, mysterious and painstaking and brilliant. Thanks to Avery and Everything Is an Afterthought, Paul Nelson’s work finally has a home. This wonderful writing is here for the faithful, and now forever available for new fans who’ll never forget him.”

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Press Releases

If you haven't already read Fantagraphics' and Continuum's press releases for my two upcoming books, now you can:

Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson

Conversations with Clint: Paul Nelson's Lost Interviews with Clint Eastwood, 1979-1983

And, as a bonus, here's the official fact sheet for Everything Is an Afterthought.

Read and enjoy.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011


Arguably one of the most enjoyable parts of the publishing process is receiving blurbs for your book. Aside from the contract with the publisher and notes from the editor, these mini-reviews are the first real responses you receive regarding your book's worthiness. And because blurbs (usually) come from individuals whose work you admire, they carry a lot of weight, both emotionally and intellectually.

Beginning with Neil Strauss, Everything Is an Afterthought's blurbers have been very kind. Though they're not all posted yet, you can check them out by clicking first on the book cover at and then on the "More Praise" link. Conversations with Clint has only one posted blurb thus far, from the great critic Andrew Sarris. To read it, simply click on the book cover and follow the "Praise for Clint" link.

Yesterday we received the book's second blurb. This one came from Paul Nelson's old friend, the singer-songwriter Elliott Murphy, who resides in Paris, France.

It's fitting that this book's first two blurbs should come from Sarris and Murphy. Paul idolized Sarris and often referred to his criticism (especially the book The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929 - 1968) in his own work. And in 1973, Paul discovered Murphy and tried to sign him to Mercury Records. His Rolling Stone reviews of Murphy's first two albums are the most glowing notices an artist could ever hope to receive.

Here's what Elliott had to say about Conversations with Clint:

"Paul Nelson was the first serious film aficionado who, way back in the early 70s, turned me on to the importance of Clint Eastwood as an actor, filmmaker and American icon. He showed me the S&W Magnum .44 he kept under a pile of sweaters in his closet. ‘Same as Dirty Harry,’ he said, explaining that if he was going to write about men with guns he had to know how it felt in his hand. We were both devoted to F. Scott Fitzgerald and hoping that Clint Eastwood would play Gatsby in the upcoming film, which, of course, he didn't.

"The repartee between these two straight shooters is more revealing of the inner workings of Hollywood and the creative process of Clint Eastwood than anything I've ever read before."

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Clint Eastwood Archive

Darren Allison over at The Clint Eastwood Archive has been a good friend to the Conversations with Clint project, first getting the word out about it last September, then again today. He even provides a plug for Everything Is an Afterthought. Thanks, Darren.