Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Today you have a choice between blog post titles:

Life imitating art? OR Publish This Novel!

The novel I wrote that obtained me my first (and only) agent...I guess I can call him my "former" agent (sounds so sad, doesn't it?), starts off with my character Ziba going to hear a fellow speak referred to only as "The Guru." In it, skeptic though she is, Ziba goes because the ticket is free, scored by her twin sister who works for a self-help publisher. She goes basically because she's bored and lonely and has nothing better to do. I didn't write the scene while she's there, but I have her recall things he said later in his "clipped but cutely indistinguishable foreign accent."

Though she hates to admit it, though she won't really allow herself to think that his lecture has anything to do with how she feels, she leaves with an impulse that she can't otherwise identify in herself. The impulse is to start talking to a tape recorder, telling her story. Yes, I know, you're thinking "huge, throbbing literary device coming!" But the story doesn't unfold through her tape recorder. You get little snippets of her life. Instead, facing off with herself combined with the impetus of pressure from her overbearing Iranian father and good-girl twin sister urge her to go seek her long-disappeared mother, who was last known to have joined the Hare Krishnas.

There's lots more. Did I mention that Ziba is a female mechanic? Adopts a kitten? Is attacked by a racially-motivated scumbag? That she falls in love with a bi-polar guy named Lang who channels Spanish words on her road trip whose best friend is a black lawyer named Irene? That there is revelry and hare krishna fun in Los Angeles and a trip to Arizona? Oh yeah...

Now, obviously I have very little in common with Ziba in about every way possible. I am not a twin. I am not of Middle-Eastern descent, my mother is only across town and wouldn't be caught in anything more organized than a peace march. BUT...oddly enough, a good friend of mine who works for a local Symphony scored tickets to hear none other than THE guru himself, Deepak Chopra, speaking at one of my favorite places, the Luther Burbank Center for the ARrts. She was casting about for someone to take advantage of said free ticket and join her, and suddenly this little voice emerged inside me... me, who has derided Chopra's "spoon-fed enlightenment." Me, who based Ziba's guru on Chopra with the idea that Gurus are about as useful as extra twist-ties when it comes to facing off with the difficult corners of one's heart. Me who thinks they are just peddling the Bhagavad-gita to get rich.

The voice inside me said, however, "You should go to this. You will learn something."

I only wonder what. I'll let you all know after Sunday.

Oh, and if anyone wants to publish this novel--titled Self-Serve--for lots of money, let me know :)



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