Moi, in my old age
I'm presently revising my two previously published books. It's slow going, since I have a lot of more important things to contend with.
One is a book containing most of my published poems. A lightweight editing endeavor, but worth a second edition (with a slightly more mature perspective).
The other book is much more emotionally taxing. The subject is about dying, death, and grieving. I began writing it only a few days after my Mother died, and it was a great catharsis that saved me from plunging over the edge. A revision is in order simply because the book was written with fierce sentimentality and brutal honesty - some of which needs to be expunged.
For years I've been saying that I'm going to write a book about my life - - or at least about my wild, youthful existence in Hollywood. I desperately want to write this, yet there are innumerable reasons why I haven't. I was pondering this the other night (my nights are reserved for pondering) and I was stunned by the possibility of arising complications.
The process of actually writing the book doesn't intimidate me in the least. I'm a fairly decent writer. It's the content that perplexes me. And the presentation.
I've had an extraordinary life, filled with more drama and adventures than most average people ever dreamed of experiencing. Yet, there's a danger in offering the secrets of my life for public consumption. Will others think my adventures are interesting? Will they believe them? Will I come across as likeable - or at least reasonably tolerable? Or will I seem like a self-serving exhibitionist?
In all fairness to myself, I've read innumerable books with unlikeable protagonists - - and even more books that drag on for chapter after excruciating chapter with nothing interesting to say. I think I'm interesting. I have the uncanny ability to occasionally fascinate myself.
Also, believe it or not, I am unnervingly honest. I don't embellish, simply because I don't need to. I write from my heart and tell things as accurately as possible. My biggest crime is that I'm colorfully descriptive and annoyingly verbose.
The biggest challenge by far will be deciding exactly what to include in the book. My life has been an enormously complicated conglomeration of contradictions, opposing forces, conflicting elements, and persistent enigmas. How to sort and present the pieces as a logical (and palatable) whole?
I had an interesting childhood, which included many good times, but it was also seriously tainted by father's maniacal violence and constant abuse. That part of my life could warrant a book by itself. To exclude the unpleasant subject matter of abuse would be impossible, since it was solely the underlying cause of my extremely reckless and self-destructive early adult life.
The journey into my dark side is as unpleasant as it is frustrating. How could someone blessed with talent and good looks squander everything for a seedy life of debauchery? Since I had a distorted image of being talentless and ugly, it was surprisingly easy. My self-destructiveness was my way of expunging reality. Being obliviously drunk or stoned made the brutal world seem a helluva lot better. The time I locked myself in the bathroom and hacked my wrists with a pair of scissors......I didn't really want to die. I wanted to end the insanity of the existence that surrounded me.
How much should I reveal about my rampant promiscuity? Should I give stunning details or merely hints? Will revealing too much sleaze turn me into an despicable egotistical braggart? In my distorted perception, every time I had sex with a stranger it confirmed my desirability. I wanted to be desired. I craved the illusion of love.
There were many other (much more positive) aspects to my complicated life, like my music: concerts, performances, laurels, and prestige. And my incredible brushes with some of the most famous and powerful people in Hollywood. There was a lot of glitz and glamour, along with the underworld of sleaze and danger. And there were also serious relationships, several of which ended tragically.
After careful consideration, I've decided that the book will encompass my thirty years in California. That is enough for now. My many other later adventures will have to wait.
How will the book end? It will end on my final day in California, when I bid a fond and reluctant farewell to L.A. in order to embark on a new, entirely different journey. I'd like the ending to be a happy one, but it won't be.
Reality never has a happy ending.
As usual, this post is too long.
I'll write an update about those mysterious "ghost" lights in the not-too-distant future.
Note: I appreciate all of your comments, which have been positive and encouraging (so far). Instead of answering them individually, like I sometimes do, I'll address them with a response in my next blog post.