It may be a silly thing to do, considering my inconsequential position in the universe. But I do more than dabble in silliness.
The first draft of a book with stories from my life is done. I’ve named it Albion and New Augusta, Confessions of a Midlist Writer. Albion is a small town in Wisconsin where my father grew up and New Augusta is an area now incorporated in Indianapolis where my mother remembers the golden years of her childhood. Below is the draft of the preface, which I may use if the book is ever published.
|I Never Slept With Rita Hayworth|
We are told not to write prefaces. No one reads them, they say. But I feel the need. I have a confession to make. One is that I might not be a “midlist” writer as the subtitle suggests. It’s probably something not quite “mid.” It’s probably lower midlist. Even so, I have published more than a dozen books and have almost always received good reviews. Not always, but mostly always. That, of course, shows that good reviews do no necessarily translate into good sales or being a household word. And, in fact, the stories about mystery writing are few. It’s simply one little life amidst billions of them. Perhaps you’ll find some of it amusing if it is published and you are stranded on a deserted island when a copy floats ashore.
Also, I wanted to tell you upfront that while I know many wonderful, talented and interesting people, upfront, I don’t know any famous ones. I worry that the word “memoirs” might promise more than it delivers in terms of celebrities or important historical information. The disclosures here won’t make it to gossip TV. For example, I have to tell you a few things — things like I never slept with Rita Hayworth or partied naked with Prince Harry. You should not expect a lot of juicy confessions that involve people you’ve heard about. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll put my celebrity contacts up front:
|Nietzsche On Acid?|
I shook hands with Roy Rogers at a rodeo when I was five. I was once in an elevator with Brenda Lee. William F. Buckley stood behind me once as I exited a plane. Clayton Moore winked at me. Rita Moreno touched my shoulder at a charity affair. I nodded to Kurt Vonnegut at the bar at an event where he spoke. I was in the lobby of a hotel when both Julian Bond and Roy Orbison checked in. It was night. Roy was wearing sunglasses. Emilio Estevez and I exchanged polite hellos in an advertising agency once. I had to dodge Kiefer Sutherland in an Irish bar in L.A. He was headed to the bathroom. He had just left a booth still occupied by Julia Roberts, who was smoking like a chimney. George Lukas once walked by me during an art show in San Francisco. I may have been a table away from Daniele Steele at a restaurant on Union Street and I may have seen and exchanged nods with Barry Bonds, but I’m not 100 percent sure. It may have been some other guy who felt awkward that a stranger was staring at him.
Now that the rich and famous and powerful are out of the way, we can proceed with the story with expectations appropriately diminished.
Though, to be fair, drugs and sex are involved. So is Nietzsche, as well as calling in a Cobra helicopter attack on a porcupine and some dicey adventures in French Lick, Indiana.
The idea was to write about a life. Not a sensational or famous life — though not really a normal life either, if there is such a thing?
The Authors Guild Bulletin reported that Evelyn Waugh once said, “Only when one has lost all curiosity about the future has one reached the age to write an autobiography.” I suspect that is true; but there may be other reasons. Maybe it is to come to some understanding and to wrap things up.