This Music Leaves Stains is the first book I’ve had published but it is far from the first book I’ve tried to get published, or thought about trying to get published. Here now, an annotated history of never realized JG2 works.
Untitled Dead Kennedys Biography (2002) – Stalled during the research period thanks to several factors (college course load, punk rock politics, my debilitating lack of experience). I covered the nuts and bolts of this failure for Crawdaddy! in a feature called “Give Me Convenience, Give Me Death, Just Tell Me Your Real Damn Name.” The most interesting aspect may be that I put a letter in the mail addressed “East Bay Ray, San Francisco” and it actually reached the correct guy. Your tax dollars at work.
Star Wars Ruined My Life (2005) – Ten chapter essay collection covering the weirder aspects of Star Wars fandom, including my own struggles with George Lucas’s intergalactic money printing machine (#firstworldproblems). Hired a literary agent but no publisher on Earth was interested. I didn’t have a “built-in audience,” which meant my blog statistics were not impressive enough to warrant anything. This era was the beginning of “co-opt every popular thing from the Internet to stave print’s death!” I’m sure my medium talent was also an issue (I know the manuscript lacked punch / direction). I absolutely cannot remember why but for some reason I e-mailed Jay Mohr about this book; he sent a very encouraging reply peppered with some of his theories on Boba Fett, which justified my struggle.
Untitled Oral History Of My Middle School Experience (2005) – An interesting twist on the adolescent memoir (I think): interview a bunch of people I grew up with to see how their worldview around that time differed from mine, turning the whole thing into an oral history with several narrative tracks. My lit agent loved this idea and really ramped me up about it, but then Star Wars Ruined My Life didn’t go anywhere. Representation cut me loose and without a cheerleader I cooled on the concept. Compiled about a chapter and a half, though, and several people I hadn’t spoken to since 1994 taught me a lot about where we grew up and life in general.
Untitled Field Guide To Discontinued Soft Drinks (2007-08) – New Coke, Pepsi AM, OK, DnL…I thought the world needed a comprehensive encyclopedia of every soda that’s ever fallen off the figurative / literal map. Unfortunately, the stories behind these drinks are all more or less the same (they failed because they were bad and nobody bought them), and when it came down to pitching this book few people understood what exactly what I was talking about. “Oh, like a coffee table book with pictures of the sodas?” No, a field guide. Like for birds. Maybe this idea is terminally flawed.
Untitled “Gong Show” Episode Guide (2006) – An excuse to track down average weirdos and hear about their experiences on the greatest televised competition of all-time. I think I concluded too many former “Gong Show” contestants / employees would be dead, and I also worried about the book’s marketability. Chuck Barris was hot in ’06, but how long would that last?
Untitled “Simpsons” History (2009) – At the time a lot of rumors were swirling about “The Simpsons” finally coming to an end. That didn’t happen, but I abandoned this idea mainly because I heard Morgan Spurlock was making a “Simpsons” documentary. Had I known his end product would be some gimmicky forty-five minute nonsense instead of the in-depth feature length “Simpsons” doc we deserve maybe I wouldn’t have jumped ship.
My Life Is A Screenplay! (2010) – The high school teacher who semi-successfully sued 20th Century Fox for plagiarizing his Christmas comedy script read my post about Jingle All The Way being a cursed property and e-mailed me with an offer to co-write a book about his life. I had just started work on This Music Leaves Stains so I had to turn him down. There also didn’t seem to be much else in his life aside from “I sued a movie studio and won but then they took the money back.” Also, that title. Woof.
Naturally I reserve the right to resurrect any of these properties at a future juncture. You never know when Chuck Barris might be hot again.
A: In the center of the store there must be such a gross amount of Surge twelve packs left over from 1997 that the employees have fashioned it all to look like some world famous landmark, like the Taj Mahal or the Parthenon. They also must take out singular cans and have them about the perimeter of said display like little people, dressed in the appropriate costumes (for instance, if it’s the Parthenon, little togas and laurel wreaths).
Next to that, there must be an aisle of Star Wars DVDs / Blu-Rays featuring the original three movies—Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi—in their unaltered theatrical form. A bonus disc must be bundled with these DVDs containing the alternate version of Revenge of the Sith I literally dreamed one night in 2005; centered around some sort of mystical time capsule on Hoth, my subconscious version of Sith magically explains away all the frustrating bullshit from the first two Star Wars prequels and is infinitely more captivating than any frame of the real movie.
The in-house music must be playing the Zeke discography and the Wal-Mart staff must be comprised of Pam Grier, Charo, Elvira, Rip Taylor, Jodie Foster, Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, John Gemberling, and E.T. era Drew Barrymore. I must be driven to this Wal-Mart (the exterior of which must also feature a mural celebrating my life’s accomplishments) in the original Ectomobile by Annie Potts. When I finish checking out, Chuck Barris must come out from behind a curtain to smash me in the face with a creme pie.
“Jaye P. Mor-gone!” Barris must exclaim. “What do you think of James Greene’s purchases?”
Jaye P. Morgan must then appear to say something withering.