Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Born Again as O'Neal
It's really difficult for a writer to master two genres.
Not talking about literary heavyweights like Tom Wolfe, who can write from the point-of-view of an aging real estate tycoon ("A Man in Full") and then from the POV of a poverty-stricken teenage girl. ("I Am Charlotte Simmons.") Along the way, he can pen powerful, enduring essays ("Why Aren't They Writing the Great American Novel Anymore?").
Also, not talking about a novelist/poet/essayist/critic like John Updike who could trace a middle-class man's angst through the four "Rabbit" novels and also write: fantasy cum humor ("The Witches of Eastwick"); a novel about an 18-year-old radicalized Muslim boy ("Terrorist"), and possibly the greatest sports column ever written, ("Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu"). And so many other brilliant pieces.
No, I'm talking about the rest of us. Genre writers. To me, Updike's talents seem like a combination of Mozart and Picasso. How did he do it?
Which brings me to James Born. Okay, Mozart and Picasso...a bit of a stretch. But holy cow, he's just bridged the gap between crime fiction and science fiction. His new novel, "The Human Disguise," written as James O'Neal, just got a smashing review from Oline Cogdill in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
"O'Neal's energetic storytelling is enhanced by wry humor and believable characters who seem realistic. His respect for the tenets of science fiction enables him to make a happy marriage with the police procedural. As Born, this Lake Worth author has delivered some fine crime fiction, including the award-winning Escape Clause. As O'Neal, he shows his mettle in another genre."
To which I will add, James Born a/k/a James O'Neal is the greatest writer within the city limits of Lake Worth, Florida.
GRUMPY OLD WHITE MEN. Why did we hear so little from Dick Cheyney when he was Vice President, and now he won't shut up. Personally, I like having Cheyney, Karl Rove, and Rush Limbaugh as the face (or double chins) of the Republican Party.
INK, INC. Even if the Denver Nutcakes don't beat the Los Angeles Layabouts (and the series is tied 2-2), they clearly win the tattoo competition.
ODD CASTING. A classy road production of the hit musical "Chicago" is in Miami this week. The role of Mama Morton, portrayed by Queen Latifah in the film, is being played by Colombian bombshell Sofia Vergara. It's an odd bit of casting, reminiscent of Michelle Pfeiffer playing the "unattractive" waitress in "Frankie and Johnny." If you have any examples of puzzling casting, I'd love to hear them. In the meantime, in the interest of investigative journalism, I herewith publish photos of the new Mama Morton.
Say, is that James Born headed down I-95 from Lake Worth to Miami...lining up for theater tickets?