There’s a writer I know named Gary Lindbergh.
He lives near St. Louis … hears the ghosts of
great writers who congregate beneath the Arch.
He calls ’em spirits. I call ‘em Haints, myself,
Watch now as I do some of that Voo Doo I’m
so inclined to do. In addition to his
success as a best-selling novelist, my
broseph Lindy flies biplanes and triplanes and
hates when he’s called Lucky. “No! That was Charlie!”
he shouts. “So?” I replied, the last time we spoke
about what he meant that one day he told me,
“Listen, Kid, you asked me how to be a good
Writer, right? Not another luck-crazed bum author
who talks a lot, but never says anything
or a hackney copy-and-paster who yells
‘Brevity, son!’ at the top of his lungs each
time he pecks at his I.B.M. Selectric
for seven seconds too long. Time is a myth.
It’s all happening right now. The best advice
I can give any young writer is to be
specific. Don’t write about that one guy who
did that one thing that one time at that one
place for who knows what reason.
Until you understand that, you’ll just be one
more of those guys typing away forever.”
“So?” was the first part of my reply that day.
These are the phrases that followed that one word:
“Gary, my boo-key,” I gurgled like Ja-
ba the Hutt when he’s talking to Han in Star
Wars Episode III – A New Hope. “Ha ha ha.
What an odd thing to say. Check this out, ok?
I go back to the day in May I watched the
Blair Witch Project at the old theater in
Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. I recall
having the same reaction you did, which was
also the same reaction Brian had on
Family Guy. ‘Ok … nothing’s happening.
Nothing’s happening … sigh … nothing’s happening.
It’s over. A lot of people look pissed.’ Damned
right! We all just wasted twenty dollars on
one ticket, a small tub of popcorn and a
sixteen ounce cup with one ounce of Pepsi and
more ice than they have in Alaska in June.”
“Oh…kay,” he replied. that’s what I mean, you know?
You babble. You ramble on and on about
Hendrix and Bob Dylan and all these sixties
and seventies artists. Live in the now, kid.
Live your own time. It’s not bad. I promise you.
Who’s that singer you like so much?” I looked up
from the cracks in the pavement on his front porch
a bit too eagerly and spit out, “Janis?”
“Joplin?” he replied, raising his left eyebrow
beneath the brim of his old gold fedora.
I nodded. He rolled his eyes and sighed. “That’s just
a damned city in Missouri. It’s back there,”
he remarked, pointing over his right shoulder
with a jerk of his left thumb. He took a sip
of rot-gut red wine and said, “This Cabernet
Sauvignon, however, is worth two birds in
the bush.” I sat there for a long moment, then
raised both eyebrows in mock shock. “Stop! We’re not in
Missou-rah?!” I cried. “Heavens to Murgatroid!”
Mr. Lindberg chucked, softly, and glanced at
my sky blue Triumph motorbike parked in the
driveway beside his red Ford Falcon from the
last millennium. “When are you going to
buy a nicer car?” I asked, bumping his
arm with my elbow and smirking. “Do you still
have to climb through the window to get in and
out of your little red monstrosity?” “No,”
he replied, quite curtly. “What were you saying
about The Blair Witch Project earlier? I’m
just a touch confused at what you meant by it.”
“Ah. That movie was all sizzle, right? No steak.
compare it to 48 Hours, with Nick
Nolte and Eddie Murphy and the leader of
the Rogues from The Warriors. You know, that one
guy who said, ‘Warriors, come out to play-yay.’
That’s my favorite movie, by the way. It
was released in the week of my birth, way
back in 1979. Ajax? That
was James Remar – Dexter’s adopted dad.
Anyway, there was him, Swan, Mercy and the
rest – a bunch of dudes in leather vests dressed up
with totems like The Lost Boys from Peter Pan.
They recreated the myth of Greeks marching
through hostile Persian territory back home.”
Gary grinned and quaffed some wine. “I think I know
exactly what you mean,” he said, nodding and
picking up a wood baseball bat. “So,” he said…