Tag Archives: film adaptation

This Is Not About Sports. Ok, It Kind Of Is.

I was listening to Boomer & Carton on WFAN (New York area sports talk radio for those outside my universe) yesterday morning on my horrendous drive to work and they were discussing the sorry state of the Mets. (Always glad I’m a Yankee fan.) On just about every show, there is just one itty-bitty item that sets off Boomer Esiason that you would never expect, and he gets all heated and passionate, and then they move onto the next thing. Yesterday, at about 6:15am, Boomer went on a tirade against the Mets pitcher Oliver Perez accusing him of not having the mental gumption to get through a competitive game. He said that Perez just didn’t have the competitive spirit–the backbone of sports–that major league baseball requires to be successful.

While I was zoning out and waiting for the talking heads to get to a real baseball team with prospects for a successful future (e.g., the Yankees), I perked up when I heard Boomer articulate his thoughts on this pitcher.  I couldn’t help but get drawn in to what was not only a message from one very successful former professional athlete to a struggling pro, but the debate about Perez’s fundamental talent versus his competitive spirit, and psychological make-up of someone facing enormous public pressure.

And so there it is, my proposed baseball analogy that you all know and love about me. Some will have stopped reading already, but I do contend that perhaps we should be having a parallel debate about how come some writers just don’t succeed despite their talent. It’s been very easy lately to paint those writers as fundamentally flawed if they can’t market themselves and leverage technology–independent or not. While that is true to a certain extent, the notion of competitive spirit is something we don’t hear much about in the independent writing community. Many of us are indeed talented, many are not, and yet the success rate doesn’t necessarily reflect those proportions respectively.

So what does having the gumption to bear enormous pain (rejections), adversity (bad reviews), dealing with a weak link in the team (lack of publishing support), and come out of it a better athlete (writer) mean? It means coming out fighting and focused on prevailing. Setting your objective to W-I-N and never faltering is how professional athletes continue on despite injuries, losing streaks, and media-bashing. So then we writers have a few lessons to learn about channeling our mental energy when preparing to launch our work into the world. When I used to train as a boxer, my trainer would keep telling me, “Don’t be afraid of failure, you have to go all the way.” I didn’t understand what he was saying. I only learned what it meant when I met people who indeed never took a step ahead because they were petrified of failing, so they stayed still. Static.

As Lefsetz says (geez, I never quote that guy…thanks, Mike Cane), half-assing it will never get you anywhere.

Well, fuck, man, I have a day job, car payments, debt, school loans, and most importantly, two amazing beautiful little kids to support. I am implicitly half-assing my writing “career”, and so what do I expect–a 5-picture deal from MGM to adapt my stories to the screen? Hell no. Ain’t going to happen. Writing is not the lottery.

It’s not that I don’t have the competitive gumption. I’m not even giving myself the opportunity to effectively compete because of the obstacles I’ve set up for myself. If I really, REALLY wanted to be a widely-read author, I’d quit my dayjob, sell the house, learn to love eating cat food, take my kids out of their school and put them in the public system along with the meth addicts here in my town, and write 10 hours a day. For 10 years. And eat cat food. And go out every weekend to force myself into readings EVERYFUCKINGWHERE. I’d be writing up and down everywhere for every magazine, journal, and internetz blog I could get access to.

I’m not doing that. Are you?

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Filed under commentary, Uncategorized

Shameless Self Promotion Starts NOW! New Book Title and Synopsis

Here it is, drumroll, please:

Back(stabbed) In Brooklyn

Below is the synopsis. I trust you’ll lay on the commentary as appropriate. Really all I want to know is, does this make you want to read the book? BETTER, does it make you want to watch the MOVIE?

Next I’ll have a contest on who you think the main character is modeled on. You’ll get a free book. But first I need a cover design. Damn.

So I may just serialize this thing right here on Eat My Book.

Howard Kessler has lived the fast life of a Hollywood star. What could Howard possibly need after a lifetime filled with everything anyone could ever want? When he gets fired from the set of a film which was supposed to resurrect his status and details come out about a sordid, drunken affair with a possibly underage groupie, his long time girlfriend leaves him and Howard embarks on soul-searching expedition that takes him right back to Brooklyn, against the will of his trusted friend and agent. His expectations of finding fulfillment and vindication were high as he left Los Angeles city limits. He envisioned a big welcome, warm embraces, and the nostalgia of the fun of the past. As he travels east, he realizes he has a better opportunity to reinvent himself and changes his objective.

The reunion provides the painful details of the past, and reminds Howard why he left Coney Island and never turned back. He seizes the opportunity to exploit the guys and the put the old—and not so pretty—stories in a screenplay. While he holes up in a condo in Brighton Beach to write it, the untrusting daughter and journalist of one of his pals writes a scathing expose in a high profile, glossy magazine of Howard using interviews given by members of the old gang and others.

Meanwhile, Howard’s agent and close friend begins to lose confidence—not to mention his main source of commissions—in him and wavers in his loyalty. And the old gang was never as tight as they would like to remember and the reunion opens wounds incurred by old girlfriends, gambling debts, petty crimes and grand larceny, and enough secrets to fill a book.

As a two-time Oscar nominee, Emmy winner, and even a Tony nomination, Howard’s time in the spotlight had been sustained and well-deserved. His runs with women, alcohol, and dice have also earned him the notorious reputation as the Brooklyn tough-guy in Hollywood.  A kid from Brooklyn with no education and no positive role-models, Howard’s fame, fortune, and grandiosity earned him a reputation throughout the entertainment industry as big-spender with a gritty personality, but also as an appealing and straightforward celebrity.

Howard found success once he left Brooklyn, but at a cost that he may regret: leaving so quickly and cutting those ties for almost 50 years had enabled trivial resentments to turn into lifelong grudges.

Back(stabbed) In Brooklyn is written through the multiple perspectives of the old gang, Howard’s agent, and the expose writer. Meet the old gang and see for yourself who comes out on top in the end.

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Filed under Fiction - Book Excerpt, Shameless Self Promotion