Los Angeles. January 2003
Steve Martin says that the problem with fiction is you’ll be happily reading a book, and all of a sudden it turns into a novel. You should hear the way he says that. “It goes all novelly.” He’s a hoot, Steve. He cracks me up. It’s the way he says things. “Alllll novelly.” But it’s true isn’t it? That is the problem with novels. They are so palpably fiction. Maybe we’re a bit sick of plots with stories and characters, the usual bull. Oh she’s going to end up in bed with him. He’s going to do it with her. They’re all going to run away and join the navy… After all we’ve been reading books for centuries and watching movies and TV for years, and we’ve sat through hundreds and thousands of tales by the time we’re adults, so we know all about plot twists, and sudden reversals of fortune, and peripeteia and all that Aristotelian shit they cram into you at college. But real life doesn’t have a plot, does it? It just kinda rambles on.
So that’s what I set out to write. A reality novel. A novel about a Hollywood writer who is writing a novel about a Hollywood writer writing a novel about Hollywood.
Wait, it’s more than that. I did that just to make you laugh. I am a gag writer. I can never resist a cheap laugh. It has cost me dearly.
I’m calling my novel The Writer’s Cut. It’s a Post Ironic title, because it’s something you’re never going to see. No one ever releases a movie that is the Writer’s cut. They’d sooner put out the Caterers’ cut or the Craft Services’ cut, or the Valet Parkers’ cut. We’re in the Post Ironic age. With Reality TV we have gone way beyond irony. Same with politics. We’ve got a clown in the White House and nobody laughs.
The Writer’s Cut is going to be very contemporary, in structure, in style and in content, with heavy sex scenes, natch, because that’s what sells today. I am going to put myself in my novel of course. That’s what people do these days. Like everyone else I want to be a star. I want to be on television and hold up the cover of my book. Why not? Some people want to climb Mount Everest, some people want to dress up as chickens and wrestle. It’s all good in the Post Ironic age.
It isn’t going to be a long book. Long books are over. Long books don’t sell. We live in the age of the sound bite. Short, sharp, bittersweet. It’s a tittle-tattle tale of life on the streets and between the sheets of Hollywood, with lots of sex and stars. Quite scandalous in fact. I’m taking one or two liberties with the truth, of course, because a writer’s life isn’t that interesting.
Got up. Wrote. Had a crap. Wrote. Went back to bed. Got up. Wrote. Had a headache. Couldn’t think of anything. Drank.
Actually a writer’s life isn’t at all interesting, though I did once get my girlfriend Tish to pose naked for me while I was writing. Why should only painters have nude models, right? I figured a writer’s model might help me write something extraordinary. So Tish slipped off all her clothes and laid her long beautiful body back on a sofa while I turned on my laptop.
I got nothing written.
I guess painters have more discipline.