Solstice Greetings

Lately I’ve been going up into the attic, sorting through old memories, digging up the graveyard. Now the attic is seeping down through the floorboards…

The other day I heard from Jim, an old friend who’d seen my name and email address on our mutual friend Steve’s annual Christmas letter listserv. I had neither seen nor heard from Jim since he and yet another old friend Greg visited me at college for a football weekend. Jim’s childhood best friend, and best man at his wedding, was Scott. In our email exchange Jim wrote about how for spring break from college at Northwestern he’d visit Scott at Columbia, who “introduced him to the mean streets of Manhattan.” I too visited Scott at Columbia once, which brought back to mind a 2007 blog post I wrote about that incident and about Scott. Jim filled in some of the gaps in my knowledge of Scott’s life and of the events leading up to his suicide. Jim has copies of some of Scott’s screenplays; I’ve asked him to send me two of them. One is a semi-autobiographical tale of an abusive childhood, which of course interests me on a personal level. The other is a story about Brad the Impaler, a serial killer who specializes in murdering Hollywood agents. That latter one tickles me. Once I wrote a short piece of dialogue between two guys sketching out a possible TV screenplay that sounds a lot like Brad. In my version it’s a literary agent; the chronically rejected writer sends a series of inquiry letters that include excerpts of texts outlining how and where he plans to murder them. Moral of the story: what you don’t read can kill you. It must be the ecology of fiction that spawns such ideas.


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