For a celebrity memoir, leading off with an anecdote about a lunch with Timothy Leary is a pretty good way to start.

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This article was published 6/5/2017 (1836 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

For a celebrity memoir, leading off with an anecdote about a lunch with Timothy Leary is a pretty good way to start.

In Infinite Tuesday, Michael Nesmith — former member of the Monkees, music producer and one of the fathers of MTV — writes deeply and critically about his fascinating professional life. And while he doesn’t sustain that initial momentum throughout, it is more honest and self-aware than most bios.

Nesmith grew up in Texas and was raised by his mother, a devout Christian Scientist and the inventor of liquid paper. After moving to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, he struggled to find his way. He began to play and sing folk music before being cast as the madcap guitarist of The Monkees.

He developed a theory that describes his behaviour during this time and afterwards, calling it "celebrity psychosis." He believes celebrity amplifies a person’s character flaws, making them act terribly and with entitlement.

"My days in L.A. passed in a nonstop terror ride of missed steps and missed cues, of social disgrace and ineptitude. The richer and more famous I got, the worse it got."

Nesmith bounces from story to story throughout the book, tying together ideas and concepts over the course of his life. However, he leaves large gaps throughout. He talks about his wives and his failings as a husband and father, but doesn’t even name his children. Considering how open and honest he is about his professional mistakes, it is a jarring omission.

The Monkees stopped recording together in 1971 and by the mid-1970s Nesmith was struggling. His career was in trouble, the bands he formed were not successful and he found himself living in Northern California seeking a more spiritual way of life. He went back to his roots, studying Christian Science with one of the movement’s most revered elders.

He began writing songs again, and recorded a track called Rio. He was asked to make a video recording of himself singing the song and, instead, created the first music video. Naturally, there had to be someplace to show these videos, and Nesmith is also credited as being one of the founders of the MTV concept.

After the death of his mother in 1980, Nesmith began producing movies and getting into video distribution just as the home-video market started to take off. He ended up in a five-year battle with PBS over a distribution deal gone bad before getting into virtual reality, achieving a patent for embedding real-time video in virtual environments.

The book really showcases his abilities to bring people together for what he calls "the band" — his words for a team on any given project. Nesmith’s ability to see across platforms, to bring music and video or words and virtual reality together is impressive. He thinks deeply, focusing on ideas and how they can bring people together to achieve their greatest potential.

Despite the uneven pacing and breaks in his story, Infinite Tuesday is an engaging look at a man who has survived his pop-star status to build a career based on innovative ideas.

Winnipeg writer Julie Kentner is a daydream believer, but not a homecoming queen.

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