Love, H: The Letters of Helene Dorn and Hettie Jones
Hettie Jones is the author of numerous books, including her memoir of the Beat scene How I Became Hettie Jones; the poetry collection Drive; and the young adult Big Star Fallin’ Mama: Five Women in Black Music. She has published in many newspapers and magazines, including the Village Voice, Global City Review, and Ploughshares. She currently teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at The New School, the 92nd Street Y, and the Lower Eastside Girls Club, and she previously taught at several colleges and universities in New York and elsewhere. Jones lives in New York City.
Helene and Hettie discuss a visit; Helene comments that they’re “both tired from different things” but delights in their “care across states.” Hettie works on a memoir for Alexander Smalls and teaches oversize class at Parsons, having self-described “Killer Days.” Helene offers very funny “Memo” listing her week’s accomplishments, addressed to “La Comandante Jones.” Hettie complains that previous agent, ICM, pocketed royalty money she was owed by Viking for Big Star. They discuss whether “getting on with your life” includes cleaning. Hettie goes to California, describes herself as being on the “B” list (“wife of”) which she later thinks is “moral decay,” that she needs to develop humility, suffers from “sin of pride.” Helene says “bullshit—that needle pricks” and asks “how many of us are Zen saints.” In San Francisco Hettie with Joyce meet Tillie Olsen. Hettie reads at MoMA with Ed Sanders. Helene dreads turning seventy.