Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Life in Revolt

As the rakish, love-struck, sex-obsessed teen hero of the 1993 cult novel “Youth in Revolt,” Nick Twisp encounters all manner of obstacles, including dysfunctional parents, jealous rivals, the Berkeley police and, of course, acne.  Such a raft of challenges are not completely foreign to his creator, C. D. Payne, who has spent significant chunks of his own career struggling, working a series of lousy jobs, living in a trailer for four years and receiving a trail of rejection letters, professional and otherwise. Even with the critical success of “Youth in Revolt” — which he self-published in 1993 and which subsequently became an underground hit — Mr. Payne still couldn’t get a publisher for the book’s three sequels, which he ended up releasing himself. - From the New York Times

Even with the Hollywood release of the movie based on his book series, Mr. Payne is still wary of any success coming his way. "I have no faith that literature is going to pan out on a long-term basis, so I have to have a back-up," he goes on to say.

Yes.  He has a 1964 Airstream trailer filled with oddities and hand-made optical illusions. He tows his trailer around to county fairs charging a few bucks to patrons to walk through his museum. That's the back-up plan.

Not such an inspiring story for an aspiring writer, since my back-up plan was to be a writer! But I do have to admire the man. He seems to be at peace with himself, and he has found another hobby to fill his time - the Eyelusion side show attraction. Yep, I'm already combing through Craigslist to see if anyone is selling one of those aluminum cans on wheels.

His is not the story one envisions when you hear about a movie being made from one's creative work. One thinks of the TV show, Entourage, and the ensuing lifestyle. But I suppose Mr. Payne's life is more realistic. I mean, the guy showed up to his own movie premiere in a truck topped with a camper shell and stayed in a RV park north of Hollywood. It does add a little cachet to his background story, along with some oddity and sadness.

Perhaps, that's where he wants to be and where he feels comfortable. And maybe at his age (60), he just doesn't care about changing his lifestyle. He's been set in his ways, used to rejection, and he's already collected enough campers, mobile homes and trailers to keep him busy renovating for a lifetime.

He does keep writing because, "it was the only thing I tried in life I didn't find boring." But he also didn't make any money at it, so he's supplemented his need to write with bored-senseless jobs over the years.

Well, if that's not living in hell, then I don't know what is.

1 comment:

  1. I think we all spend a great deal of time with bored-senseless jobs. Too bad some of us never get free of them due to steady financial abligations. to many, freedom is living a trailer with no permanent address.