If you’re wondering what that “certain age” is specifically in my case, it’s 57. An interesting age, to be sure. For instance, the other day I was out walking with the Mister down a leafy street lined with elegant old homes and he said something about a situation being “generally under control.” I halted abruptly and turned around, anxiously looking up and down an emerald green lawn. He said, “What are you doing?” I replied, “You said there were garden trolls!” Then demanded, “Where are the garden trolls?” In medical circles they might refer to such auditory incidents as part of the cognitive drift of menopause… I wonder.
Like most novelists I have a rich fantasy life. My fiction is informed by fact, but nonetheless, there’s a lot of what we’ll call disciplined daydreaming going on during the writing process. It’s reality gussied up with narrative drive, plot twists, and juicy tidbits that skirt non-disclosure agreements with the artful use of assumed names and altered locations. Do I think of some characters as trolls and others as fairy godmothers? Of course I do.
And, since I see the finish line in sight on this novel, I have a question for you. I have considered posting a page a day, or a chapter a week on a site called Patreon — a place where patrons of the arts pay a monthly fee, $1 and up — for exclusive content. Or, I might go the indie publishing route again… Or, I might seek representation (know any literary agents you’d like to introduce me to?) and attempt an old school book release.
What are your thoughts?
Oh, and here are the first few paragraphs from the new book.
I am a woman of a certain age. An age at which I have gained, if not wisdom, then at least the experience and discernment to intuit that when an old friend I haven’t heard a squeak from in three years texts me, “S’up?” late at night that what’s lying heavy on his mind is the proximity of death and the unresolved question of why — exactly — we never tumbled into bed together; and whether there’s any possibility that we might still do that, even now.
Being that “certain age” (and I hope the words “past it” have not entered your darling mind), I am able to reflect upon this calmly without even a hint of discomfiture. It wasn’t always so.
I came to Hollywood as a teenager, on a summer break from college, to look after a movie star’s kids. As it turns out summer never really ended, because here I stayed. I married the movie star, alienated my step-children, had one child of my own, went back to school, got a job assisting a hot young director, became a producer, then ran a studio. For a very short while, I ran a studio.
Life never is a simple linear narrative; it’s too messy and senseless. On the other hand a memoir, no, make that a novel (a much less contentious prospect) is an attempt to resolve the random acts of a life and give them meaning — put them into some sort of context. Whether this reads as simply an insider chronicle of a life lived in Hollywood or another of those cautionary tales about the same, I’ll leave to you, gentle reader, my unknown confidant.