And my wife, Gwen the Beautiful, will feel even worse.
Cuz she just published this Kindle edition of my book Kid Hollywood and the Navajo Dog as an anniversary gift to me.
Here’s the story:
The first work I ever published was poetry, back in the 1960s. But while it was quite a thrill to see it in print and I was even paid for the writing, the dollar amount was so low that even as a college student I knew I couldn’t afford to go pro. (Are there full-time professional poets now? Younger than 50?)
So after I got out of school I plunged into a different kind of writing. A ream of short stories, mostly pseudonymous because I wasn’t as proud of them as I thought I should be. Some novels, also published pseudonymously because they just didn’t feel like me. But they did get me into the TV writing business, where I quickly (yeah, sorry about that) discovered that the dollar amount wasn’t just enough for me to be a full-time pro, it was enough to keep me wallowing in Porsches and some pretty damn fine homes.
And I liked what I was creating enough to put the Larry Brody tag on it.
In the early ’90s, when the TV grind (AKA the constant need to fight over every creative decision even though I was supposed to be a writer-producer-showrunner and therefore in charge) became more than I could take, I got the hell out of Dodge, leaving L.A. for the Southwest.
New Mexico! Santa Fe! Taos! With excursions into Utah and Arizona and even South Dakota (because when you’re a Bad Boy, the Badlands sing an irresistible song).
I’d written about magic for much of my life but had never experienced it. Now I was hunting for it. Trying to see if the ineffable was, or could be, real.
Tracking the magic, yes. Best thing I ever did.
Because I found it. On Indian land, mostly. The Santa Clara Pueblo. The Navajo Nation. The Pine Ridge Reservation. The Hopi Land.
A whole different life from the one I’d led. Peaceful and exciting at the same time. Mysterious and frightening and comforting all the while.
After 20+ years of fighting with network executives, studio bosses, line producers, directors, and, yes, actors, over every word (sometimes it seemed like every pause) I wrote, all the stress related to writing vanished, and one day, for reasons I couldn’t pinpoint but which seemed to add up to – Oh my fucking God! – genuine inspiration, I started writing poetry again.
It was awesome.
I woke up early every morning and let the words flow from my fingertips. A poem before breakfast everyday. It wasn’t the work my other writing had become, it was just…singing. Celebrating the life I’d found.
In the ensuing years, I wrote and published 4 thick volumes of poetry. Financially, it was anything but a success, but, oh, was it ever a joy. (Although there was the reader who sent me a check for several thousands of dollars because, he said, what he’d read in Kid Hollywood and the Navajo Dog had changed his life as much as the living of the events I was writing about had changed mine.)
Even though I didn’t sell many books (this was the era when sections marked “Poetry” started vanishing from bookstores), the books stayed in print. In a few shops and, sporadically, on this website. But mostly as handbound editions that I made and gave as gifts to those I loved.
And now Gwen is giving me the gift of making my poetry available on a wider scale than before. Way to go, Gwen! Oh what a cool technology you are, lovely interwebs!
Kid Hollywood and the Navajo Dog, like most of my poetry is about the dichotomy between the two lives I’ve led: Those of Television Writer and Mystic in the Wilderness. Lots of triumph. Just as much despair. More beauty…and wonder.
I mean, traveling around with a dog who talk to you (yeah, that would be the Navajo Dog, which really was her only name) is indeed the most marvelous experience on the planet. Well, except, maybe, for making love with someone you really do love.
Everything that happens in this book did in fact happen. Every event. Every emotion. Every sign/auger/omen. I’m grateful for the experiences and just as grateful to my wife for putting them out there to share with everyone.
So here’s my hard sell: Run, do not walk, to Amazon and get Kid Hollywood and the Navajo Dog for free. We’re having one of those Kindle giveaway things today, tomorrow, and Sunday. And if you miss it, well, hell, get over there anyway, when you can, because the regular price is going to be, as Harvey Kurtzman used to say,”cheap,” at $1.99.
Who knows? Maybe reading this will change your life too. And you’ll send me thousands of dollars and I can rush back into the world of Porsches and houses in the hills and–
Uh-oh. Been there, done that. Time to sit back and listen to what Mother Earth has to say.
Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
Michael Konyves (THE LAST KNIGHT) is writing PUMP, a Showtime drama about happenings at a Venice Beach gym in the early 1970s. (Because Ahnuld wants to do it and his stories – God, he’s good in the room – will be the basis for the fiction. Anybody out there think this has even the remotest chance of not succeeding – big?)
Alec Sulkin & Wellesley Wild (TED) have made an overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV to develop, produce and all that good stuff. (Because they’re Seth MacFarlane’s right hand writers, and if you step back and look at the big picture that’s a damn good reason to be hot.)
Brian Gallivan (HAPPY ENDINGS) now has an overall deal with Sony TV. (Because his pilot THE McCARTHYS came thisclose to getting on CBS’s air for next season and Sony wants him to punch up the script and give it another go as well as develop other properties. Anybody out there think this has even the remotest chance of actually succeeding – big or otherwise? )
Vali Chandrasekaran (30 ROCK)has a new overall deal at ABC Studios. (Because he freaking deserves it and everyone over there knows it. End of discussion, dammit.)
Wha? There’s still a TVGUIDE? What does it do? Does anybody go there? Does anybody care?
Well, just in case you do give a crap, Deadline.Com has a story that will seal TVGuide.Com’s fate. By which we mean that if CBS does take over, there goes whatever credibility the TVG brand has had left.
For those not in the In Crowd, the Webby Awards are, in a nutshell, the interwebs’ version of the BAFTA Awards – which are, of course, the British version of the Oscars. In other words, the Best of the Best that you can find online.
Now that we’re all up to speed, time for the press release:
by Team TVWriter™ Press Service
NEW YORK, April 30, 2013 — Mars Curiosity Rover, The Verge, Google Maps for iPhone, Charlize Theron, Red Bull Stratos, Humans of New York, HuffPost Live, and Songza are just some of the Webby winners that will be saluted alongside special achievement honorees Frank Ocean, Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti, the Obama for America 2012, Grimes, Burning Love and GIF inventor Steve Wilhite at the 17th Annual Webby Awards, organizers announced today.
Academy judges like Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone, Arianna Huffington and Instagram creator Kevin Systrom, selected The Webby Award Winners while Internet voters around the world chose the Winners of The Webby People’s Voice Awards, setting a Webby Awards record with votes from over 200 countries and territories.
The star-studded ceremony will be available to view on-demand in HD at watch.webbyawards.com beginning at 9 a.m. ET on May 22rd, 2013. This year’s ceremony will be hosted by critically acclaimed stand-up comedian, writer and actor Patton Oswalt.
Organizers also announced a set of outstanding individuals and breakout achievements that will be recognized with Webby Special Achievement Awards. Joining the ranks of Al Gore, Prince, Sir Tim Berners Lee and Bjork, they are:
Webby Special Achievement: Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti will be honored for their role in creating and producing Netflix’s groundbreaking series, House of Cards. The widely acclaimed series was Netflix’s first major original program, and its first season success has been heralded as a watershed moment for the entertainment powerhouse.
Webby Person of the Year: Frank Ocean, the R&B music artist, will be honored for proving the power of the Web as a medium for cultural change when he published his letter “thank you’s” to his Tumblr. By challenging stereotypes historically engrained in the hip-hop and R&B music communities, Ocean brought a conversation about discrimination to the national dialogue. The launch of his debut album Channel Orange in parallel with the statement was a historic moment for both the music and social media industries, and for popular culture as a whole.
Outstanding Comedic Performance: Jerry Seinfeld will be honored for his performance in the hit Web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The 10-episode series, which chronicles the conversations between Seinfeld and his comedian friends, including Ricky Gervais, Alec Baldwin, and Larry David, demonstrated the continued merging of Hollywood-style entertainment with the Internet.
Webby Breakout of the Year: Obama for America 2012 and its tech team’s historic effort masterfully combined savvy political and tech genius to become the secret weapon behind Obama’s commanding reelection. Most significantly, the team’s unique understanding of the power of big data ensured a real-time analysis of American voters that enabled the campaign to more efficiently read and target voters than ever before.
Webby Artist of the Year: Grimes will be honored for a deep understanding of the Internet as not only a distribution platform for her music and art, but as a social tool to connect with fans through candid, meaningful dialogue. In 2012, on the strength of her breakthrough album Visions, she was on myriad “best of” lists and topped The Hype Machine’s increasingly influential ‘Most Blogged Artists’ list.
Webby Special Achievement: Burning Love and its team including Ben Stiller, Ken Marino, and Erica Oyama will all be recognized with a Webby Special Achievement Award at this year?s Webbys. By successfully challenging the standards of network television with regard to both production quality and distribution, Burning Love has set a new benchmark for quality content on the Web.
Webby Athlete of the Year: Chris Kluwe, punter for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, will be honored for his online activism, including essays, online debates and tweets, against the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. His open letter to Maryland state assembly delegate Emmett Burns via sports website Deadspin was a candid, compelling, and opinionated voice among contemporary athletes who often elect to stay out of controversial conversations.
Webby Lifetime Achievement: Steve Wilhite’s two-decades old invention, the GIF file format, has proven to be one of the most durable and enabling achievements in modern computing history. Despite developments in moving image and animation technology on the Web, the GIF remains a staple among image formats used to spread news and information and is a key enabler of NetArt, memes and pop culture trends across the globe.
The entertainment industry’s biggest names continued to use the Internet to produce some of their best work.
Justin Bieber won the People’s Voice Award for “Girlfriend” Fragrance Launch in the Social Media Campaigns
Rainn Wilson’s Soulpancake won two People’s Voice Awards for Best Variety and Best Variety (Channel) in Online Film & Video category
Funny or Die earned two Webby Awards for its videos ‘Charlize Theron Gets Hacked’and The Wire: The Musical.’
The Onion earned its record 18th and 19th Webbys for Best Humor Website.
One of the breakout stars of the 2012 Presidential Election, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, earned its second consecutive Webby Award for the Best Political Blog.
The ESPN 30 for 30 Short Film Series, which featured shorts about legends Muhammad Ali, Arnold Palmer and Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier, picked up a Webby Award for Best Documentary Series.
Gaga’s Workshop, pop sensation Lady Gaga’s social media integration with her storefront at Barney’s, was honored with the Celebrity/Fan Social Presence Webby Award.
Other highlights from The 17th Annual Webby Awards winners include:
DoSomething.org: Best Charitable Organizations/Non-Profit (Webby Winner)
One Tiny Hand: Best Weird Website (Webby Winner)
Mashable: Best Business Blog (Webby & People’s Voice Winner)
Techcrunch: Best News (Tablet) ) Webby Winner
Angry Birds Star Wars: Best User Experience Games (Webby & People’s Voice Winner)
Nike FuelBand: Best Connected Products (Webby People’s Voice Winner), Social Gaming (Webby Winner), Consumer Electronics & Services (Webby Winner) and Mobile & Experience Marketing (Webby Winner)
NYTimes: Best News & Information (Social) (Webby & People’s Voice Winner)
Conan O’Brien Presents: Team Coco Digital: Best Celebrity/Fan Website (Webby & People’s Voice Winner)
HBO Go: Best Practices Mobile & Apps (Webby & People’s Voice Winner) ,Best Media Streaming Service Mobile & Apps (Webby Winner)
VICE News: Best News & Politics Series Online Film & Video (Webby Winner)
The Engadget Show: Best Technology Online Film & Video (Webby & People’s Voice Winner)
Winners of multiple awards include, among others:
Dumb Ways to Die (7) (Webby and People’s Voice Awards for Best Viral Online Film & Video, Best Animation Film & Video and Best Viral Marketing Interactive Advertising & Media and People’s Voice Award for Best Public Service & Activism (Social Content & Marketing))
Dropbox (6) (Webby Awards for Best Utilities & Services (Handheld Devices) and People’s Voice Awards for Best Practices (Website Features and Design), Best Utilities and Services (Handheld Devices), Best Utilities and Services (Tablet and all other devices), Best Web Services & Applications (General Website))
Google Maps for iPhone (5) (Webby and People’s Voice for Best use of GPS or Location Technology (All Devices), Best User Experience (All Devices) and People’s Voice for Best Guides/Ratings/Reviews (Handheld Devices))
Tumblr (5) (Webby and People’s Voice Awards for Best User Experience (Website Features and Design) and Best Community (General Website) and People’s Voice Award for Best Social (Tablet and All other Devices))
HBO Go (4) (Webby Awards for Best Media Streaming Service (All Devices), Webby and People’s Voice for Best Practices (All Devices)and People’s Voice Award for Best Consumer Electronics & Services Website (Websites, Micro Sites, and Rich Media))
Nike+ FuelBand (4) (Webby Awards for Best Consumer Electronics & Services Interactive Advertising & Media, Best Mobile & Experience Marketing Interactive Advertising & Media, Best Social Gaming (Handheld Devices) Mobile & Apps and People’s Voice Award for Best Connected Products (All Devices))
The Onion (4) (Webby Award for Best Humor Website, Webby and People’s Voice Awards for Best Entertainment (Tablet and all other Devices) and People’s Voice Award for Best Entertainment (Social Content and Marketing))
Our Food. Your Questions. (4) (Webby Awards Best Food & Beverage Interactive Advertising & Media, Best Integrated Campaigns Interactive Advertising & Media and Webby and People’s Voice Awards for Best Customer Service (General Excellence Categories))
Pinterest (4) (Webby and People’s Voice Awards for Best Social (Handheld Devices), Best Social Media (General Website))
Hashtag Killer (3) (Best Online Commercials Interactive Advertising & Media, Best Public Service & Activism Social Presence, Best Social Media Campaigns Interactive Advertising & Media)
Red Bull Stratos (3) (Webby Award for Best Events & Live Webcasts Online Film & Video and Webby and People’s Voice Awards for Best Branded Entertainment Short Form (General Film Categories), Best Branded Entertainment Short Form Online film & Video)