I started out as a movie director [usually the other way around – I know] making a low-budget shocker, AROUSED, that went on to become a cult classic, ending up in anthologies and collections and leading to a varied career as a movie and theatre gypsy: producer, editor, director [theatre and film] playwright, author. A lot of my work was done pre-internet and left few traces. I’m old, but the cover head shot was made August 2016.
My first book, PRINCE VALIUM, started out as the synopsis for a screenplay, based on a traumatic romantic breakup in NYC. I had neither the background nor the desire to be an author. The synopsis got longer and longer as I tried to describe the breakup I didn’t fully understand myself. Around 20 single-spaced pages of synopsis I said, “Hmm. This is too long to be a screenplay. But if it’s not a screenplay, what is it?” I answered myself, “Maybe it’s a book.” I went around asking people if they thought it might be a book, but no one can tell you that. I had no choice but to continue writing. A hundred pages. Two hundred, three hundred pages. Damn! It was a book!
As I got into a second or third draft, wondering how to fictionalize and still be true to the story, I opened The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review and found myself depicted as a sadistic monster in a book written by the other half of that traumatic breakup, Barbara Gordon. It was called I’M DANCING AS FAST AS I CAN.
Years later someone was interviewing me, researching a book on another subject. She had brought a bodyguard with her. At one point she said curiously, “Do you realize that at one point you were the most hated man in America?” I really hadn’t known. I was driving a cab at night in Hollywood to make ends meet. The America she referred to was the America of academic militant feminists roused to ire by Barbara’s college book tours. Anyway, it was lies, all lies, I tell you! I’m really a very nice guy.
Somewhere around age 60, I came out of Bankruptcy Court with $50 in my pocket and little else. I didn’t want to spend my dotage pushing a shopping cart with all my belongings down Hollywood Boulevard, cursing the world for not understanding me – or my work. It was time to take a steady job. My Editor’s Guild Local 700 union card was paid up. I began another career as a sound editor, focussing on a rarified niche unknown to most people out of, or in, the movie business: Dialogue editing. Solidarity forever, the Union makes us strong! It has given me the time to write. Fifth, sixth, or seventh career. I lost count.