Rub a dub dub
Three men in a tub
And who do you think they be?
The butcher, the baker
And all of them lost at sea.
Aboard the spy ship U.S.S. Argosy in the war-tossed waters off the coast of Vietnam, three young American sailors form an unlikely bond. Each has fled an America they were raised to love but somehow no longer understand. When forced to choose whether to face combat or stay and fight the war in the streets, they sign up for a war that reflected the conflict that raged inside each of them. The one thing of which they were certain was that the only people in the world that they could depend on were each other.
As their friendship deepens in bars and brothels from Hong Kong to Subic Bay, Ernie Brigham and his companions slowly become aware of a dark secret aboard the U.S.S. Argosy. Upon their return to the America they left behind, they are changed at best, lost and damaged at worst, but ultimately sobered by a war that never should have been fought.
In the tradition of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried
, Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke
, and Phillip Caputo’s A Rumor of War
, The Candlestickmaker
recalls a Vietnam that seared disenchantment into a post World War II generation who learned to question authority at all levels. A coming-of-age story bookended by shocking revelations that shatter illusions about patriotism, government and the nature of modern warfare, The Candlestickmaker
takes readers on a voyage that will guarantee they never read the Mother Goose nursery rhyme in the same way again.
Bob & friend
I've been on the road, in the stacks, on the Internet and down in the courtroom basements of America researching and writing my Dylan biography for over three years now and the Bob I've been finding is not the one we've come to know. A poet to be sure, and one of our finest, but an all-too-human recluse too with much to hide. I fill my days with Dylan now, parsing, interviewing, matching facts with Bob's fictive spin in hopes of producing a definitive biography. I thought I'd be closer to the finish line by now, but me, I am still on the road, heading for another joint, and despite Bob's recent six-book deal, I'll tell it from a different point of view...
Five years ago, I signed with Peter Jones Productions
as consulting producer on a two-hour PBS documentary based on my biography of Otis Chandler
, "Privileged Son: Otis Chandler and the Rise and Fall of the L.A. Times Dynasty." "Inventing L.A.: The Chandlers and their Times" which premiered on "American Experience" in October of 2009, is an ambitious reprise of the generation by generation history of the once-great Los Angeles Times and its publishers who, arguably, created modern day Los Angeles from a pueblo that Gen. Harrison Otis first called home in 1881. The tale tracks the career of the General's son-in-law Harry Chandler, one of the inspirations for Robert Towne's Noah Cross character in the classic L.A. noir film "Chinatown", followed by the quintessential L.A. power couple Norman and Dorothy Buffum Chandler, and culminates in the ascension of their son Otis to the Publisher's Suite in 1960. Last spring, "Inventing L.A." was honored with a George Peabody Award for excellence in television broadcasting.
Our shack out East in the Tennessee wilderness...
I once lived and wrote near the sea, more specifically in Long Beach, California, but insane traffic and a general decline in the environment made me relocate to Memphis eight years ago. A bit of my heart will always remain along the Los Angeles coastline where I was born and spent most of my life, witnessing the slow decade-by-decade dissipation of Eden by the Sea.
But turns out Memphis is not only the home of the blues, Elvis and the finest barbeque on the planet. It's also green -- Tennessee is, in fact, the greenest state in the land of the free; Davy Crockett got that much right. Our manse isn't moss covered, but it does have a lot of the other attributes of Southern comfort: oaks, poplar, hickory, deer, fox, wild turkeys and a host of other varmints, including armadillos, gopher snakes and coyote. There is no traffic. L.A. freeways are a distant memory and outside of the pollen, the air is clean and the water plentiful. It is a far cry from living in an asphalt desert. Doesn't mean it's flawless. Humidity and heat would make it unlivable for a California boy were it not for air conditioning. But with it, Memphis is mighty fine, mighty fine indeed.
Memphis is a good place to write and that is what I'm doing. John Wiley & Sons published my biography of Jack Nicholson and his career in film, and Five Easy Decades
is on the shelves now.
Watch for updates here on DYLAN
, the latest on my Vietnam era novel The Candlestickmaker
, a little project called "The Acid Chronicles," and more.