…Or I’ll feel really, really bad.
And my wife, Gwen the Beautiful, will feel even worse.
Cuz she just published this Kindle edition of my book Kid Hollywood and the Navajo Dog as an anniversary gift to me.
Here’s the story:
The first work I ever published was poetry, back in the 1960s. But while it was quite a thrill to see it in print and I was even paid for the writing, the dollar amount was so low that even as a college student I knew I couldn’t afford to go pro. (Are there full-time professional poets now? Younger than 50?)
So after I got out of school I plunged into a different kind of writing. A ream of short stories, mostly pseudonymous because I wasn’t as proud of them as I thought I should be. Some novels, also published pseudonymously because they just didn’t feel like me. But they did get me into the TV writing business, where I quickly (yeah, sorry about that) discovered that the dollar amount wasn’t just enough for me to be a full-time pro, it was enough to keep me wallowing in Porsches and some pretty damn fine homes.
And I liked what I was creating enough to put the Larry Brody tag on it.
In the early ’90s, when the TV grind (AKA the constant need to fight over every creative decision even though I was supposed to be a writer-producer-showrunner and therefore in charge) became more than I could take, I got the hell out of Dodge, leaving L.A. for the Southwest.
New Mexico! Santa Fe! Taos! With excursions into Utah and Arizona and even South Dakota (because when you’re a Bad Boy, the Badlands sing an irresistible song).
I’d written about magic for much of my life but had never experienced it. Now I was hunting for it. Trying to see if the ineffable was, or could be, real.
Tracking the magic, yes. Best thing I ever did.
Because I found it. On Indian land, mostly. The Santa Clara Pueblo. The Navajo Nation. The Pine Ridge Reservation. The Hopi Land.
A whole different life from the one I’d led. Peaceful and exciting at the same time. Mysterious and frightening and comforting all the while.
After 20+ years of fighting with network executives, studio bosses, line producers, directors, and, yes, actors, over every word (sometimes it seemed like every pause) I wrote, all the stress related to writing vanished, and one day, for reasons I couldn’t pinpoint but which seemed to add up to – Oh my fucking God! – genuine inspiration, I started writing poetry again.
It was awesome.
I woke up early every morning and let the words flow from my fingertips. A poem before breakfast everyday. It wasn’t the work my other writing had become, it was just…singing. Celebrating the life I’d found.
In the ensuing years, I wrote and published 4 thick volumes of poetry. Financially, it was anything but a success, but, oh, was it ever a joy. (Although there was the reader who sent me a check for several thousands of dollars because, he said, what he’d read in Kid Hollywood and the Navajo Dog had changed his life as much as the living of the events I was writing about had changed mine.)
Even though I didn’t sell many books (this was the era when sections marked “Poetry” started vanishing from bookstores), the books stayed in print. In a few shops and, sporadically, on this website. But mostly as handbound editions that I made and gave as gifts to those I loved.
And now Gwen is giving me the gift of making my poetry available on a wider scale than before. Way to go, Gwen! Oh what a cool technology you are, lovely interwebs!
Kid Hollywood and the Navajo Dog, like most of my poetry is about the dichotomy between the two lives I’ve led: Those of Television Writer and Mystic in the Wilderness. Lots of triumph. Just as much despair. More beauty…and wonder.
I mean, traveling around with a dog who talk to you (yeah, that would be the Navajo Dog, which really was her only name) is indeed the most marvelous experience on the planet. Well, except, maybe, for making love with someone you really do love.
Everything that happens in this book did in fact happen. Every event. Every emotion. Every sign/auger/omen. I’m grateful for the experiences and just as grateful to my wife for putting them out there to share with everyone.
So here’s my hard sell: Run, do not walk, to Amazon and get Kid Hollywood and the Navajo Dog for free. We’re having one of those Kindle giveaway things today, tomorrow, and Sunday. And if you miss it, well, hell, get over there anyway, when you can, because the regular price is going to be, as Harvey Kurtzman used to say,”cheap,” at $1.99.
Who knows? Maybe reading this will change your life too. And you’ll send me thousands of dollars and I can rush back into the world of Porsches and houses in the hills and–
Uh-oh. Been there, done that. Time to sit back and listen to what Mother Earth has to say.
Talk to you later, kids.