Wednesday, March 23, 2011
There and Back Again - A Not So-Hobbit-Journey
The journey for NAKED METAMORPHOSIS is nowhere near the epic adventure that took Bilbo Baggns from the Shire through the ringer. It is epic in my mind, and it's a nifty little tale, but I make no pretense that it is an immortal classic. A classic needs decades to breathe, so I have something to look forward to.
It's a slower week for the Authors Speak. I'm dealing with round two of persistent pain, which is preventing me from writing as much as I'd like to. This is an easy piece, and next week my commitment is to have the same quality you deserve - the review of Lansdale's "Devil Red", Author Profiles on bestsellers Kat Martin and Kristin Hannah, and a little, itty-bitty rant. Until then, you've just got to deal with me.
One thing I've missed this year, is reading. I love to read aloud. I love to entertain. I had the idea that this weekend's Authors Speak broadcast would be me reading selections from my book NAKED METAMORPHOSIS. I hope it will make you chuckle, chortle, even guffaw. If it does not, I hope that you will not hold it against this website. I think it'll be fun, though.
Therefore, allow me to take you on an "epic" journey - an origin tale of this most butchered Shakespearean yarn.
We'll fade bck to the nineties. Arkansas. College.
I'd written a short story that became a play in three acts entitled "Rotten Somethings in the State of Denmark". Blatantly, an homage to Stoppard, I told an alternative tale to Hamlet. In this version, Horatio was the much put-upon protagonist, and Hamlet was a spoiled, crying druggie. Worried that Shakespeare would tell the world the truth, the duo sets off in a frenzied search for the Bard. Obviously, this is just a play of convenience; Shakes and Hamlet were miles apart in the timeline.
Flash forward into the new millenium, "Rotten Somethings" went through a little metamorphosis of its own. I wanted to turn it into a full length novel called "Rotten". The idea was still the same, but this go-round, Horatio was to have a relationship with Osric, Guildenstern and Rosencrantz played much more prominently, and it offered an "Into the Woods" sort of vibe, as Fortinbras, storming Denmark, would go into various other Shakespearean lanscapes.
Then came Eraserhead Press and a weird little challenge. It would be writing a book, but with the elements of improvisational comedy tied in. I'd stick with the same basic story, but tell it in three different styles, then overlap those.
The first was Kafka. Shakespeare always played the downer card as a matter of our own personal actions. Kafka just said actions played no part; you're always going to be shit on. I thought this contrast was a nice touch to Hamlet. So it was a natural for the mix.
Then, I went the Burroughs pop-drug culture rout. I love Burroughs, and I like to think that Shakes would have as well. Tossing this in added a new flair.
Finally, there was the third style. Who would it be? My thought was this: George W. Bush giving a book report on Hamlet. Kind of weird, but I liked it.
I want you to order a copy, sure. But, more importantly, I'm an entertainer. As part of the book bail-out, I'm offering you a free electronic copy for nothing more than an Amazon.com review. That's it. Just email me and I'll make it happen.
This Saturday, I just long to entertain you with reading selected portions of the book.