During the course of the last two years, I’ve been busy—obsessed really—doing what professional writers do best: finding excuses not to write.
I don’t want to boast, but I have to admit that when it comes to this particular skill, I have no equal.
First, there was the clean-up of the sixty trees brought down by a killer snowstorm. I had to cut the crowns from the trunks, drag those tangles of branches hundreds of feet up the slope to the ridge where our house sits, and reduce them to sawdust with an industrial-size chipper that seemed as eager to swallow up me and my companion as it was to devour the broken limbs we were feeding into its voracious maw. Then I had to cut the trunks down to size, haul them up the ridge, feed them through a splitter, and stack them in a woodpile that now rivals the house itself in size.
This months-long chore left me utterly exhausted, much too tired to even think about writing.
Then, of course, there were the mandatory backpacking trips into the Sierras—six or eight of them in the course of the last two summers, two of them over 12,000 foot passes where the trail was little more than a ledge and the eight and nine hundred foot drop-offs struck terror into my timid heart. (I, like Jimmy Stewart, suffer from paralyzing vertigo. Like him, I look up. I look down. I look up. I look down…and nearly pass out from the dizziness and nausea at war with my desire to jump.)
Sit down and write after such experiences?
I was simply too busy healing my shattered psyche.
Last but far from least, I wrote a novel—Masquerade, the book I had promised you, dear readers at the end of Confessions of a Hollywood Nobody.
Wait! I hear you say.
That was writing. I thought you said you’d done no writing during the last two years.
It was, and I did.
But here’s the really clever thing: I used the writing of my novel as an excuse not to write my blogs.
Writing as an excuse not to write!
It’s that sort of genius that separates me from my peers.
Peers like Jameson Parker, who brings shame to the ranks of writers everywhere by faithfully doing a weekly blog, by producing an endless stream of magazine articles, and by composing a new novel even as he publishes another (Dancing with the Dead—due in April and not to be missed).
Far be it from me to be critical of a fellow wordsmith, but he seems to have no conception of the fundamental role procrastination plays in the life of the serious writer.
He simply can’t help himself.
I forgive him, however, not simply because he is a writer touched by the gods with talent but also because he is the one who called my attention to the fact that there has been a recent surge of demand for bringing back my blog, informing me that two (count them—two!) of his readers had asked him what had happened to me and whether my weekly column would ever reappear.
It’s hard to argue with numbers like that.
Even so, I decided to do a little research to confirm this great reawakening of interest in my work.
First, I went to the IMDB, where I discovered that my rank on the Star Meter was 494,256! I was beside myself with excitement until I discovered that this was not the number of followers I had. It was, instead, my position on the list of Hollywood types covered by the site’s date base—that there were 494,255 people more popular than I.
A disappointing number on the surface.
But it occurred to me that it might look different if placed in context.
I decided to check the rank of my old friend Steve White, producer of both Death of a Cheerleader and Talk To Me.
These were, of course, his most important credits, though he does have a few other minor show-biz accomplishments: road manager for The Grateful Dead, founding member of The Groundlings, first head of Francis Coppola’s American Zoetrope, head of movies and mini-series at NBC, head of New World Pictures during the era of Heathers and Hell-Raiser, producer of The Devil’s Advocate and a handful of other features along with dozens of television films, and on and on and on.
I thought it would be instructive to compare Steve’s IMDB rating with mine.
Steve was at 624,795…and falling!
A pathetic record compared to mine: 494,256…and rising!
494,256 and rising!
Numbers don’t lie, and these numbers clearly confirmed the popular demand that had surfaced on Jameson’s website.
But before I made a decision, I decided to seek out further evidence of this incredible surge in my numbers.
I launched a Google search for interest in my Death of a Cheerleader (the movie that launched Tori Spelling’s career in television films and spawned such classics as Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? and Coed Call Girl), and the results were astonishing.
Oh, a few of them were for Nicole Kidman’s To Die For and a handful were for foods to die for, but there it was: page after page of hits, in Chinese and Russian, French and Spanish, and God only knows what other languages. Even a current blog about it. And get this. A song about it!
I was entirely unprepared for what I had found, but when I calmed down and had a chance to think rationally about it, I concluded that the numbers were very likely inspired by my masterful performance as THE JOGGER who opens and closes the film.
…here I am.
Like Crispy M&M’s…
Like the legendary Twinkie…
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!!!
LA LA LAND
A DISSENTING REPORT