Today is the day that I stare into the narcolepsy-inducing abyss of needing to re-write my book. The main reason is simply because the next phase will me more laborious than the actual creative process– and this has to do with the nature of fiction, continuity, and logic.
Mark Twain once said “Tell the truth, and you don’t have to remember anything.” And in this case, despite the fact that the fiction emanating from my dome isn’t some Oceans Eleven-level of nefariousness, it can–and will–be a great story of redemptive value.
However, No matter how you want to constitute, categorize, rationalize simonize– a fictional story is a big, fat, embroidered, zeppelin-grade lie. So in order to make the story have any value, the lie must me calibrated and adjusted for holes.
That isn’t to say that everything I’ve done has any redeeming value, because some of my exploits have had just the opposite effect. I have at times, been a carping, garrulous troll with nothing better to do than test the psychological limits of the HR departments around the country.
Some time in the 1990s, I cam across a book called The Lazlo Letters, a series of letters written to notables, CEOs, governmental principalities and movie stars. I read it in the bookstore without buying it, and decided I could do the same thing. Some of these letters were twenty years old at the time I read them. Plus, I was too much of a scraping, self-serving skinflint to but the book.
So off I started, writing provocative, stupid, and sometimes patently absurd letters to notables, CEOs, Governmental principalities and movie stars. I added to that: infamous serial killers, The Vatican and even the Pentagon.
I would then get letters back, and amass the spoils of rhetorical war in a binder, that I have had all these years. This binder is now infamous. When we had the Carr Fire a couple of years back, my daughter made sure that in the evacuation, we saved the dog, and that binder full of letters.
I learned quite quickly that the San Diego Zoo will most likely reject a request to rent a Bengal Tiger. Ditto for The World Society for the Protection of Animals, who felt that my request for feeding option for a spotted owl zoo might have illegal implications behind it.
I did try to canonize my Catholic buddy, and the Vatican got right back to me on that. Charles mansion used a surrogate to write me back. Word has it, he’s unavailable now.
Also, I did not expect to get a letter back from Mother Theresa. But I did. That was the one letter that I felt like an idiot after it came back. At no other time was my calloused literary conscience pricked with guilt, because my letter was so stupid.
I’ve always intended to publish them. But I was thinking about trying to do so now. The book is practically written, other than the need to write a bunch of crafty lead-ups to each section. Another book came out years later, called Letters from a Nut (Note to any publishers that might want to take on my incendiary missives: I will not–allow some insular empty-suit come up with a title that screams “zany” and “Knee-slapping fun.” I will commit sepaku before I allow my churlish epistles to be flushed down the leech-line by someone who pictures canned laughter in their head when reading my work. And I don’t care if Jerry Seinfeld offers to write the forward).
So I thought I would use this as an “interstitial” moment: pitch the book, and see what happens. Maybe some publishing company would like to repurpose the work of a guy who suggested to Disneyland that a ride called The Waco Incident might be a good idea, and have his letter returned because they “didn’t want to retain it in their files.”
We’ll see. I need something to do while trudging through the endless tundra of a re-write. Kinesthetic learners are a pain in the neck. Add to that my unrelenting ADHD, and you’ve got a perfect storm of trauma. If I drop the book now, I’ll probably not pick it up again for years.
So onward. Giddyup. Mush. Whatever.
Letter To A Nut and it’s follow up companion are some of the most laugh-inducing books I own. People have to shut me up from reading out loud from them. Here I thought I was the only one who knew about these books, and now it turns out that you basically invented the concept independently years before. You are now my comedy God.
What a great idea, please publish the letters! It would also be neat to have a brief comment about the “sent letter”.
I might just have to do it now 🙂