so about a year ago i moved to san francisco and got a job at manic d
press, where i copyedited your "lynnee's skool for boyz" piece,
and everything was going great, except i was drinking my face off, hating
on myself all the time, and generally doing the piece-of-shit-at-the-center-of-the-universe
stomp. i liked "skool for boyz," so i got myself a copy of
godspeed, and it rocked me. twice. the first time i read it, i'd take
it out back with me to hang out and smoke cigarettes with the dog and
the trash, and i would look at the stars and tell myself that it was
probably time to stop with all the fucked-upedness and self-destructiveness,
already. i would curl up around the book and cry for jim and for myself,
because i was going to be so lo-ho-ho-nely and unsuperhero-like without
alcohol, and i couldn't imagine that being any other way but sucky.
i finished godspeed in a couple days, and i kept drinking, but the book
stuck with me. san francisco felt blank to me when i first moved, and
jim sort of inscribed it for me. i'd be trying to get my bike to the
top of bernal heights, seeing little flashy lights in the corners of
my eyes, and i'd think about how jim went there, and what jim had to
say about the pleasures of being able to ride your bike up big hills
without wanting to kill yourself at the top. i'd walk past black & blue
tattoo, or the 500 club, and they would seem a little more benignly familiar.
and smaller stuff too- i'd get out of the shower and look at my face
in the cloudy mirror and remember how jim liked the way ally's makeup
looked all smudgy after she got wet, and even that would make me feel
i woke up after what i didn't realize then was my last night of drinking,
and thought about godspeed. and i kept thinking about godspeed, so i
read it again, and wouldn't you know, it's even better sober. thank you
for writing your ass off. thanks for articulating all this stuff about
punk and addiction and redemption that's so hard to hold onto when you're
stuck between the asshole you've become and the asshole you're scared
you're going to turn into. thanks for writing the book that's been like
a good friend to me since i moved to san francisco and everything changed.
i recommend it to everyone i'm close to, including my aa-zen-warrior
dad, who i'm sure will love godspeed if i can get him to put down larry
mcmurtry long enough. you're awesome.
the hard and the squishy,
to drop you a quick note to let you know how fucking awesome
'Godspeed' is (and was). As cheesy as this might sound, reading your book
helped me gather the balls (no pun intended) to finally come out to my
24. I guess being beaten and raped by my stepdad a few times made me want
shut up, huh? Heh.
I agonized over this for years, even attempted suicide...it
pretty shitty for awhile. You get the picture. Long story short: between
writing, punk rock, and the dumb luck that befell upon me when I met
my girl Taylor, I'm still here. Thanks for being who you are, SERIOUSLY.
Sorry if this is too weird....it feels like I know you, even though
I only wish I knew you.
XOXO. Take care. :P
Hey lynnee, I just wanted to finally write and tell you what I thought
your book. Damn. It was fucking amazing. Your writing reads like poetry.
story was wonderfully disturbing, sad, and funny. I think our generation
got it's own Stone Butch Blues. I am telling everyone to go buy and read
was well worth the wait!!!
Hi Lynn Breedlove,
I got your book as a Christmas present from my friend, Nikki in New York.
I just wanted to say that I finished it in three days nights because
I couldn't put it down. (I would have finished it in a day but I have
a kid to take care of.)I love Jim. She's so human and vunerable but
such a jackass sometimes too. It was great. I wish books had more characters
like that. Are you planning on making a sequel? Or another book?
I have to admit I was quite hesitant when Nikki told me she was going
to give me a dyke book for Christmas, but it was actually a good book.
i've read and re read your book and i just wanted to tell you that it's
probably my favorite book of all time. i just re purchased the book and
again, i can't put it down. reading this book made me want to be a bike
messenger. so....i bought a bike. i live near nashville, but not near
enough. i moved from indianapolis where the scenery is bland and flat
riding bikes is as uncomplicated as a dick and jane book. riding here
fucking struggle. there's too many damn hills here!!!! (but i still do
and get chased by the inbred mutt dogs everyday)
i'm at work actually, reading your book.......again.
anyhow....if you're ever in or around nashville, please play or read...anything!!!!
i hear you're working on a screenplay for godspeed.........fucking rock.
cheers, beers, and queers,
I just finished reading your book in 2 days. It blew me away in many
Congratulations and thanks! A lot.
I thought you did an amazing job of not only telling adventures and events
but also creating a person that evolves a lot, begins to see themselves
clearly and was totally charming even on the page.
I'm halfway through Godspeed, and I can't put it down! You are such a
fabulous writer - I can't stop telling Ellen how much she's gonna love
this book. Thank you so much for putting some of your art down on paper
- see you soon.
PS Just finished it last night, and I'm positively swept away with your
beautiful writing. I couldn't put it down, and I'm still in the book,
even though I'm through the first reading.
As promised, I'm sending you a summary of the comments of the
MWCA Club book group about your book. Our book group meeting was not
large that day, but we had a wide range of opinions (as usual), ranging
from one person who couldn't finish the book to others who thought it
The drug culture put off at least one member of our group, as did the
whole punk/hag culture. But of course you read a novel in part to experience
a different life than your own. Those of us who had heard you read had
a quicker grasp of the "voice." In my case, as a 30-year
urban bicyclist I was hooked on the first few pages and that connection
carried me through the parts some others had problems with.
we came to care about Jim, though that caring took awhile to develop.
Her occasional vulnerability made her humanness slowly emerge from the
hardness of her life. The caring kind of sneaks up on you, which made
it more powerful when the reader realized it. Subtlety is a characteristic
of the plot and character development, in interesting contrast to the
It's not clear whether that contrast is a stroke of genius or did it
obscure the plot. Opinions varied. Jim's underplayed transition in the
end from her quest for Ally's love to realizing that she was no longer
available - or desireable - was too subtle for some. For them it didn't
carry strongly enough through the middle of the book to show the movement
in Jim's attitude; they thought it was too much buried in details. There
was a slow part in the middle where the action was "too
much the same." And, when Jim finally realizes that Ally isn't Ally
anymore, that kind of got by some people.
Jim's repeated lapses and high-risk behavior with drugs were the places
where we suddenly realized how much we cared about her ("No, Jim,
don't do it!"). I was sure she'd discover she had AIDS or
Hep-C by the end. Many of us were also struck by Jim's vulnerability
in the boxcar. I was probably the only one who realized the bicycle-related
risks, which definitely set my teeth on edge.
We had some disagreement on the meaning of the ending (a good thing).
that Jim was finally taking control and responsibility of her own life,
moving away from the city, the drugs and Ally, and toward nature (the
ocean) and a simpler, cleaner existence. It signified hope. And she has
to work for it - going uphill. However, the risky light-crashing behavior
was also part of that "natural" high, introducing
doubt. It made me waver in my hope for her, but it was more realistic.
A person who changes direction is still moving through the same vicinity.
If she keeps moving, she may end up in a different place, eventually.
So we hope for Jim.
For the MWCA Club book group
Hi Lynnee - hey, I just wanted to say that "Godspeed" is one
of the best books I have ever read. In fact, as soon as I finished
reading it I started re-reading it and
am savoring every bit. Your writing is so clevah and just plain right
on. (sorry for lack of illiteration - trust me the love is there).
Unabashed fan letter first paragraph - I love 'Godspeed'. One of the
most exciting books I've read in ages. Haven't had that feeling
of loss when finishing a book so much for a long time.
Anyway... attempt at professional sounding second paragraph - is it coming
out in the UK? If so, I'd like to see if I can get a review of it in
somewhere, or maybe an interview if I could set up somewhere half-decent?
a few months ago my friend bean told me to read your book. finally, last
wednesday, i acquire 'godspeed' and read it continuously for five hours.[only
breaking for potato salad and tampon changes]
i read over two hundred pages. thursday - twenty / thirty pages.
i was at the point where i didn't want the book to finish [something
that happens to me anytime i read a book that i enjoy tremendously].
my plan was to read the last page and start over.
friday night came.
i went to a show.
i threw beer on my friends.
we shoved our hands down our pants and slapped each other in the face.
we stumble to my car.
and that is when i find out that some stupid cunt-rag crackhead robbed
me. they took stupid shit like my cd player and cds................but
the worst blow was that they took my bag. my bag that i carried my sketch
books, my icelandic phrase book, and 'godspeed' in.
i was thirty fucking pages away from finishing.
i have literary blue balls.
bean told me to write a review about 'godspeed' on amazon. but, i figured
i would write to you first. i'm not sure when i'll be able to get another
copy for her, and one for me [hopefully this weekend], but i wanted to
tell you that i thoroughly enjoy your novel. it's not everyday that i
sit for five hours, entranced in a novel. [usually it's only two or three].
-it made my eyebones hurt. in a good way.
thus is my short story.
filled with happiness, drama, sadness, and lack of satisfaction for my
and so, i thank you and bid you au revoir.
I just wanted to write to say that I just finished reading Godspeed,
which I finally found at a bookstore in Seattle this summer (Calgary,
Alberta doesn't seem to have it!), and that it was the most exciting
thing I've read in a while, and I freakin' loved it.It was totally legitimizing
and I wish there were more books like it in the world. I will now make
the mix tape to accompany the book and pass it around to all my friends,
making sure that they go out and buy their own copy to covet afterwords,
or at least make sure that they buy a Tribe 8 album to support you guys!
Oh, how I would love if your documentary came to Calgary somehow. I saw
Tribe 8 play here when I was 17 and it rocked my world. Awesome! Keep
Here's one of the "reviews" from the hole.com messageboard.
Written by a girl who calls herself nefarious_muse. Hope you enjoy it.
Will find the other(s) and send separately...Love, Gina
GODSPEED by lynn breedlove (tribe 8)
i think valencia recommended this to me and its fabulous. i've been
a fan of tribe 8 for years (for those who dont know they are the radest
hardcore punk dyke band you'll ever see, complete with strap-ons and
chainsaws in their live shows), and lynnee proves herself to not only
be a great frontwoman but an even radder story teller. this book
centers around jim, a junkie dyke who's in love with a stripper named
ally. jim's a bike messenger when she actually makes it to work and into
balls-to-the-wall hardcore living.
i love this book mostly because i know some of these people..smash is
obvious. etherteen if you read this its so stacey right? and ally is
anna joy from cypher in the snow. i also love all the san fran references
and the bike messenger stuff because i did that for awhile too (everyone
does who lives there i swear).
just read it i guess. its a page turner and will make you jumpy for
It used to be that William S. Burroughs and Ken Kesey wrote the best
books about drug use, and that the Beat poet kings had a lock on the
use of what Kerouac called "spontaneous bop prosody." Of course,
it also used to be true that novels about lesbians had to agitate for
or against the butch/femme ethic, while at the same time providing their
readers a lot of good vanilla sex. Thank the gods for "Godspeed," then,
in which we are introduced to Gentleman Jim, a punk rock-speed-freak-bike-messenger-boy-dyke
in love with a stripper. Jim is not interested in butch or femme, she's
more intrigued by boi/grrl, but her affection for the blood rush of a
hit of speed is the bestdrug fiction in a generation.
Authored by punk goddess Lynn Breedlove, founder of Tribe 8, "Godspeed" follows
Jim's efforts to win back the heart of her best girl, a stripper named
Ally. Some of the book's best writing has to do with Jim's noble heart,
but even better are the stretches describing her life as a bike messenger.
As much addicted to life at 40 mph on a bike with no brakes as she is
to the needle-borne highs of her drug, Jim does nothing slowly. "Godspeed" is
fueled with high-octane writing; it never slows down, instead choosing
to shoot up first and take names later. And because Jim is such a smart,
wickedly sweet protagonist, even the harsh parts are charming.
While Jim starts out as a bike messenger, a profession she misses when
she's doing other things, a large section of the novel is devoted to
Jim's life as a roadie for a punk band called Hostile Mucous. Hostile
Mucous is your basic everyday punk rock dyke band, touring from San Francisco
to New York by way of the Deep South, and the long road trip offers Jim
an excellent escape from her brokendown life in San Francisco. Jim makes
friends, picks up girls, and starts to clean up her act, all the while
trying to be as cool asthe members of the band itself. After buying a
stack of redneck bumperstickers so their van blends in, Jim and the band
discover that they feel even more alienated at a lesbian bar ("...guess
what. They're not dykes. They're LESBIANS! We're freaks. They DANCE!
We slam. They hate us, we hate them, we can't win") than
they do driving across the depths of Texas.
And it's not just in Texas that Jim's boyish antics raise hackles. Gender
is a huge issue throughout the book, even more prevalent than drugs.
Jim is a girl, technically, but calls herself a boy. Her friends
and associates are as androgynous as she is; like Max, who's a female-to-male
transsexual; or Esty, "the tallest, blondest, lingerie-draped tranny" Jim's
ever seen. With her friends, Jim "talks about being neither and
both, sisterhood and abandonment, no man's land, passing, and pronouns." There
are parts of the book in which Jim flashes back to her childhood,
and to her Marlene Dietrich-obsessed mother, and some of those bits are
heartbreaking, despite Jim's innate humor.
Make no mistake; this book is not for people looking for a gentle walk
in the park. It's a new queer masterwork, full of sex, drugs, and blistering
rock n' roll. Also, because Lynn Breedlove is such an icon in the punk
community, the use of the young punk dialect is true and steady, and
never comes off like a regular person trying to sound edgy. She's
a smart writer, fierce in her loyalty to her protagonist, and able to
line up any number of pop culture references without leaving a bad taste
in the reader's mouth. In Jim she has created a new type of hero, a newfangled
Salinger creation, half Holden Caulfield and half Franny Glass.
Mostly, though, "Godspeed" is about Jim's inability, or unwillingness,
to choose between drugs and the girl she loves. Sure, the reader can
commiserate with Ally, when she gets over sending Jim out for Chinese
food with a twenty, only to hear from her two days later when the high
wears off. Even better, though, we get to ride along with Jim while she
figures out what she needs from Ally, and more important, from herself.
wanted to let you know I've finished your book-- I had to read it in
between all of my reading for school. While I must say it was truly
disturbing, it was also some of the best writing I have read in a long
time. I hope you are proud of having written it!
...you must have all the goils at your feet!
It was great meeting you the other nite at Cody's. I enjoyed your reading
and Q&A session. Well worth the trip over the bridge. Have you ever
considered stand up?
Anyway, I hope the community opens up their hearts (and wallets) and
supports your work. What a treat for dykes to have their own Hunter S.
June issue Rachel Pepper
"The biggest literary surprise for me recently has been the discovery
that Lynn Breedlove of the notorious dyke punk band Tribe 8 is also a
novelist. Many years and road trips in the making, Godspeed (St. Martin1s
Press $24.95) is the story of Jim, a drug-addicted dyke bicycle messenger
living in San Francisco. When Jim loses her girlfriend to her addiction,
Godspeed becomes more than a simple girl-loses-girl tale. Awash in the
type of urban dyke language scarce in lesbian fiction, this novel will
take a place of honor alongside Eileen Myles and Michelle Tea on city
You’ll learn a lot about drugs and their
power over certain people in Godspeed. If you’ve done this trip,
fall into this novel and expect a nonstop rush till the last page. For
the uninitiated, welcome to the underbelly of lesbian society: strippers,
junkies, squatters, punkers, and thieves. But don’t think that
because you’re clean you’ll
remain unscathed by Godspeed. Breedlove’s gritty but gorgeous not
to mention funny tale will hook you till this book’s last pages.
While the plot per se is minimal, girl does drugs, loses girl, travels
cross-country to get clean, comes back, the odyssey is what counts, and
it’s recounted with all the vim and vigor you’d expect from
the lead singer of Tribe 8."
Godspeed the movie!!!! This is so exciting.
I know nothing about movie making, but would love to be involved in one
way or another. A cameo maybe? I play a mean "person in restaurant" or "older
riot grrl type walking in the background!" hahaha Are you gonna
be in it? I can't really
imagine anyone else as the lead. Well maybe Kristy McNichols....
well worth the cost
Every moment I wasn't pouring over this wonderful novel, I wanted to
makes you want to slap him upside the head and mother him with warm bowls
soup at the same time.
Hey my name's Raine and I just wanted to let you know that I thought
was completely mind-blowing. It was great my totally ultraconservative
picked my copy up one day and thirty minutes later he was like "You
put it down. I've never read a book with this style of writing. You're
right there." LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!! And Stacy and I really think
you need to COME TO HOUSTON!! I was talking to him and he was like "You
HAVE to read this." So I went and bought it and was hooked. Stacy
says he wants an autographed copy
and the other day we were saying how it would make a totally awesome
And I think it's so awesome that you're doing what you're passionate
about and I really hope you continue to have success w/ your writing & music.Oi!