Friday, December 19, 2008

The greatest book proposal of all time

Today, a treat.

To wrap up a week of comedy, here's something that just kills me. It's not only the greatest book proposal of all time but one of my favorite things ever. I'm not even exaggerating.

Let's start at the beginning. When I was a freshman in high school, I had a friend named Jason T____ whose father worked for a company that published books about hobbies and collectibles. They weren't in fiction, nor did they want to be, but they'd regularly receive book pitches from aspiring novelists who'd mass-mail any book publisher they could find.

Sadly, these proposals would at times betray a limited command of the conventions of written English, and would in such cases provide amusement fodder for all the wrong reasons.

One day my friend's dad brought home a nearly incomprehensible proposal for a novel called My Girls. The syntax was so tortured that its author seemed barely qualified to read a book, much less write one. (He compared favorably, however, to the current president of the United States.)

The would-be novelist, Al L_______, instantly became a legend in my circle of friends. Boy, did we enjoy a laugh or three at poor Al's expense, throwing his name around and quoting from his treatise for years after the fact. The mere repetition of a phrase from his masterpiece would light up the room.

The line that stuck with me for all these years was "A word of luck and ingenious skill, Louie [does whatever]." This sentence, of course, unintentionally establishes that Louie is a word of luck and ingenious skill. Whatever that is.

More broadly, I could only shrug at the proposal's dense plot, impossible to follow without a scorecard and, perhaps, protractor.

Eventually we all graduated and moved on. Jason, one of the smartest people I know, earned valedictorian honors in our high school class before acing his way through Harvard and embarking on a highly successful Wall Street career.

He's now living in Tokyo with his wife and daughter, still working in finance, but we've remained in touch. Jason was at 14 and remains today a very funny guy, an ironist of the first rank, and like me a gleeful connoisseur of Al L_______'s oeuvre.

Not having read the My Girls pitch since high school, I recently asked Jason whether he still had a copy. He wasn't sure, but once reminded of the holy grail, set out to get his hands on it. Doing so was tricky; it's been over twenty years and the source material predates the Internet era.

To his credit, though, the resourceful Jason somehow found a copy in an old box of paper files after an international search ranging from Connecticut to Japan. He was kind enough to type it up for me, then sent a revised version more completely reflecting the typos of the original.

And so, without further ado, I present Jason's gift to me, and my gift to the world. Set your wayback machine for I986. Here's Al L_______'s book proposal for My Girls:

Albert L_______
RE: “My Girls”
27 Seymour Drive
New City, New York IO956
January I2, I986


Dear Ms. [redacted],

“My Girls” is the story about Michael Van'Dango, a seventeen year old man whom has his first love affair with his senior grade teacher, Ms. Regina Branigan.

Following graduation, Michael begins to pursue a dream of stardom as a vocalist with the assistance of his Cosa Nostra orientated uncle, Mr. Louie Santini.

Atop the realization of Ms. Branigan's conception regarding Michael's age, being fifteen years her junior, she feels it selfish to take away the best years of his life, and resulting, the couple separate in a delicate pictorial scene

Adored by his myriad audience, Michael becomes a household name as a famous singer and composer.

Returning home, he encounters Regina in a heartbreaking scene, in company with another man and this event magnifies some distraught.

Michael is then confronted with the mysterious disappearance of Regina and fights endlessly to try and locate her. However, her whereabouts never develope, and by this he concludes an irrational judgment of Regina wanting no further part of his life.

Incredibly, Michael then manages to develop a trio love affair relationship with Rachel, his manager and Karen his lyricist. This becomes a meaningful confrontation to the trio and the love scenes relate to it erotically. Nevertheless, the presentation is too coy to be straightforwardly pornographic and almost romantically idealized.

The explicit countenance of Federal Agents informing Michael that Regina had been missing due to her witnessing a murder from a Mafia family, accompanied by a warning that his life is also in danger.

On the way to Michael's New York apartment, surrounding him by Federal Agents for protection, and regardless of their extreme vigilantness, Michael gets shot and falls into a coma. One Federal Agent dies in this incident.

Michael's fans become profoundly most sorrowful and sympathetic.

Michael's uncle Louie makes arrangements for serious talks with the D'Esposito's, for they were involved in the assassination attempt on Michael's life.

A word of luck and ingenious skill, Louie convinces Pappa and Sonny that Michael has no knowledge of Regina's whereabouts. Following this, the D'Esposito's docilely tear up Michael's death contract.

Louie reveals to the girls that he has always been aware of their trio relationship with his nephew. He explains the situation of Michael's affair with Regina and informs them about her unfortunate dismal. He then deceitfully gives Rachel and Karen the illusion that Regina is dead, however, Louie had to influence them to believe this for relevant reasons of protecting Regina's new idenity. For he successfully arranged a plastic surgery alteration throughout Michael's discovery of her disappearence.

After Michael breaks out of unconsciousness, from his coma, Louie reveals to him about Regina's tragic occurrences.

Opening night at Michael's debut performance, he presents the startling news to Rachel and Karen about Regina being alive. And here, the trio relationship falls apart in a tremendous repercussion of heartbreak emotion.

While performing on stage, Michael unexpectingly witnesses a woman backstage. Momentarily he realizes that she is Regina for relevant indications. He also is confronted with a little toddler never knowing that he had, for throughout Regina's idenity change, she was also pregnant with Michael's baby. And in a most outstanding, emphatically, imaginary vivid scene, Rachel and Karen were present on stage and gave Michael their tear stained goodbye.

Michael and Regina get married in a chapel in Las Vegas. On their way to their honeymoon in a chauffeured limousine, Rodney the driver notices Michael, Regina, and baby Nicole asleep.

Federal Agents and the girls skillfully find Michael's location vehical parked outside the town of Las Vegas on a secluded road surrounded by desert.

Tragically, announcing over a P.A. system in a helicopter, hovering just above the limousine, a Federal Agent warns them that the vehical has a bomb set to go off at any given moment. And in a profound visual attempt of heroism, Rachel and Karen try and rescue the trio.

In a sound gripping explicate style, and an enormous sorrowful ending. Just little Nicole survives, in a breathtaking, tear-jerking termination of “My Girls.”

Albert L_______


ckoh71 said...

This kind of reminds me of Michael Imperioli's character on the Sopranos and his botched attempts to write a screenplay.

I bet you this guy wrote this story into a script & somewhere some lackeys in Hollywood had a good laugh over it.

Martin said...

Oh, dumb people. What would we do without them?

Unknown said...

"A tremendous repercussion of heartbreak emotion"? Dave Eggers, I think you have some explaining to do.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! The My Girls pitch magnifies some distraught on my part.The author himself clearly lacks
a word of luck and ingenious skill. However, some potential readers might be interested to know more about
the trio love affair relationship with Rachel, Michael's manager and Karen his lyricist. Perhaps the author would be more successful in another genre with an audience who wouldn't notice his literary shortcomings. Or maybe this is beach reading for GW.