I Wish Robert Evans Was an Author

Robert Evans as Kid Notorious

Robert Evans as Kid Notorious

Ok, so technically Robert Evans is an author and I bet if he saw that tagline he’d defend his position as a published author by going into a huge self-aggrandizing yet bitingly self deprecatory explanation about all the success his book The Kid Stays in the Picture: A Notorious Life has had over the years. In fact, in his words: there has never been a more outrageous and unforgettable Hollywood memoir ever written. And, that’s why I wish he were an author.

Robert Evans is one of the best storytellers of the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Of course, all his stories are about himself, but they are fantastically woven into spellbinding accounts of Hollywood through his ever-present sunglasses. There has to be a lot of fiction laced in with his actual experiences – there just has to be. In lots of ways I compare him to Hunter S. Thompson – so over the top there’s no way it can all be true. But, we, the public don’t seem to care. We remain fascinated by people like Bobby and Hunter. Their outrageousness is so compelling they just cannot be ignored.

Just imagine if all that energy Evans used to create his public persona were directed towards fiction. I’ll bet Bob Evans could really pump out a great fiction piece if he had wanted to. Imagine all the material he would have to work with just based on his own career. All that actual Hollywood drama that could be exaggerated into gripping tales of everything we love to read about; sex, power, glamour, money, betrayal, Hollywood – shit, a treasure trove of ideas right there to be hammered down and forged into timeless stories that surely would pass seamlessly through the ages.

Here’s where I think the problem would lie; Evans wouldn’t be able to break out of himself. The man has been so caught up in himself all these years there’s no way in hell – to him anyway, there could possibly be a more interesting character than himself. Most authors will grudgingly admit under interrogation that a little bit of themselves resides in each of their characters. But, when you have a personality as robust as Bob Evans’s, I could see where it would be hard to create anybody even close to as interesting as himself. Maybe that’s ok, perhaps I’ve missed something here; Robert Evans’s world and his recounting of it could be all we need.

Editing? – Pffft!

The audio version of this post appears below. Just click on “play”.

 

 

If you’ve read any of my stuff and you have anything north of an 8th grade education, then you’ve noticed I wield a lot of power over my editors. My grammar ain’t so good at times, my sentence structure occasionally makes one think I just go around creating my own languages and my punctuation reflects exactly how I talk. In fact, one of the reasons I got such a late start to writing is my fear of editors. I’ve always seen editors as judges, which is completely ridiculous. The writer/editor relationship is one of the most important aspects of a successful writing career.

However, and to me this is a big however – my feeling is that I prefer my editors to be more involved in the story aspect of the business. I like a lot of input and I use quite a bit of what I get. Of course, the egotist in me does kick in and I do my share of overriding, but if my stuff is any good at all, it’s hugely because of the input of my proofreaders and editors. I am a perfectionist in terms of spelling ( I was enraged when I found the e-published version of my book 5 Tales had a small spelling error) and the flow of the story, but if there is an errant comma somewhere it’s usually because I want the sentence to read in a cadence that reflects how I would tell the story orally.

It’s also the way I want to read other people’s work. I want to know what it is they are thinking, not their editors. I can tell when something has lost its original message even if it’s ever so slightly and that just pisses me off. I’ll forgive a misplaced gerund if the main message comes through loud and clear. I think things need to be cohesive and flow, of course. For instance Gertrude Stein’s work, which I’ve mentioned before makes me want to commit seppuku. Her editors must have had to smoke a lot of opium before trying to make sense of that rubble.

Where were all those ramblings really going?

Where were all those ramblings really going?

Hunter S. Thompson is easily one of my favorite personalities ever. I don’t really enjoy reading his stuff but I do love reading about him and I think that’s a tragedy. We all know the good doctor thrived and worked hard to keep his reputation as a drug addled genius – so hard, that many believe he’d lost the ability to write decades before his death. There are scads of accounts told by his editors at Rolling Stone including Jann Wenner, about how hard they worked editing Hunter’s stuff. It’s legendary. I would love to see the originals of all Hunter’s work – I bet I would like that a lot more than the edited versions floating around out there. Hunter was a genius for sure, you can tell just from his quotes, but like Hunter’s love of the booze and drugs, I want my Hunter un-watered down and straight up.

Self publishing in my humble opinion has helped to bring some really good writing to the table that if it were to be heavily edited by some big publisher would lose it’s panache. It has also brought some real shit into the picture, some of which is just unreadable, but the savvy reader has always known how to separate the wheat from the chafe. I write for the readers to tell what I hope are entertaining stories I have somehow harnessed from the chaos in my head. Obviously, I don’t wish to appear a literary idiot, but I also don’t want the content or tone of my work changed. I want my work to come out the literary birth canal exactly as I envisioned.

As you can probably tell – I don’t send these posts to the editors! (who probably will never speak to me again)