Stand back, readers, I’m wearing my rantsy pants today!
Sometimes, whilst merrily consuming media, I will stumble upon a scene that clearly spells out one of the author’s cherished fantasies. Sometimes it’s glaring enough to kick holes in my suspension of disbelief. Examples, you say? Examples you shall have:
Sophie’s Choice. In the film, Stingo’s friends Nathan and Sophie take him out on Brooklyn Bridge with a bottle of wine to toast him, saying…
“On this bridge, where so many great American writers have stood and reached out for words to give America its voice, looking toward the land that gave us Whitman, who from its eastern edge dreamt his country’s future and gave it words, from this span where Thomas Wolfe and Hart Crane wrote, we welcome Stingo into that pantheon of the gods.”
Quite the toast, eh? Screenwriter/director Alan J. Pakula wrote it, not novelist William Styron. Many people love this scene, but I found it… well, you know. Shamelessly blatant. It forcibly reminded me that this story was Written By Someone and that someone ached for glory.
And golly, we’d better start reading Hart Crane if he’s on par with Stingo!
Another Author Fantasy appears in the film AND book. After a night of especially sexy sex, the especially sexy Sophie leaves Stingo a letter bidding him goodbye and declaring him a “great Lover” AND “beautiful Lover.” But…. that was Stingo’s First Time. How much prowess could he have, really? Even if he were a natural of some kind, how often does ANYONE get a letter about their boot-knocking skills? (Wait, does everyone but me get those letters? Uh oh.) This sounds like a Fantasy to me, and knowing Styron wanted [former Bond Girl] Ursula Andress cast as Sophie makes it that much more Fantastic. If I were in a charitable mood, I might interpret Sophie’s use of “lover” as “romantic partner,” not “sex partner,” but they weren’t together long, and the sex scene is pretty… um… indulgent. There are a TON of good points about sexuality in Sophie’s Choice here, but it’s a long read.
Dirty Old Man – a pithy, obscure song-snippet by Harry Chapin
I’ve had pretty women in my day
Yeah those long-haired beauties simply ran my way
I treat ’em rotten, they just love me more
And when they gave me trouble, I just showed ’em the door
I’m a dirty old man / and I don’t give a damn
One of my favorites. At least Chapin is up front about his motivations, right?
Homer and Langley — E.L. Doctorow. A highly, highly, fictionalized tale of the Collyer Brothers. I found it hard to believe that some sweet, lithe young hippie babe showed up in Langley’s life and volunteered to have sex with an aging, blind, compulsive hoarder who doesn’t bathe. Surely even free love had its limits. Is E.L. Doctorow hoping this chapter will inspire some nubile hippie to appear in HIS bed? Let’s hope he bathes.
Lots o’ Stuff by Christopher Nolan. Wowie shazaam, this guy sure loves beautiful, dead women who inspire his heroes henceforth and forever. I hate to call that an Author Fantasy, but… this article features some mighty fine overthinking on the subject, plus serves as a good intro to fridge stuffing.
Play Me by Neil Diamond
She was morning
And I was night time
I one day woke up
To find her lying
Beside my bed
I softly said
“Come take me”
A likely story, Neil Diamond. If you keep writing immortal lyrics like “song she sang to me/song she brang to me,” ain’t nobody gonna to welcome you to the pantheon of the gods.
In other news, I seem to have magically inherited Neil Diamond’s hair and fashion taste. Anything you’d like to tell us, Mom?
Speaking of Mom… she once wrote a book about a young, single Mormon mother who takes up with a handsome Jewish man. And possibly a handsome Buddhist. Need I mention that she was a young, divorced, Mormon mother with an unending love of world religions? I won’t lie, it was a great read. We ate it up.
Also, my (dimpled!) little sister once wrote a story about a certain “Sugar Dimples” who shared our last name. She claims this was satire. I call shenanigans.
Clearly, Shamelessly Blatant Author Fantasies run in the family. Why else would I have this blog?
Off with my rantsy pants.
Have you read/seen/heard any Author Fantasies lately? Tell the world!