Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mushrooms In The News

Some of the news this week threatened to throw me into the holiday weekend on bit of a downer. First there's the "Obama Running To The Center" news cycle. It was to be expected, but during the heady days of primary Obamamania I and much of his liberal base conveniently forgot little things like his support (albeit limited) of the death penalty and his, shall we say, "nuanced" take on gun control. I was headed toward despair when he came out in favor of Bush's faith-based initiatives plan, but it only took a visit to BlySpace to settle my nerves.

Then there was the
LA Times piece on the lawsuit between the Tolkien estate and the recently-deceased New Line Cinema. I'm not a huge fan of the Tolkien estate (J.R.R. explicitly created Middle Earth for other writers and artists to use as a mythology, but his son Christopher has stingily kept the names, places, and tales strictly guarded for his own painfully pedantic purposes), but for them to have not received a penny of the billions of dollars raked in by the film trilogy is... well, there's no adjective big enough to describe the injustice. (I find it telling that, although a picture of the Professor appeared in the print edition, Tolkien remains anonymous in the online edition; presumably Elijah Wood makes for a sexier page.) As both a former producer myself and a playwright and screenwriter who's worked with some skanky money men, it never to ceases to amaze me how rare it is to find a producer who truly respects the writer. Many give lip service; few put their money where their lips are. I'm glad to say that my experience the publishing industry is a breath of fresh air. My agent Ellen Levine at Trident and editor Cary Goldstein and publisher Jonathan Karp at Twelve Books all define the word "integrity."

Speaking of integrity... I'm thrilled to note that my good friend and great comedian/raconteur Nick Revell has begun regular
blogging for The Huffington Post. Think Jon Stewart about to start a pub brawl through sheer intelligence. This is a very good thing for the world.

Finally, I've had a couple of friends point me to a
recent story about the long-term therapeutic effects of magic mushrooms. This comes as no surprise; it merely backs up the very real research that my fictionalized Timothy Leary spouts in MY NAME IS WILL.

That little tidbit heads me into the holiday -- and my book launch next week -- on a happy note. Have a safe and celebratory Independence Day weekend!

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