Author still guided by Denver’s voice
October 11, 2007
Linelle has an unusually tight relationship with the late John Denver. “Talks with John, 1997-2007” documents the conversations – through mediums, and in her own head – that the Aspenite has had with the singer since his death, 10 years ago today. Linelle, who goes by one name, has written a biography on Denver, “From John, with Love”; that book was adapted from her own fictional piece, “The Dream Hunger,” based on her psychic connection to Denver. Linelle claims membership in the Earth Keepers, the same spiritual group, focused on saving the planet and its inhabitants, which she says Denver belongs to.But Linelle’s connection to Denver wasn’t an instantaneous one nor has her role in writing about him been one she immediately embraced.When Linelle first laid eyes on Denver – “a skinny blond guy bopping around onstage” in a 1972 TV show – she thought him a phony and banished him from her thoughts. When she finally saw Denver in person, at a 1982 concert in Lake Tahoe, he wasn’t the attraction. In an effort to distract herself from horrific back spasms, Linelle bought tickets to the next available performance – it happened to be Denver. And she was entranced.
“I realized I could not consciously stop thinking about him,” said Linelle, whose occupations outside writing have included children’s librarian, housekeeper, child caretaker and her present job, office manager for Aspen Resort Accommodations. “In 1972 he wasn’t meant for me. In 1982 was when it happened. After the show, I had a dream. It was like a cry for help from John. But I thought, what kind of help could I offer him?” Her answer was to start writing poetry, then, in 1987, a novel about her psychic experiences with Denver. “He was like a switch that turned me on for writing,” said Linelle, whose previous big fascination had been with Ayn Rand – “not the philosophy, but the novels ‘We the Living’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged.’ I didn’t like ‘The Fountainhead.'”In 1994, Linelle decided she wanted to be closer, physically, to Denver. She moved to Aspen, “hoping someday I’d be a secretary or a go-fer. I thought there might be some way I could work for him or with him,” she said. It didn’t work out quite that way; Linelle’s actual contact with Denver, either in person or on the phone, totaled no more than 10 minutes. When Denver died in a plane crash in central California’s Monterey Bay, Linelle moved away from Aspen.”I couldn’t stand to be in the mountains without John here,” she said. “At least I thought he wasn’t here.”After Denver’s death, Linelle moved to Georgia and put aside her efforts to publish her novel. But she didn’t lay down her thoughts of the singer or her desire to write about him. In her walks through Atlanta, Linelle routinely passed a bookstore where a medium named Candace had set up shop. Once she earned enough money, she bought herself a session.
“I didn’t really have any topic in mind other than John,” she said. “I was devastated by his passing. I thought my life was over. I wanted to find out why I was so intrigued by him, so fascinated by him.”Instead of getting to the bottom of that mystery, Linelle received something equally satisfying – permission from Denver’s spirit, via Candace, to write his biography.”When I said, all I want to do is write his biography, the medium said, ‘You have his permission.’ And he said it instantly,” said Linelle. “She was completely blown away by the fact that he came through, because I wasn’t a member of his family.”The biography, “From John, with Love,” remains unpublished. (The title, which came to her in a Georgia restroom, has four words, each of four letters, a fact which she finds significant.) Linelle says, though she has Denver’s permission to publish the book, she has not been able to get permission from his family, and thus has been unable to get documents, including court records, that would be necessary for telling his story.
Instead, she has published “Talks with John,” which recounts revelations Denver has made, mostly through the medium Candace, about his problems with alcohol, his hopes for humanity, the afterlife, and the mutual connection he felt with Linelle.”I finally realized, I just wanted to tell my story,” she said, “my experiences with John on the psychic level over a period of 15 years. During that 15 years, I was trying to answer two questions: Why him? And why me?”Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org