Monday, September 22, 2008

Not On My Reading Shelf

Current Reading: The Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis

Inspirational Quote: "Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." -- Marcus Tullius Cicero

I see Kelly Osbourne (Ozzy's progeny) has signed a deal with Virgin books to write her memoir.

I prefer that interesting people write their memoirs in the year before they die. Their age gives them a certain perspective that 23-year-olds just haven't been on the planet long enough to acquire. Since they have only a year to go, they're not likely to do anything so interesting as to require a new edition of the book.

At 23, Ms. Osbourne still has lots of years ahead to make mistakes and court public humiliation. Why write a book that doesn't have an end yet?

I much prefer to think of Warren Buffet's forthcoming biography, The Snowball: Warren Buffet and the Business of Life. Here is an interesting man old enough to have thought deeply about his life before authorizing a book. He's had a profound effect on the financial world, and he may have some things to say that will cause a reader to re-examine their own time on the planet.

I prefer that uninteresting people stick to boring the rest of us with long-winded, rambling, pointless blogs like... well, this one, I guess.

Three frightening things about Ms. Osbourne's literary aspirations:

  1. So many celebrities have train-wreck lives.
  2. So many of them write memoirs.
  3. So many people must buy these in order to support their production.

Honestly, do I have to go out, obtain photographs of me sleeping with Paris Hilton, devolve into a mess of drugs and alcohol and spend six years in rehab just to get a book deal?

I'm willing. I'd just... you know, like to be sure it's all going to work before I take such drastic steps.


Gary said...

This article has been featured in a piece found at - "Kelly Osbourne's autobiography" - Keep up the great work!

Ulysses said...

Imagine my surprise.

slcard said...


I don't get your geek joke at all, but you really are a funny guy: writerly, intelligent and funny... you can do better than Paris. And isn't writing enough of an addiction already? Who needs drugs?!

For my money, if your story is any good, all you need is patience. When I started taking this writing thing seriously, someone told me, or I read somewhere, you can become a brain surgeon faster and with less hard work and dedication than becoming a published author. At this point I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't start over, this time trying medical school.

I would like to share a literary link with you I believe you might find useful. I would, however, prefer not to leave it here. May I send it to your email address? Email me to let me know, or leave a note here. If I see nothing I will conclude you are not interested. I will, no doubt, continue to read here regardless. I look forward to your book, so long as I'm not offended by any off colour photos first... well, I'll probably still read it, I just won't read the "About the Author" part at the end.


Ulysses said...

The geek joke's only funny if you've ever stayed up until 4am playing Dungeons and Dragons. It's been decades since I put my nerd-urge before my need for sleep, but once-upon-a-time...

I don't know that writing is an addiction, but I certainly don't know anyone who's in it for the money. Which is a shame. I wish there were enough money in writing that we did have some getting into it for the quick bucks. My fallback is law school: it takes less time and when you're done you make your living talking a lot without actually saying anything. Good prep for politics too.

I've often wondered what to do about book jacket photos. I don't think I'm visually pleasant, so I'd prefer some alternative. I thought maybe a suitable photo with captions like, "This is the view from his office window," "This is his cat," or maybe, "This is his left elbow." That last has appeal because it would actually be a photo of me, although not readily identifiable unless I'm wearing a unique shirt, or showing off a birth mark or something.

Thanks for the kind words.

slcard said...

I never have stayed up playing Dungeons and Dragons until 4am -- I've never played at all. Now I don't feel dumb for not getting the joke, just naive. It's not the first time. Thanks for clarification.

As for the addiction: try to stop. I dare you. Perhaps not the putting down of words, but the thoughts; the questions; the why. Somedays if I couldn't get to a pen I'd scratch words on a rock wall.

If you want to meet someone in it for the quick buck, though, you must meet my husband. He only does it for the money, and makes a nice little mid-list side salary to keep himself in old hockey cards. Oh his job is emotional, so it is cathartic for him to do it, but he only started because he and an editor spoke of it on a whim and if the money goes away so will his stories (I'm not sure if he hasn't been at it long enough to develop the addiction or if he just doesn't have the personality to care -- he wouldn't read Kelly Osbourne's autobiography, as he doesn't read, but he would be amused by the movie version. He is, however, a very fine fellow who I am very fond of.)

Your book jacket photo ideas are very good ones. I like the elbow idea best with a glimpse of a favorite t-shirt. Something with a great graphic might be nice, just to show a little personality. Not that I want to be published (I fear that will only get in the way of my addiction), however, if I had too I would go for a close-up of a tattoo. Also, Robert Jordan did well with using only a sketch of himself; you might want to consider that if your fans persist.

Ulysses said...

That's the first time I've ever heard the word "naive" applied to someone who did NOT play Dungeons and Dragons. Congratulations for probably having a teenage social life both broader and richer than my own.

Sigh. If I could stop, I doubt I'd be blogging. I'd be attending to my family or watching TV or playing video games instead. I also wouldn't be looking back at that last paragraph and wondering if there weren't some better way to put things.

I envy your husband's income, and aspire to the midlist. Or even the bottomlist.