Tuesday, December 4, 2012

O Morgan Freeman, Morgan Freeman, Wherefore Art Thou Morgan Freeman?



All you need to do here is watch the video above.  If you do that- click and watch - my work is done.  Because this is all about me.
Wait.  That's a typo.
This is not all about me.  This is about Lisa Lutz - so please.  Just click on the arrow.

The video will explain everything - it's an appeal, from the terrific author I just mentioned - Lisa Lutz.  Yes, the author of the Spellman novels.  And if you haven't read them, why not?  Do you have something against funny and smart crime writing?

But the video.  This video.  In the video, Ms. Lutz speaks to Morgan Freeman.  Asks him to appear in a trailer for her upcoming book.
I mean, she doesn't speak to him, not directly.  It's more "An-Open-Letter" kind of thing.  Except it's a video, not a letter.  But same diff, right?  And there's a framed picture of Morgan Freeman overseeing the whole production, so actually Ms. Lutz is kind of speaking to him. 
To Morgan Freeman.
I saw the video for the first time today, soon after it was posted.  I took special interest in the plea because Lisa Lutz and I broke bread together before the release of her 2011 novel, Heads You Lose.  So there I was, a midlist bookseller, eating dinner with Lisa Lutz, a midlist author.  How perfect is that?

Dinner?  Dinner was at Kuleto's in San Francisco.  We ate from white tablecloths at a long table in front of a stone-fronted fireplace.
It would have been kind of romantic except, you know, I'm married and there were quite a few other booksellers there, in addition to the representatives from the publisher.  All those other people made romantic notions a little awkward.  None of that Number 1 Fan Stuff, here - no way.  Ms. Lutz talks about that kind of thing in the video.  Have you watched it yet?  Watch it.
And besides, at dinner?  Kind of difficult to share a moment with someone who is seated far away.  Did I mention that Ms. Lutz was not seated near me - I think that was probably smart.  And also besides - this isn't about me.  I already said that.
This is about Lisa Lutz.
The good news from that dinner?  I hit it off with the other author there that evening.  Kind of forgot to mention that fact, that there was another writer in residence, as it were.  See, the novel - Heads You Lose - wasn't only written by Lisa Lutz.  It was written by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward.  The novel deals with siblings who find a body - headless - on their property, so they move it.  Off their property.  But it keeps coming back.
Ms. Lutz had the idea that it would be charming to write a book with another writer, so she chose Mr. Hayward.  They ended up writing alternating chapters.  But, well, these writers have a history - they actually used to be a couple, so they squabbled a little bit during the writing of Heads You Lose.  These squabbles made it to the page where you read them duking it out.
You know, metaphorically.  They weren't actually duking it out.  There were disagreements, sure.  Mr. Hayward told me all about it.  He'd want the story to go one way, but Ms. Lutz thought perhaps the story would be stronger if they followed her lead. 
If you noticed, Lisa Lutz got top billing on the cover of the book, and, well, that can kind of feed a writer's ego, you know?
Anyway.  Mr. Hayward would say left, Ms. Lutz would counter with right.  He'd go up, she'd point down.  You read these differences in opinion in notes they included in the novel, notes to each other after the chapters - critical of the other's efforts.  These bits are funny, the novel bits are funny - but the dead bodies start proliferating.
And it's still funny!
In between Mr. Hayward describing this process, I kept him entertained with the synopsis of my own novel.  Well, novel-in-progress.  I mean, I actually haven't, you know, finished it.  Novels are, well, hard.  If you want to put a novel to bed you have to sit down and write.
Haven't done that, not totally.  Not to completion.  But oh! was Mr. Hayward enraptured with the story.  The little odds and ends that have been written - though those are, truth be told, quite few in number.  But the main idea, the plot if you will, I've got that all figured out.
I just have to actually write it.
I won't bore you - I was afraid I'd bore Mr. Hayward.  But since he was sitting in the corner, and I was next to him - well, he had to talk to someone, right?  So I dove right in.  My novel takes place on Halloween.  Oh, that holiday!  Halloween!  And--
Oh, wait.  Keep forgetting!  Not about me!  This is about Lisa Lutz.  Did you watch the video?  Watch the video!  Click click click!
I'll just wrap this up.  At the end of the Heads-You-Lose dinner, there was the requisite signing of the book for the attendees.  I handed my copy over to David - I feel I can all him David because we did spend an awful lot of time talking that night.  Did I mention he was kind of in the corner?  Not trapped by me, trapped is a little harsh.
But right there, you know?
So he took my copy of their book and spent a bit of time writing in it.  Sometimes authors just scribble their name, but David went out of his way to personalize it.  He intimated how intrigued he was by my own novel - er, Novel-In-Progress.  Then he signed Heads You Lose with a flourish before he handed it to Ms. Lutz.
She glanced down at what he had written and then looked at him.
What's this? she said.
What do you mean? he countered.
(It was like the novel, but in person!)
This!  You wrote an addendum to the novel in the novel.  You're just supposed to sign these things.  Poets!  You always get it wrong.
I was just commenting, he said, on the remarkable work that Nick described to me this evening.  Really breathtaking.  I felt the need, the urgent need, to memorialize it.
(Ok, David may not have actually said exactly that.  I may not remember precisely what he said but it was right in there.  Close, I'd say.  Very, very close.)
Ms. Lutz just shook her head.  Shook her head and dashed off a "Me too!" after David's kind words.  Just jotted down, super fast.  But actually, it was sort of sweet - if you look at it, you know, in the right way.  If you squint hard and tilt your head.
Besides, that night wasn't about me, it was about them.  Lisa Lutz and David Hayward.  And their novel Heads You Lose.
But today?  Today's all about me.
Wait, sorry.  Typo again. 
Today isn't about me.  It's about Ms. Lutz and her appeal to Morgan Freeman.
She passionately argues that she's fighting not just for free publicity, but for free publicity for the written word.  Sure, she'd benefit from Morgan Freeman's help, but what he'd really be doing is furthering our progress towards keeping books and bookstores alive.  Maybe it'd help bring about world peace.  An end to poverty?  Not so out there!
Okay, gosh, sorry.  That's all me, that stuff.  Ms. Lutz talked about books and bookstores, yes, but not the other things.
I get carried away sometimes.
Do you know Mr. Freeman?  Do you know anyone who knows Mr. Freeman?  Because if you could just get him to watch this video - it's only a few minutes (ok, actually, it's four minutes, but I'm not counting.  Nor should you), and if he spent just those few minutes watching, I'm sure he'd agree to help Ms. Lutz.
So if you do know him - could you pass these words along?  These glorious, funny, staggering words?
Oops, sorry again.  Not these words.  Not, you know, my words - but the video.  Could you pass it along?  Thanks.

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