Bookwoman sent word that she has been commissioned to write a screenplay and when we
flew out to see her armed with a half rack of her favorite cervesa and a notepad she agreed to
grant us an interview. She has
relocated to a bungalow near the beach north of San Diego where she says she can
on her writing. Here's what we found out when we paid her a visit on a recent
TG - How has your life changed since you first
appeared to review books for the Goliard?
BW - Not a great deal actually. I'm still toiling away on the stage
at night, just at a
different place. And, as you can see, I live here in La Jolla instead of
off in La County Orange.
It's just that a big carrot is being dangled in front of me now with
this screenplay thing. I'm trying not to get my hopes up about it
but it is definitely cool to have something to focus on. It's not
really much of
anything yet though.
TG - So what's the
BW - It is a romantic comedy
inspired by the Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice. My
heroine Annie leaves a promising career in publishing in NYC to
become a guardian of her four half brothers and sisters after her
father and step mother are killed in a horrible boating accident. She meets
Will, a man she can't stand at first, there are a series of comedic
misunderstandings and, before you know it, a movie breaks out.
TG - That doesn't
seem to have much to do with the culture of topless dancing.
BW - Of course not and why would
it? I'm well aware that people are always
saying write about what you know but I've been thinking about it and
decided it's a bunch of BS.
Why would I want to come home and struggle to romanticize on paper
something that I can barely tolerate doing as it is? And believe me, nobody wants to go see a romantic
comedy about what I really know anyway.
TG - We just
thought you might have a
dancer as the main character who finds happiness ever after.
BW - But that never
TG - What about
Pretty Woman? It happened in that film didn't it?
BW - That was Julia
Roberts and she was a hooker not a dancer.
TG - The
distinction escapes us. Hey maybe Julia will want to play in your
film. You could call it Pretty Book Woman.
BW - I really doubt she
would be interested.
TG - What about
Laura Linney then?
BW - Who?
TG - Just think
about it. Pretty Book Woman starring Laura Linney.
BW - OK, maybe when I get this one
done we can collaborate on that one. Why don't you go ahead and get started,
call Laurie Limey or whoever she is and
send me the sketches in a few months. I have to say off the top that
the idea sounds pretty crappy though.
TG - The whole
genre's pretty much crappy though isn't it?
BW - As Sturgeon said, "90
percent of science fiction is crap but that's because 90 percent of
everything is crap." I think the same numbers would apply to the
TG - Is Pride and
Prejudice a romantic comedy?
BW - Yes, I think you could say that
TG - Clue us in to
some of the funny parts.
BW - The absurdity of Mrs. Bennett,
the obsequious buffoonery of Mr. Collins, the misplaced haughtiness
of Lady Catherine, it goes on and on. Didn't you read it?
TG - We did in high
school. It didn't seem particularly side splitting at the time.
BW - I suspect you were a little unrefined
back then and didn't appreciate the subtleties of the work.
TG - Perhaps,
although I doubt many would find us all that more refined now. So,
when will it be done?
BW - That's hard to say. So far I
just have the outline and characters and haven't really gotten around to
much of the dialogue. I'm finding that part surprisingly difficult.
I guess the dialogue I hear every day isn't anything I'd want to put in a movie
for one thing and I'm having trouble picturing how the characters
sound. Maybe I should take a trip up to Frisco and hang out on Nob
Hill or in Sausalito for awhile. You know, for research purposes.
TG - Sounds good to
us. Hey, maybe your
benefactor would pay for it.
BW - I doubt it. I'd probably have
to work while I was there and the clubs in that area are pretty
hardcore. I can't see myself working at O'Farrells down in the
Tenderloin or anything.
TG - For the
Mitchell brothers? Or I guess brother. One of them shot the other
BW - Yes although I think he's out of jail
and back at it now though. See that's the thing, it just seems like a big time city. It's easy to get by here in
So Cal where it's basically drunk real estate agents and insurance
brokers stuffing money in your gee and spitting up on themselves. Frisco is big time. You
actually have to have an act up there and can't get away with just
showing up on stage and moving around a bit.
TG - That's all you
do? You don't have a character or a routine or anything.
BW - Evidently I don't really need
one. It's like stealing money anyway. The whole thing is ridiculous.
I'd rather not discuss it.
TG - Well how about
your writing routine then? Do you write in the mornings or when you get home after
BW - Well it's definitely hard to go to sleep
right away once my shifts are over so sometimes I open a
bottle of wine and try to write in the wee hours. Usually I just end
out here on the porch, listening to the waves and reading. I've been
reading all this Hemingway since I moved here and am taking a few
days off to go fishing soon. I sort of
worry that this La Jolla gig might be stealing my hunger but it's
actually nice not to be so hungry for awhile. Anyway, I
up around noon, take the dogs for a run on the beach, and then try
to spend the afternoon getting something down. It's harder work than
it seems as I'm sure you're aware. So many people say "I should
write a book" or "I think maybe I'll throw together a screenplay"
but to actually do it is a huge chore. You have
to keep everything straight in your head. It's like a giant logic
problem with constant new twists coming at you that you have to
either incorporate or keep at bay. And then you have to make it all sound real. I'm sure I don't need to tell you this.
TG - The garbage we
churn out doesn't take all that much effort actually.
BW - Well that may be but you guys
have written some good stuff.
TG - Like what?
BW - Well let's see. What happened to that mystery with the
TG - That's on hold
for now just like everything else. We see what you mean though. It's
damn hard to actually finish anything isn't it?
BW - It sure seems like it is. I
don't have much experience in it that's for sure.
TG - Did you have
breast enhancements done by the way?
BW - No! Obviously I didn't. Although that's another thing
you probably would have to consider in order to make it in Frisco.
This gal ain't doin it. Why do you ask
that all of a sudden. Do you think I need them?
TG - No not at all.
Although it's hard to tell from here. The light really isn't very good and....
BW- There. How's that.
TG - Definitely
not. Hey keep your shirt on. We don't have money for any cover charge.
BW - Don't be scared. They're just
breasts and hey let
me ask you this. Did you think we were about to have some sex just
TG - Uh not
BW - Well that would be one of the
a hooker and a dancer. Just so you know.
TG - Not sure we
could afford either at the moment.
BW - Well then that dance can be on
the house. And thanks for saying the breast thing. Of course you
can't really be trusted can you? You're just trying to keep your
book reviewer happy. Besides I heard recently that in Brazil the new
"in" plastic surgery is breast reduction. Apparently
little ones like those popular during the Roaring 20s are all the
rage down there. Of course on the other hand, in parts of Texas for
graduation, boys gets cars and girls get implants, so they can be
popular and have fun in college. It's hard to keep up.
TG - Well maybe you
could try a reduction then.
BW - What, on a lark? Why don't you
go ahead and have a few hunks cut out of your ass for the heck of it? The surgery
is far more traumatic than you might think. I've seen pictures. I
also learned recently that one researcher investigated 170 cultures
around the world and found that in only 13 were breasts considered
sexual objects. Katherine Dettwyler told a story of working with
women in Mali - one said "I don't understand you white women,
you'll let your husbands touch your breasts but not your
TG - Dettwyler? She
owes us money.
BW - Yeah, I bet. In the book I was
reading, Dettwyler compared the breast obsession (she had quite the
collection of implant and advertising photos plus her interviews) to
foot binding in China. Apparently there is a huge amount of
pornography focusing on the "golden lotus" foot and varied
sexual shots that survive from ancient times. So you see, in most
cultures the breast was no more sexual than the elbow. The Goliard
should investigate the high forehead craze of the Elizabethan era.
TG - The story is
BW - Let me guess.
You'll want another picture of me with my hair pulled back tight and
my forehead exposed.
TG - I guess you
could go ahead and leave your shirt off as well. For full effect.
BW - You really are
running a classy cyber rag aren't you?
TG - Very classy.
must know that you are invited to write for that cyber rag regardless of your
other chosen profession, your forehead, your feet, or what you and your breasts
look like. You should get an in person look at some of the rest of
the staff. Hideous.
BW - I've seen Ella Caliente. Looks
like she could make some money working the poles if she ever wanted to.
TG - She's a bit petite but maybe she could.
BW - Really?
TG - Five feet
BW - Hmm I guess pictures can be deceiving. When are you going to feature
some guys shots on the site by the way. The damn thing is starting to look like a skin
magazine. And you know I always said I'd never cash a check from one of those.
TG - Did we send
you a check by mistake?
BW - Must have got
lost if you did.
TG - Besides, we had the
BW - But didn't you kill him off?
TG - We didn't kill
him off. He quit.
BW - Why would he quit a job like
that? There was no pressure, no requirement, no agenda...
TG - No money
BW - But he had a large
audience of adoring fans. Some people would kill for that kind of
TG - You need to
come to a staff party sometime and meet some of your fellow
Goliards. It might clear some stuff up for you. What can we say, he's an odd
bird. Say speaking of.. you wouldn't want to review movies by
any chance. We're thinking of using a rotating reviewer system.
BW - Maybe some day. I'm trying not to go to movies
while I'm writing one for fear of inadvertently plagiarizing.
TG- Well just stick to
the Bookwomaning then. We get quite a bit of feedback on your diary
by the way.
We're sure you do to.
BW - I do, but it never has anything
at all to do with the books I review. Just personal stuff.
TG - What? Get out!
TG - You're surprised? You don't think the fact that
I don't appear to be a traditional bookworm type is part of the
reason people read my column?
TG - It probably is
but you are also the smartest person we have. That's a damn shame actually.
Maybe we should start using someone else's picture and just have you write
the words. Make it more literary. We could get a picture of a
librarian or something. Your reading and reviews is what we're
interested in. We could pull the picture. Then maybe you wouldn't
feel so sullied.
BW - I don't feel sullied in the
least by the Goliard believe me. Please, after what I've been through? I was
just saying that most of the mail I get doesn't mention anything
TG - But you did
meet a benefactor.
BW - That's true, but I can't tell
if she is just humoring me or what. She did contact me originally
through the Goliard. But she's been hanging out at my shows a lot as
well. Not sure what she's up to actually.
TG - Did she give
you an advance?
BW - She just pays my rent. Which
is easy since she owns the house. It's a guest house so it's hardly a hardship.
She lives right over there. You can see her standing in the window.
TG - Well, has
she made an advance?
BW - Not as far as you know.
TG - You'll let us
know what happens?
BW - Absolutely. In less of course
TG - Alright then.
We've got to get back to AZ. Keep us informed about any
BW - Have a good flight. Catch you
on the flip side.
Check out her