August 11, 2004
I drove out to Denny’s on Bell Road last night and as I drove past all the car dealerships and fast food franchises, I thought about what I wanted to talk about. The problem was that I spoke to the Romance Writers of Arizona a year or so ago, so I knew the same old speech was not going to fly. For some reason I didn’t feel panic at all (sometimes I feel panic even when I know what I’m going to do and say). I got to the restaurant at seven and they were in a back room, still in their business meeting. Someone brought me the flyer they used to promote me. Under my photo was a big headline: “Making Tons of Money Writing Books And Other Myths.” I told my host that was quite funny and asked her who wrote it?
“You did,” she told me. Oh. So when it came time for me to talk I calmly decided that is exactly what I would do—talk about the myths of writing. I started out by saying, “Let’s get right down to what you want to hear most. I have published five books and I make about $300 to $500 a month in royalties. I can’t live on this. And, if I distilled all the work down, I probably make less than $1 an hour. So why doe we do this? And more importantly, why did you drive all the way out here tonight to listen to a loser.” They laughed. There were about 30 in attendance, all women save for one lone, lucky guy. I told them all of my dumb mistakes, stupid theories and ridiculous notions and they just ate it up. Very successful talk. Good questions at the end.
Got home at nine just in time to deal with two women in meltdown. That would be my wife and my daughter. Actually they were calmly talking about being perceived as obnoxious, overbearing and rude. Needless to say, I had quite a bit to say on this subject. It was fun talking to my girls and I went to bed happy.
Two more Golden Boot tidbits. In his acceptance speech, Val Kilmer mentioned that someone has requested him to write a prequel to Tombstone about Doc Holliday’s life prior to his time in Arizona. Val told about doing research on Doc in Dallas and that one time the Good Doctor put a guy under and pulled out all of his teeth. Val seemed a tad more excited and happy about this tidbit than the audience did. He also asked if anyone knew what “I’m your huckleberry,” means, and I, and several others hooted that we did. “Liars!” Val barked. Well, tsk, tsk. I have to assume he doesn’t read True West because we seem to answer this question every six months or so.
“Film-making has all the appeal of waiting 12 weeks for a plane at London Airport.”
—John Cleese, who added that A Fish Called Wanda is the only movie he actually enjoyed making
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