As you know (where you=a person on earth), the two big books of the summer are actually four: the three Fifty Shades of Gray books and Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. Having just finished the latter, what I'm wondering is this:
Why the nationwide summer taste for abusive relationships? Not abusive relationships in a Lifetime movie kind of way. Much stranger than that. Consensual abusive relationships. Fantastical abusive relationships. Wildly complicated and begged for abusive relationships. Love so hopelessly confused as abuse, violent abuse, possibly murderous abuse, that you can't tell the difference.
In re: porn, S&M, sex games, and make believe, I say sure, whatever floats your boat. That's not my question. My questions are these:
Why do we say S&M? There's no "and" in sadomasochism. Sadomasochism isn't even two words. This is like if I said the republican party is incom & prehensible. Or rep & rehensible. Or I said something was discon & tinuous. (See what I did there?)
Is the choice of these two texts coincidence or just coincident or something else? And really, (why) are we in this mood as a nation? When Todd Akin made asinine comments two weeks ago about "legitimate rape," the whole country went nuts. And hey, I get it. I didn't find that comment much more offensive or nonsensical than the rest of his party's current statements, but I get it. That said, his (badly stated) point wasn't really about the ambiguities of rape (his point was about making abortion illegal and unavailable, a position which should also offend us but does not). His argument wasn't really about gray shades of rape. But these four books are about exactly that. Maybe not fifty, but at least three or four. That strikes me as strange. Does that strike anyone else as strange?
I've been getting a lot of questions about the movie of Goodbye For Now. And I've been more or less evading them, not because it's not a good question (it is!) but because a) said movie may or may not ever happen and I don't want to jinx it. And b) the movie is not my project. Some wonderful, talented, enthusiastic, lovely people are at work on it. Here's a little film they did previously. Maybe you heard of it.
It's not my place to tell their tales about Goodbye For Now. That said, the details I know are exciting, promising, and the whole idea of one day seeing one's book turned into a movie...well, it's totally thrilling.
The thing everyone wants to know is who I would cast in the lead roles, also a good question, but not one I can answer. Again, actual real people have been floated as possibilities, and now I can't get them out of my mind, nor do I want to hurt anyone's feelings or piss anyone off. Also, I can name like four actors off the top of my head. But really it's this: when I write, I'm not picturing people. Which is weird. My characters become so real to me that they speak for themselves. They demand things I never intend and am sometimes even reluctant to grant them. But can I see what they look like? I cannot. They exist someplace that's not visual for me. Generally, sight is considered our strongest, most relied on sense. When I write, I feel like I use it very little. Sometimes it's because it's telling not showing. Sometimes it's because it's one of the things I find very distracting and distancing when I read (Don't tell me what it looks like. I have a very clear picture in my head of what it looks like, thank you very much, and when you tell me I'm wrong, I just pisses me off.) But mostly it's this: I don't know what these people look like. Not really. If I ran into them on the street, I wouldn't recognize them. Pretty amazing for folks who spend hours upon hours whispering in my ear. It's kind of awesome actually.
Anyway, to solve the "who would you cast?" problem, I've chosen dead actors to be in my would-be movie. Since the book is about recreating and reanimating dead people based on their archival footage, casting the movie with dead actors seems actually just about perfect. Here is a blog piece where I wrote about this for the lovely Marshal Zeringue.
I'd take this cast (Philadelphia Story) straight up:
Jimmy Stewart as Sam (you can picture Jimmy Stewart as a computer genius, right?), Katharine Hepburn as Meredith, Cary Grant as Dash? Yes please.
I also like Paul Newman, circa right about here...
...for Sam's dad. (Or circa right about anywhere for anything at all.)
Anyone have other thoughts? Casts you'd like to see? Living actors you'd like to suggest for the (fingers crossed) film version of Goodbye For Now?
You see? This is what I'm talking about.
Freddie Mercury died in 1991. Then he was in the Olympics Closing Ceremony this week. Depending on which account you read, this is presented variously from, "A video played," or "The segment started with old footage," to "Freddie Mercury's hologram 'duets' with Jessie J." Some people expressed relief Mercury didn't go the Tupac hologram route (which, regular readers will recall, wasn't really a hologram either). Others offered seemingly unquestioningly and unproblematically that Mercury fronted for his band Queen at the Olympics this week and led the crowd in song.
Here, so long as Youtube doesn't take it down, is the video:
I have questions. And, as good luck would have it, answers.
Q: What is the difference between this (or Tupac) and going to a movie?
A: Audience participation. He called; they responded.
Q: Okay then, what's the difference between this (or Tupac) and a singalong screening of The Sound of Music or The Rocky Horror Picture Show?
A: In those movies, actors are playing parts. Here, Freddie is really Freddie.
Q: So it's a film but of something real. Like during Shark Week?
A: No because it's live.
Q: No it isn't. Freddie's dead.
A: Yes, but the audience is both alive and live. Living, sure, but more importantly present. Witnessing the event, live. Participating in it.
Q: So, like a play?
A: No, because in that case we have actors playing roles again. And also, probably, those actors are alive.
Q: Okay, then let me ask this question: what, practically speaking, is the difference between an alive-Freddie Mercury performing at the Olympics and a dead-Freddie Mercury performing at the Olympics?
A: You see a projection rather than a person.
Q: Not really. Either way, aren't you watching him on the jumbotron?
A: Yes, but you see a little tiny mini him down front, depending on how good your seats are.
Q: Yeah, but you still see that little tiny mini him down front. It's just not really him. You'd have to know to know though.
Yeah, hmm. My question is less: isn't Freddie Mercury just archive footage at that point? And more: isn't Freddie Mercury just as real as alive at that point? Why do we need to be present/alive to exist, perform, and even interact with the living?
I hope that doesn't sound bleak for I mean it exuberantly. My point is simply this: so very much of us does exist in electronic archive, far far more of us than of poor pre-tech-boom, pre-social-media Freddie. The difference between actual us and that archive is, I suspect, stranger and weaker than we imagine.
About The Author
Laurie Frankel writes novels (reads novels, teaches other people to write novels, raises a small person who reads and would like someday to write novels) in Seattle, Washington where she lives on a nearly vertical hill from which she can watch three different bridges while she's staring out her windows between words. She's originally from Maryland and makes good soup.