LYING IN MY BED, WATCHING MY MISTAKES
I've always been fairly up front with the fact that I am not prolific in the sense that I have a ton of discarded ideas sitting in a drawer. I don't. Most of the time, I get an idea and I set out to do it, and that's that.
Except when I have the opportunity to pitch for something specific or previously established. Such as the 33 1/3 line of books--the series that has individual authors write a short tome about a single record album.
Several years ago, I had hoped to get a gig on the series doing a book about Suede's second album Dog Man Star. I wrote up the short pitch based on their requirements, and then because my brain was at work, I actually wrote the first three chapters. Both of those links will take you to pdfs of those documents [both (c) 2009 Jamie S. Rich], shared for the first time.
I am releasing these just for the sake of doing so. Please note that the chapters are uncorrected, full of not just typos, but some really bad writing, too. If I recall, I wrote the whole thing in one night in a fit of inspiration and never looked back. The first chapter in particular is the clumsiest, I think a little too hurried to provide as much set-up as possible before getting into the story proper. Regular readers may notice I later cribbed certain things for other essays, and even recycled some story elements in various shades in other venues.
My theory has always been that James Frey killed this book. I presented it as a fake autobiography in the pitch, and sent it off just before the Million Little Pieces scandal hit. (Dates on the documents say I was working on this in November 2005.) I have no idea if it's true, but I like to cling to that. No reason for the rejection was given. I can't recall if it was this year or the next pitch season that the rejections were phrased something like, "We won't be publishing your book, but you'll be happy to know that these are the albums we will be covering," followed by a list of people that got the job instead of the rest of us. I don't know why people think that this will somehow soothe the pain. "Oh, well, I'm glad I won't get paid if it means that there will be a book on Use Your Illusion II." It's not the only time that happened to me. I was actually kicked off two different licensed projects at two different companies with the explanation, "But your replacement is real fan of the source material." Apparently my fandom should outweigh my need to eat.
Dog Man Star would have been a weird book to write anyway. Reading over it again, it was very strange to read my own name in relation to events that didn't really happen, mixed in with a few things that really did. I remember thinking at the time that this was a book I couldn't let my dad read, as he has a hard enough time separating his son from his son's characters. The only bean I will spill for what is truth and actual is the girl Bret, though I have no idea what her real name was and never actually saw her after the concert; however, all that stuff about her being on my back, the candy necklace, and the conversation in regards to both, is exactly as I remember. She is still one of my all-time favorite random people.
The next go-around, I pitched a graphic novel about Pulp's Different Class that Joëlle was going to draw. It was going to be another somewhat true, mostly fictional tale based on a real road trip I took to see the band in Califonia, and mixing in stuff I had used for a short story I had written about an older version of Tristan from Love the Way You Love that was called "No Brakes, I Don't Mind." They didn't go for it either. This year, I didn't pitch at all. I just couldn't think of an album to cover or the angle from which to cover it. So it goes.
Current Soundtrack: Morrissey, Years of Refusal; Dog Man Star
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All text (c) 2009 Jamie S. Rich