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The Only Girl

Little, Brown and Company
Book jacket for The Only Girl

If you ever wondered what the early days of Rolling Stone magazine were like, if you've ever imagined the parties and the drugs and the craziness of it, Robin Green tells us it was all of that, "and more." Green has detailed it in her memoir "The Only Girl: My Life and Times on the Masthead of Rolling Stone."

In the book she describes how she became the first female writer for the magazine. She also provides plenty of details about the wild lifestyles led by writers and editors, including about editor's retreat in Big Sur. She wasn't invited as a writer and professional, but as one of the "wives and girlfriends," when she found herself driving up California's Route 1 late at night.

"I was with my editor boyfriend, and Hunter S. Thompson driving and Annie Liebowitz as passenger, Hunter with his bottle of Wild Turkey between his legs as he drove and a big bag of blue pills of mescaline on the console," says Green

She says they were all popping pills like candy, and Thompson was driving with the lights off, theorizing he would be able to see the lights of the cars coming. "We were all too high to think, well what if the other car has its lights off?"

They were killing time until the Esalen Hot Springs were open to the public. "We all went down into the cliffs, into the sulphur-smelling hot springs and everybody was there from the magazine, everybody naked and so we took off our clothes and got into the hot tubs. It was worth everything because it was so extraordinarily beautiful" says Green.

"Not all psychedelic trips are happy, but this one was really happy and it was just wonderful to be there with everyone and smiling and high with everyone, and in the hot tubs with everyone. There was nothing really sexy about it, we were just naked."

And then she says she remembers standing up and seeing migrating whales. "When mescaline, it slows everything down, so I could really see the whales come out of the water really slowly and then preposterously big and beautiful and black in the moonlight and then go headfirst and fluking down."

In this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Green about the good, bad and ugly of her career at Rolling Stone, as well as her career as a television writer for Northern Exposure and The Sopranos.

Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Katherine Perkins is IPR's Program Director for News and Talk