Scooby-Dooby-Doo, Where Are You? (R)
Originally serialized in the August ~November 1995 issues of Vanity Fair magazine
It’s one of those days where I hate both Smith and Corona. Though they produce fine products for those of us who so unwisely decided we had something to say and needed tools with which to say it, they have also created the smallest word processor screens in the known universe. Then again, I’m legally blind and nothing short of a screen the size of a Times Square billboard or prescription lenses thick as radiation shielding would make much of a difference. Now that I’ve wrung you of sympathy (“Oh, that poor myopic millionaire!”), let me try and remember why the hell I’m writing this. Ah yes….
So I was approached by one of the mercenary editors of this magazine and, after being bludgeoned with praise, am pitched a series of articles. The topic? Well, I’m afraid it’s me. “Dearest,” he oozed, “we want the story behind the story of the world’s best and best selling novelist. America’s most acclaimed writer of popular fiction.” Didn’t sound like anyone I knew. I suggested they look up that guy from Maine. You know, the one whose name always dwarfs the title of whatever boogyman epic he’s spit out this month.
“Darling,” he continued with a gentle prod to the ego, “the question on everyone’s lips is ‘Who is this woman? How does her mind work? Where did she come from?’ I think you owe it to your readers to answer these questions.”
I had to forcefully restrain the cackle that so desperately wanted to break free at this moment. Spending, as I do, a lot of time around people equipped with lips, I couldn’t recall having once heard any of these questions issue forth. And as for my readers, I owed them nothing more than another book.
But two things appealed to me about this suggestion. One was the outrageous amount of money he offered. Like many modern authors authors with a realistic approach to the art of commerce and the commerce of art, authors with homes on both coasts and extravagant little habits I submitted completely, placing my hands on my knees, bent over, and allowing myself to be banged by a gang of zeros. Degrading? Nah. I merely closed my eyes and pictured the face of my accountant.
The other thing that attracted me to this little autobiographical escapade was strictly personal. Turns out I’ve always kind of wanted to know the answers to those self-same questions that are supposedly taking up so much breath amongst the speaking public. Who is this woman? How does her mind work? Where did she come from?
And so I embarked on this introspective mystery ramble, and what’s more, I was paid for it. But this time I was alone. This time there wouldn’t be a green van or a talking dog…
The answers weren’t so hard to find after all. There were plenty of clues; nothing so obscure as dust levels or cryptic codes made of dancing stick figures, these are the more obvious clues of life and experience. But let me backtrack here and set the scene properly.