What Davy Jones Had To Do With My Career

- by Eileen Dreyer

By now everybody knows. Davy Jones, the ‘cute one’ in the Monkees, is dead. And like many women of a certain age, it struck me hard. Harder than even George Harrison, who was my Beatle.

But then, when I began to think about it, I realized that Davy wasn’t just my first pretend boyfriend, that integral piece of a girl’s growth into womanhood. He was my first real inspiration in writing.

There’s a great Somerset Maugham quote. He said, “Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for fun, then you do it for a few close friends, and finally you do it for money.” Well, Davy was the transition between stage one and stage two of my writing progression.

Stage one began when I ran out of Nancy Drews at age 10, and realized that I could simply write my own. And, in a stroke of good luck, make them turn out the way I wanted them to.

I kept those stories close to the chest, escaping upstairs to my room when everybody was out playing ball so I could create my own world where people had to do what I told them to(yeah, I was still that young that I believed characters always behaved). I’m sure my mom thought I was a nascent serial killer. But I was creating a world bigger than my own, more exotic, more exciting. And it was just for me.

Inevitably, 8th grade happened, that awful time when everything in your life is changing, when (then, because we didn’t grow up so fast), peer pressure was at its worst and every budding girl felt isolated, alone, and unappreciated. And along came the Monkees.

It was natural, of course, that I’d fall for the androgynous boy singer. I went to their concert and screamed myself hoarse. I shared fan mags with my best friend Annie. And I found something in common with cool girls in my class, who were just as rabid about watching the show.

And then I had my second great revelation. I call it a variation on the Class Clown Rule. I realized that if I wrote stories starring not just me, but my classmates, and gave them not only adventures, but famous boyfriends, there would always be somebody looking for me in the morning to see what I’d written the night before. I wasn’t the prettiest, or the coolest, or the smartest, but in my own way, I would be popular, too.

Fortunately there were a lot of bands out then, so there were enough teen idols to go around. And, of course, I kept Davy to myself as in my spiral notebooks (that are still in a locked box in the basement), the group of us winged around the world solving crime (yeah, that did start early) and living the high life.

Even better, I began a movement. Other people began to write. We clandestinely passed stories around the class like government microfilm. We became an underground movement, sure the nuns wouldn’t understand our ardent passions. And as a bonus, I began to know the rush of sharing my creations with other people. It would take me quite a few years to have the guts and luck to reach the third stage of publishing, but the seeds were firmly planted in the days when I first walked into class to see a group of girls who couldn’t wait to see what I’d written. I was well and truly hooked.

So, thank you, Davy. Not just for being the nonthreatening fantasy that helped ease my way into the dangerous waters of my teenage years, or for being the kind of person who never tarnished my image of you as a sweet, funny, all-around nice guy. But for showing me what would make me happiest in my life, and helping me do it. I, for one, won’t ever forget you.

5 comments

  1. What a wonderful story

  2. Eileen,
    I love this confession! How great that you did something positive with your passion…and you know, everyone loved the Monkees, not just girls. My husband admitted that as a tween,
    he watched the show regularly the whole time it ran.
    Sujata

  3. Very sweet tribute, Eileen. I tweeted it and will post on Facebook. Brings back memories of the “wonder years.” I caught a number of their shows but was more into the Beattles.

  4. What wonderful memories. I used to get crushes on minor actors (Jock Gaynor or John Fraser, anyone?). When I wrote them a fan letter, I always received a personal reply and an autographed photo.

  5. Thanks, everybody. Yeah, it’s funny how you never consider what or who will be the impetus of making a move towards a career. Who knew it could be my first heartthrob?