Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dangerous Diane's NEXT BIG THING

The Next Big Thing Project has been going around the internet. I was tagged by Bonny Finberg. We all answer the same five questions and then tag five others.
See Bonny's self-interview:


What is the working title of the book?
The Drunk Monologues. Not "The Drunken Monologues. Some people say the grammar is incorrect. But they don't get it. In some way it's sort of a play on the "show don't tell" idiom, isn't it?

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was drinking a beer in a brown paper bag on Second Avenue when I saw a group of men looking under the hood of a car. I leaned against a deli wall and watched their ritualistic moves and thought it was hilarious. I went home and wrote it all down. That was in the 80's and I've been writing monologues about drinking ever since.

The Drunk Monologues, Fringe, NYC ph: Guler Ugur

What genre does your book fall under?
I don’t know. Poetry, prose, a solo play, fiction, creative non-fiction. Excerpts have been published in fiction anthologies, arts magazines and monologue books. It’s part memoir. It could even be horror or thriller although those genres usually reject me like ex-husbands.
So I guess it’s a novel. Hopefully literature.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in the movie rendition?
Lily Tomlin or Tom Waits.
Tomlin is also from Detroit, where a lot of the stories take place, especially the music. And since there is music, my original drummer, Leonard Paul Johnson would play drums. Waits once said that he’s a musician because it was either that or air conditioning repair. That’s how I feel about being an artist.
I was the first actor. I read the monologues in all the usual poetry venues in NYC and then performed the solo show in a Horse Trade production, which they produced and directed (by their theatre director at the time, Russ Dobular). I went on to do it again at the NY and New Zealand fringe festivals. If Tomlin or Waits turn it down, I could be persuaded to do it myself but I don’t like pretending I’m drunk anymore. I want the real thing now. It might be because I’m in Florida at the moment visiting folks.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
A tragic-comedy about one woman’s drinking addiction with absolutely no reference to recovery.
Sobriety is over-rated. 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I never stopped. The first monologue was around 1988. There are more monologues than what ended up in the show so I'm excited to get all the monologues together again. Since 1988 I moved three more times in Manhattan, six times in New Zealand, once to Woodstock, three house sitting gigs in NYC, one sublet in Brooklyn (same hood as the Bensonhurt Butcher), and one roommate share in Hoboken, NJ.  In 2004 I went to New Zealand to try a second hand romance. The marriage was in front of a portrait of the Queen of England!. It ended not well because that husband was drinking and I was jealous. My moving for the past ten years has a lot to do with writing and drinking, I’m just not sure exactly what it is.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Steven Canon invited me to be a feature reader at the now defunct Avenue B Social Club where the audience included people drinking and people in recovery. Because they all laughed at my stories I was encourage to go further. When I saw John Leguizamo's “Freak” I knew I had a Broadway show. I never got that far but off-off broadway has been good and getting some of the monologues published is  inspiring.
Now Bonny Finberg has invited me to do this. I couldn't say no. I'm inspired to go forward and finish. Thanks Bonny.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest.
Chapter One: Train Birth
I was born in motion. The train rocking and surging,  metal against metal I popped out on a double seat in a little town called Puce - which is French for flea or so  they tell me - fifteen miles east of Windsor, Ontario. Canada. Water blood afterbirth and my mother's tears mixed with clapping and cheering and a champagne toast. Some fell on me, and at birth I was already moving and drinking. 
Horse Trade Theatre, NY, ph: Guler Ugur

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I would have more control if I did it myself. My last novel was rejected by twenty-two top publishing houses. At the same time I had been dating a poet/cab driver who asked me to marry him over a few bottles of vodka. We flew to San Francisco.  In the middle of the ceremony the judge admonished me for laughing because  it was a “solemn occasion”. I stopped laughing, we got married and my friends Bobby and Marcie took us to a revolving restaurant in the sky where we ordered champagne. However, my new husband wanted a bloody mary instead and I knew I married the wrong man. 
I want to publish visuals and music with the chapters. There are old songs and cartoons that are appropriate and I want to create new stuff with sound and ink.  A blog is the only way to control that. 

When done, I will toast the project with a glass of red wine. This is an incredible incentive. After sixteen years sober, I think I deserve a drink. Recovery is so over-rated. I’m not having any fun since I hit bottom.

What is it that you want of a book? 
I want my book to do what books do for me: EVERYTHING.
Gore Vidal says...I'm paraphrasing..."... a writer must tell the truth and the best way to do that is in a novel."

 I like deadlines.