Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Ultimate Deriva-Lit

You might never have heard the term "derivative literature," but I promise you've been exposed to it. The movie A Thousand Acres is Shakespeare's King Lear on a farm. Clueless is Jane Austen's Emma in Beverly Hills. Tales of An Ugly Step Sister was a novel that retells the story of Cinderella from her stepsister's point of view.

I find it really entertaining to read and see these sorts of re-tellings, when an author thinks outside the box of the first version of the story and says...but what if we didn't get the whole picture? What was the other guy's side of the story?

For the ultimate in derivative literature, look to Christopher Moore's, Lamb, which seeks to fill in the gaps in the New Testament. Here's the story of Jesus Christ, a.k.a. Josh, as told by his best friend Levi, a.k.a. Biff. Did Jesus walk on water to avoid swimming after eating? Did Jesus struggle as a boy to perfect his miracle working? When did Mary Magdalene, a.k.a. Maggie, first develop her crush on the messiah? These are some of the things you can ponder and laugh over with Moore, whose cup of comic genius runneth over, as he narrates the gospel according to Biff.

Read it. I bet you'll enjoy it. I certainly did.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


The picture is of Godiva's chocolate hotel where absolutely everything is made of...you guessed it. You can't really sit on the furniture, because it would melt, but they get points for excellent form even without function and for edibility.

I'm having an ode to Godiva day because I ate a few of their chocolates while I was at work and at play on my current book. I've written 30,000 words in about a week and a half, and today I finished the draft. Now let's see...what would be a good way to celebrate?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Spinning Tales

"Although I can accept talking scarecrows, lions and great wizards of emerald cities, I find it hard to believe that there is no paperwork involved when your house lands on a witch." Dave James

After a bit of a struggle over the past couple weeks, I have retaken the hijacked train, and the station is in sight. (Translated that means, about 17,000 words to go until the end of this first draft.) If you see very little of me over the next week it's because I'm working very hard to write you a book.

Have wonderful days and nights!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dinner with Liz

My friend, Elizabeth, is one of those remarkable women. She's smart and funny, tells a good story, has a good heart. She's a doctor, not a writer. She chooses excellent restaurants, hotels, and books. We had dinner last night at Nino's in Houston. We sat at the bar, had wine, dinner, coffee, and caught up.

She's the person who recommended A Confederacy of Dunces to me, unique in its story...both the fictional tale on the pages and in the way it got published and went on to win the Pulitzer. The author, whose manuscript everyone had rejected, killed himself. His elderly mother shopped it around. What a loss it would have been if that novel had never seen print.

Liz and I have been in the trenches together and we've fought for things that called for it. We've stayed in a W when it first opened and had drinks in the old hotel where they filmed Pretty Baby. She always seems to know where to go. Everyone needs a friend like Liz.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Across the Universe

Not since Buffy the Musical, have I seen an edgy and hip musical. Across the Universe has the added advantage of being poignant without being sappy and having a killer soundtrack. Thanks to my friend Jason for playing the music in his car, prompting me to ask, "What's this?" And more recently to the British stationery shop owner who had it playing in the store on the day that rain forced me to visit. I might have forgotten to put it in the Netflix queue if not for him.

Yeah, the universe conspired to help me see this flick, and it was a job well done. What music or movie have you loved lately?

Monday, February 4, 2008

I can see clearly now...

"Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you." -- C.G. Jung

The muse meltdown is over!

Kissing the Suspect Release!

Chapter 1 Callie Melville was wanted by the law, but to put it that way made things sound worse than they were. She hoped. The rumors...