In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Your Life, the Book.”
It’s an interesting idea having someone come in a ghostwrite my story, but I don’t know in what direction I would want them to go. Picking an author to spill my hopes and fears, silly stories of dinners gone both great and tragic (my cooking, I don’t want people thinking that an invitation to dinner ends Game of Thrones style. No Red Weddings!!), I’m not sure I could do it. I want to have Debbie Macomber write some touching piece where by the end of the tail, you wake up to a gentle kiss and realize that all that came before was just a dream. But I’m thinking Wally Lamb should come in with Gillian Flynn and we could write some “She’s Come Undone meets Gone Girl” mash-up?
Maybe I could have Stephen King come in and do a piece on why someone sent me a birthday card for my daughter. Was it someone trying to be cruel, push my buttons in a way that they knew would cause me to become a tad unhinged upon reading it? If Micheal Critchton were around he could turn it into a bit about how they made some horrible medical mistake that they corrected later, but something wasn’t quite right with the end result. Oh hell, there’s no way of looking at that chapter without just balling up a fist and wanting to go punch someone.
George Carlin could come in and use a long list of expletives and polysyllabic words to invite the readers into a mental game of hop-scotch. The way he could pull people into a story and then just start dropping those infamous seven words was shocking and hilarious all at the same time. Sure some of those words you now can hear on cartoons, but without him and those who grew up listening; we might have a more interesting 8 p.m. “Family hour” on broadcast television. He could do my chapter on dealing with Cancer treatments. “And then the fucking nurse would just tell me to close my eyes. What the hell was she going to do? Dance naked while sticking me with her damn needle? Me just thinking, oh what the hell, do it!”
Joseph Ellis can do the boring parts about school. He always finds a way to turn anecdotal material into something that touches the audience. A commonality, that shared experience, people long to connect with. “Hey, I can do that!” or “Now I know what my sister is talking about when she describes writing a paper.” During the two years I spent selling books, his “Founding Brothers” was always in my top three for Father’s Day or graduation. It still is.
But I’m saving my best for last, Stephen L. Carter. Why would I want a Yale law professor to write any sections? I read his “The Emperor of Ocean Park” a few years back and was captured by my own lack of insight into the character he was creating. He just was such a well drafted notion, it didn’t matter to me. I’d want him to write about the women who have impacted my life. Two unfortunately died long ago, the third as lost to me but in a different manner. Each deserves to have their story told, to have their strengths and failures captured. Those three being as important to the person I am as any book I have studied or any place I have visited.
So maybe an anthology will get me to the place I wish to be. Not just a single voice, but an entire musical made up of individual voices. A line of performers, each highlighted by a single bulb as they share their addition. Some capturing the humor, others the confusion, and yet another capturing the sadness, the loss.