I’m a sucker for stories of Arrival like this one (via Elegant Variation) about novelist Andrew Sean Greer getting the Updike/New Yorker stamp of approval for his new third book, The Confessions of Max Tivoli (the novel is also Antic-Muse-approved [see right column]). They’re already chattering about his juvenilia:
His first novel, written at 16, was a “Wuthering Heights” knockoff that he entered in a young adult novel competition. He lost: “I had never heard of ‘young adult novels,’ which I guess are about teenage gangs and the new boy in town or something.”
My old favorite story of this kind is the one about Jeff Maguire, who wrote the screenplay for the 1993 movie In the Line of Fire. Maguire was on the verge of moving his penniless family from Los Angeles back to New Hampshire when he got word that Clint Eastwood had bought his script. And I do mean penniless–just to be able to afford to go out to dinner and celebrate the sale, he and his wife had to take back to the store a blouse he had recently given her for her birthday.
But oh dear, it seems that Maguire’s sum output since that shining moment consists of a bonus feature for the In the Line of Fire DVD (appearing “as himself”) and the one movie whose trailer provided me with perhaps the most memorable pre-feature hilarity all last year, delivering such textbook Hollywood brain-drain as:
At a remote archaeological site in the French countryside…
“Your father wrote that…but he wrote it six hundred years ago!”
“…fax machine that would actually fax three-dimensional objects…”
“We found my father’s documents and glasses–are you trying to tell me he faxed them back to the fourteenth century?”
“No. Your father is in the fourteenth century.”
Glad that’s cleared up! Textbook, I tell you.
To be fair, screenwriter Maguire had what I’m sure was the indispensable help of a Michael Crichton novel in coming up with this stuff. Still, let’s hope Mr. Greer evades this sort of plunge (I’m not too worried).