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CREATIVE WRITING AT TEMPLE UNIVERSITY Spring 2011Some Myths About MFA Programs And Other Reflections<
By Joan Mellen
Dashiell Hammett Lecture
An Interview with Joan
Mellen - Oct. 4th, 2008
Allan Giles 911blogger.com
Joan Mellen, author of “A Farewell
To Justice: Jim Garrison,
POLITICS AND FILM
November 5, 2007
Celebrated author continues work with new biography of Jim Garrison.
Joan Mellen didn't think she would revisit Louisiana, particularly New Orleans, again any time soon, but with her publisher's strong interest in the early years of former Orleans Parish District Attorney Jim Garrison's life, Mellen found herself emerged in the sights and sounds of the Vieux Carre' -- even if only through her computer keyboard.
In 1997, a decade ago, Mellen began to write a biography of Jim Garrison with her goal to tell the story of her subject from cradle to grave, planning, of course, to devote a considerable portion of the book to Jim Garrison’s investigation into the Kennedy assassination --- and to why this man, alone of all public officials to this day, was able to bring before the bar of justice someone involved in the plot to assassinate President Kennedy.
Joan writes, " As I drove up and down the roads of Louisiana, I realized that I had to write as well about my own investigation and examine whether the documents released under the JFK Act confirmed Jim Garrison’s findings or rendered them irrelevant."
After seven years, a book of 1500 or so pages emerged. The exigencies of publishing are grim, and Jim Garrison remained a figure attacked and discredited still, forty years after he began his investigation. Circumstances permitted only a book about Garrison’s Kennedy work. That was “A Farewell To Justice” (2005), for which Mellen utilized about a third of the research she had done.
Since that publication, readers have asked me: what were Garrison’s motives? What kind of man was he? In the elliptical style of “A Farewell To Justice,” Mellen states, "I could not convey the complexities of the man, or the contradictions in his character. Nor could I establish the extraordinary single-mindedness and purpose with which Jim Garrison approached his attempt to discover what had happened to the President whom he so much admired."
Nor could she onsider whether the charges against him orchestrated by J. Edgar Hoover and others:
This volume takes the reader not to the end of Jim Garrison’s life, but to the moment when he declared that “nothing else matters” and devoted himself entirely to his Kennedy investigation.
In the process, Garrison sacrificed a promising political career, a sacrifice he embraced with no regrets. Like a conventional biography, this book opens on Garrison’s family history and childhood and takes him through his formative years, not least his witnessing the atrocities of Dachau concentration camp at the close of World War Two.
For Garrison, as he said later, this was a deeply influential moment. It holds an important place in what would be a life crowded with event. This impressive biography closes on Garrison in the fullness of his prime.
Published by JFK
Lancer Productions & Publications