…about the whole 40-year saga that includes Hollywood Elsewhere, which is now 16 and 1/2 years old… the whole exciting, up-and-down, anxiety-fraught journey of pain and glory, euphoria and dogged reporting, intrepid workaholism and, yes, spotty alcoholism until the dawn of sobriety on 3.20.12…the whole magilla, 40 miles (or was it 500 miles?) of alternating pavement and potholes.
I know that “life of an exceptional movie maniac” books only sell on the coasts, and only to film devotees at that. But I have the whole eccentric oddball thing to work with, and a pattern of having gotten into trouble from time to time. So there’s a little bit of a flirting-with-danger element, a spritz of of James Caan‘s character in The Gambler, that line of country. The brief career blow-ups would be so much fun to recall.
Plus four or five decades worth of great stories, not to mention all the angry, painful and lonely upbringing-in-a-suburban-gulag stuff plus the usual sex, movies, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll material that was par for the course among young lads in the ’70s and ’80s. It’s the charge, the bolt, the buzz…the sheer fuck off-ness of it all.
Every half-talented writer has at least one decent book in them. I’ve got a bountiful tale of lust and incaution, and I could weave in 30 years of reporting, reviews and trend pieces going back to ’91 or thereabouts. Plus fights with my father, getting held on a suspicion of murder beef in South Carolina, a nearly fatal wipeout in rural Wisconsin, throwing up while leaning out of a Chevy Impala on a quiet road in Southport, the Great LSD Boston Freakout and the discovery of “the fear”…all of it.
Would I buy a book like this (i.e., in the vein of Owen Gleiberman‘s excellent “Movie Freak” only with a slightly crazier arc)? Yeah, but I’m atypical. What about an Average Joe or Jane who watches one or two movies a month, if that, and occasionally reads celebrity bios and mostly gravitates toward fiction when he/she wanders into a book store? What about them?
Sales would most likely be modest, be honest, but I could at least dine out on the book once it’s finished and circulating. Plus yesterday I came up with a title that I know would pique the interest of the above-described consumer:
LAST HONEST ASSHOLE: Life of an Intemperate Hollywood Columnist.
I would pick that book up, for sure. So would quite a few others. The first three words would be meant ironically, of course — okay, irony plus a few slivers of truth. There would also be those (the David Polands, the wokesters) who would take it literally, and that’s fine.
It’s half-written already. Much of the work to come would just be enhancing, re-arranging, re-writing, re-editing and so on. Not a difficult effort.
There have been a ton of “my life as a savvy film maven” books, but this would have more of self-doubting, self-flagellating, “who am I really?”, life-is-short-and-hard-and-then-you-die quality mixed with torrents of film fanaticism and blah blah blah.
I don’t have to write this, but I could easily bang it out. And I’d certainly like to.