Monday, December 22, 2003

Worms and Oprah

Went to the movies last night. Reason: recreation. Saw: Cheaper by the Dozen. Why? Well, I read the book when I was a kid and it was brilliant. The film, on the other hand, is miserable. Home Alone on steroids. It has nothing to do with the book except that in both cases, there were twelve children. The main message of the film seems to be that if you focus on your career or chose not to have kids, you are selfish and bad. Interesting, since the book told the true story of Frank Gilbreth, a man who applied his finest career accomplishments (he was an expert in efficiency and invented the motion study) to the raising of his family.

Anyway. The only redeeming feature of the movie is the hilarious portrayal of the publishing process. I just love films about writers, and the less accurate, the better. In this movie, the mom wrote a book about her experience as the mother of twelve (yep, she polished that book off while raising 12 kids and typing on a computer in the hallway), printed it out, and mailed it to “a friend in the publishing industry.” About three weeks later, she gets a call. Her book’s going to be published. There was no agonizing search for an agent, no long and painful revisions, no rejections from publishing houses, no protracted contract negotiations, nothing. They get the book, they wanna publish it, and can she be in New York next week?

So she gets on a plane for NY and sets up camp in a swank hotel room, where her publicists brings her the final, printed version of her book. That’s right, this book was so good that it did not require editing, final proofing, galleys, or any other pre-publication niceties. They just pushed that baby into print within a few days of accepting it. And the book tour? Oh, it starts tomorrow, and she’ll be on Oprah and Regis.

Don’t believe everything you see on the silver screen, folks. Me and the worms will be driving a rented Taurus to a Holiday Inn outside Portland on our book tour. I’ll call the bookstore about five times to make sure they actually have copies of the book. I’ll scan the newspapers for some small mention of my event. And if I’m lucky—very lucky—twenty or thirty good-hearted souls will show up to listen to me talk and get a look at the worms. It’s not Oprah, but it’s good enough for me.

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