I spent an enormous amount of time last year writing a book. It is about how many common childhood ailments can be caused by nutritional problems and how to fix them. Anyway, we are in the edit phase, an extremely painful process. It is akin to walking to your car after running a marathon: necessary but agonizing. As I am reading the comments to “clarify this” and “take out” that, I feel a little like a three year old. I don’t want to take out that and I think this is clear enough! But when it comes to editing a book, I am a three year old. Consequently, the editor is usually right.
To calm myself down, I have to remind myself how lucky I am to be writing a book at all. For this privilege, I have to thank the actor, Jim Carrey. Really. It is all because of him that I am in the editing process now even though I have never met him.
My unlikely story started with a con man named, Steven Russell. He was a swindler, imposter and multiple prison escapee who was born in the mid-west but now resides permanently in a Texas Prison. With nothing else to do in solitary confinement, he decides to write his memoirs. His escapades are so outlandish that nobody would believe him if he had not gotten a 25 years to life sentence to prove it.
The memoirs landed on the desk of a book agent working for a large literary agency. Russell is clearly crazy but many of his more outrageous antics such as escaping from prison numerous times, he does for love: specifically the love of another inmate named Phillip Morris. Phillip Morris has the misfortune of being named after a controversial cigarette company but that is small potatoes compared to the misfortune of falling in love with Steven Russell.
Peter, the agent, loved the manuscript and options it under the title, “I Love You, Phillip Morris”. He figures, it will be one of those little gem, specialty audience quirky books. And it is. What he does not predict is that one of the specialty audience members will be Jim Carrey. Carrey sees himself playing Russell and buys the movie rights to the book.
Peter’s talent for spotting a great story pays and he makes enough money from the movie rights to start his own literary agency. About that time I was giving a talk in New York City, which is attended by Peter’s wife. She identifies me as a potentially interesting project for her newly minted independent literary agent husband. Peter has the time and inclination to help me along and voila′, a book is born.
You are probably wondering what happened to Jim Carrey’s movie. Carrey got Ewan McGregor to play Phillip Morris and the love story is released in 2009…..in Europe. Even fans of Brokeback Mountain might find the movie a bit racy. I know this because my daughter’s convenient computer nerd boyfriend located a copy of the DVD. I didn’t ask questions; just watched it. It will be interesting to see what happens to Carrey’s career when it is released here in November. He is perfectly cast but perhaps he should not plan a trip to the mid-west anytime soon. Or, maybe they will edit it for American audiences.
So, that is how I came to be rewriting chapter 6 for the third time and daydreaming about who might star in the highly unlikely event that a nutrition detective book would be turned into a movie. Maybe they could call it, “Nutrition, CSI Unit” or “I Love You, Peas and Carrots.” I had better get back to work.