Life Sentences, Day 111, Edgar Hangover

January 20th, 2011

Edgar himself was frequently hung over, as this photo suggests.

He died after being pumped full of alcohol by crooked politicians and hauled from polling place to polling place to cast multiple votes, a process called “cooping” because the besotted citizens were kept in an unheated coop until they were needed.  He collapsed on a Baltimore street and was taken to a hospital, where he died (perhaps from exposure or a really whopping case of delirium tremens) on October 7, 1849.

I was once involved in a very nearly successful attempt to produce a four-hour life of Poe interwoven with his stories and poems, which were based in part on his own phobias and personal problems.  The approach was my idea, and NBC commissioned a really brilliant script by Julian Mitchell, who wrote “Vincent and Theo;”  “Another Country;” an almost note-perfect BBC adaptation of Austen’s Persuasion, an extraordinary television adaptation of Paul Scott’s “Staying On,” starring Trevor Howard; and, with Ray Davies of the Kinks, the unproduced television script, “Arthur, Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire,” which inspired one of the Kinks’ best and most memorable albums.

Everything looked good until, as is so often the case, there was a change of regime at NBC and the new dullards tossed everything the old dullards had brought in.  We got scrapped, although I banked some preproduction bucks out of it.

So now Poe is back in my life, and it’s disrupting everything.  For one thing, I’m writing this blog at almost 3 PM, three to four hours later than any previous installment. For another, I have more than 200 unanswered e-mails. For yet another, a widely read global publishing newsletter called “Publishing Perspectives” told publishers all over the world that the book to buy rights to for their country was Timothy Hallinan’s brilliant The Queen of Patpong.  I have no idea whether the offers are flooding in.

And the list goes on.  The audio rights, which looked sold yesterday, now look sold to a different company, which offered 50% more than the first firm.  The first firm has asked for a day to think things through, so I suppose it’s possible they could match or exceed the current bid.

So there doesn’t seem to be any perspective from which the nomination can be seen as a bad thing.

Also, I’ve discovered that the phrase “Nominated for an Edgar” doesn’t stale quickly.

And there’s renewed (cross fingers, all) publisher interest in Poke’s little family.

My writing, on the other hand, has taken a huge hit.  I doubt I did 500 words yesterday, and I doubt I’ll do any more than that today.  There are just too many things to do.

Life is so difficult when these awards things pop up.  I don’t know how Robb dealt with his Oscar.  Robb?

12 Responses to “Life Sentences, Day 111, Edgar Hangover”

  1. Phil Hanson Says:

    Boy, life will really suck if the movie studios start horning in on the action, won’t it, Tim? There’ll be those time-consuming contract negotiations, the pesky production issues to deal with, the big fat checks to cash . . .. Damn! I’m startin’ to scare myself; it just occurred to me that you might never again find time to write, and that really would suck.

  2. Debbi Says:

    Not to throw a monkey wrench into all this, but do you really *want* a publisher?

    Even Lee Goldberg is saying he’d rather self-publish these days: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/01/guest-post-by-lee-goldberg.html

  3. Robb Royer Says:

    S**t. Did I win an Oscar?

  4. Robb Royer Says:

    Okay, seriously, I feel great for you, pard. What you should feel doubly proud about is the fact that you’re doing this when most of us our age are slipping off into our dotage. The fact you’ve put in so many years to build to this peak will make it all the better. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. Plus you’re too damn old to let the teeny boppers sweep you off your feet.

    In my case, the “oscar” song ( what I affectionately call FAWK) was something I knocked off in an afternoon, I never took any part of the proceeding very seriously, I was on the road with the band ’til one day before the awards and back on the road two days later. When it was all over it seemed like a distant unreal dream.
    This is better. You’ve built toward it for years, it’s here. Enjoy!

  5. EverettK Says:

    As high as you seem to be floating, I hope that the FAA has raised the elevation limitation for unpowered aircraft!

    By the way, thanks go out to you and everyone else who recommended Sara Bareilles. Her Kaleidoscope Heart album has been the sound track of my life for the past couple of weeks. A lot of good music there, but if I had to pick one of the tracks as my favorite, it would probably go 15 rounds between Let It Rain and King of Anything.

  6. Laren Bright Says:

    Call me a blasphemer, but some days there are just more important things to do than writing. Especially when you know you’ll get back to the writing routine and you’re not just doing avoidance. Cut yourself a little slack, Edgar nominee.

  7. Elizabeth Rose Says:

    I hope Tim does get a publisher. My fingers are indeed crossed. If not, he will have to spend time on the details of publishing his books rather than writing them. That’s okay for big (splendid, wonderful, well-earned) events like Edgar nominations, but not all the time.

    Congratulations and, as Robb said, Enjoy!
    Liz
    (who wonders who “critter DONALD” is and why he’s a Captcha.)

  8. EverettK Says:

    In several blogs, you’ve mentioned how you do your best thinking in the shower. I just came across this science article that may have a direct bearing on why that is:

    Stress, Anxiety Both Boon and Bane To Brain

    Their study shows that stress (fear, anxiety) causes certain parts of the brain (perception of dangers around you) to become much more active, and removal of stress causes those areas to be less active and areas for strategic thinking become more active.

    So, when you shower, you’re relaxed, stress and anxiety are washed away, and the ‘strategic’ areas of your brain become much more activated.

    Don’t you feel much better now?

  9. EverettK Says:

    Liz: “critter DONALD” is, of course, “THE Donald,” Tim’s favorite, Mr. Trump.

    [ducking and running]

  10. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Phil, I’ve done all I can to keep film industry at bay, but you know how insistent they are. They circle like sharks. What keeps me up at night is the possibility that one day I’ll relax my vigilance to write or something, and the next thing I know, Poke will be a Canadian woman named Poque and Angelina Jolie will be playing her. With Brad, in Benjamin Button mode, as Miaow.

    The horror.

    Hi, Debbi — yes, I want the whole thing. I love physical books. I love the process of editing, copy editing, design (HarperCollins involved me in every cover), ARCs, the first box of copies – the whole tomato. And I want e-books, too, because between the two I can write as many books as I want, and about any damn thing in the world. Magic time.

    Robb, it’s a good thing you were busy, or the Oscar might have messed with your head, as we used to say. Although your head doesn’t mess as easily as some. It’s an experience I would dearly love to have had, although with the clock ticking triple-time it seems increasingly unlikely. And thank you for saying all those nice things. If I weren’t writing, God only knows what I’d be doing.

    Everett, Sara Barielles has been Madison’s main sound track, but now that she’s moving into more kick-ass territory, Tegan and Sara have also found their way into the mix. What in the WORLD did I do before the iPod? And both the songs you mention are aces.

    Laren, right now, the most important things in my life are:
    1. Munyin
    2. Writing
    3. . . . . .
    If I’m not writing, I’m anxious and creepy, and Mun has to put up with that, and since she’s #1 — well, you see my position. Today I had to drive to Cerritos and tomorrow I’m going to a booksigning by the criminally underrated Edward Wright and after that to dinner with friends, and I’m already anxious about lost time. Hmmm. Writer’s Anonymous, maybe.

    Hi, Liz, and welcome. I love being published traditionally, and I love e-books, but most of all I love writing, even if I am kind of obsessive-compulsive about it. And I thank you for your hope, and please keep your fingers crossed, if you can type that way.

    Everett, that’s very interesting. In Asia, where I write 7-10 hours a day, I sometimes shower 3 or 4 times, just to keep the windows open, so to speak. Very interesting piece.

    And you’re right — Trump had bought reCaptca, and I’m told a new name is in the offing.

  11. EverettK Says:

    Tim said: Sara Barielles has been Madison’s main sound track, but now that she’s moving into more kick-ass territory, Tegan and Sara have also found their way into the mix.

    Is there one album of Tegan and Sara that you would recommend for the desert isle? I’m always open to experiments…

  12. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Everett, Tegan and Sara are so different from Sara Bareilles I hesitate to suggest them. They’re identical (I think) twins who are lesbian and Canadian and who write a very hook-filled and deceptively simple kind of rock. They sing in an odd kind of (mostly) unison, with occasional harmonies.

    Go to Amazon’s mp3 downloads and listen to the samples for “The Con.” See whether they appeal to you. I wrote most of Rose’s part of QUEEN to them, except for the loooonnnngggggg scene in the water, which was all the Ravel Piano Concerto for the Left Hand.

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