Monday, April 18, 2011

Take Three Cups of Tea and lie to me in the morning

Three cups of tea? Or a helping of swill? (Wiki commons)
About twelve years ago, one of New York’s toughest agentsa man who had worked to sell my most incendiary manuscript when my usual agent failedtold me there was one problem with selling it.

It was not the writing. Not the subject matter. It was that I didn’t have a platform. That is, I had not killed anyone or otherwise engaged in notorious behavior that would make some imbecilic publisher and its moronic sales staff get excited about pumping it to the jaded, overpaid, possibly coke-snorting buyers of various bookstore chains.

I told him I had no intention of committing mayhem just to sell books, and put the manuscript back in the drawer.

I was wrong. All I had to do, apparently, was make up a good tale, such as the one Greg Mortenson made up to sell Three Cups of Tea and make a name for himself, as well as a fortune. The fortune? Well, yes. He said he was going to give it all to charities in Pakistan and so on, which apparently was also mainly cut from whole cloth, or at least pinned together and not sewn.

Celtic kidnapping results in charity abroad
So here’s a possibility: Woman of a certain age travels to Ireland where she is lured into what she thinks is a gypsy caravan but is actually a cell of the neo-Celtic group, the Druid Militia. Once she is there, they cannot let her go; unless she joins them, they’ll have to kill her, but they assure her that the ancient Celts did not fear death. Still….she didn’t want to die, regardless of what modern morons think ancient Celts believed. So she pretended to join them. She helped them carry out raids on music stores, destroying all the discs by Enya in the process because Enya, as every militant neo-Celtic Druid Militia member knows, had taken Celtic ideas and made them global. And global is evil. Everyone knows that.

Global Church of Enya and Embroidery Society
After a year of pretending to be one of them, she found herself alone one day, unattended by a Militia member. Gathering what was left of her wits, she escaped, running immediately to a Roman Catholic Church, where she asked for asylum but was told she was unworthy as she wasn’t a Roman Catholic or a pedophile clergyman of any denomination. So she did the only thing left to her. She packed her Enya CDs into a suitcase (she had secretly saved her share of the loot), went to New York City, flung them onto the desk of a gullible publisher, and told him that she had suffered blackouts for years, and when she woke from them, she had been visited by an angel who told her to found a fan club for Enya. The current Enya fan club? It was nothing, of no account, she assured the publisher. It was not the angelic one she had come to found, the one that would teach every Celtic child in Ireland and the world how to play the harp and sing. The one that would build schools for global cooperation. It was not the one that would become the Global Church of Enya and Embroidery Society.

She took for herself a new nameAngela of the Ashesand was sent on a worldwide tour, speaking the truth of Enya wherever she went. She amassed a fortune. (She laughed aloud whenever she thought how gullible people were, that they didn't figure out she, Angela, was her own angel.)

And then someone found out. None of it was true. Indeed, the woman had never met Enya or an angel (although she quite liked Enya’s music, but thought the angel cult of the past 20 years just a tad ludicrous.) She hadn’t founded any schools in Ireland, although she did visit quite often to stay at her favorite Dublin hotel, Pembroke Townhouse, and dine at her favorite steak house, FXB. (That part about becoming a vegetarian when she was founding the cult of Enya? Hyperbole. In fact, she simply added an apple a day to her diet.)

So, Mr. Curtis, will that do as a platform? Or have you sent some ignorant publisher to Bozeman, Montana, to sign Mortenson to another book contract? This one will doubtless be about how he repented and came clean about his lying and cheating the first time out, and maybe will include information about his upcoming heart surgery.

Disclaimer: Yes, I know 60 Minutes did not write the Bible on outing stinkers. But it has a fairly decent track record. And anyway, there have been so many famous authors whose personal history was bogus, if not this one, then another.