The big mistake with my first book was writing it. Forty years later it is still in contention for the Worst Book Ever Published award. But I needed the money. And what the heck, with three small children and a husband who was more interested in booze than in holding down a job, a book contract looked pretty good. It was a putative biography of a highly unimaginative and thoroughly boring (burn this blog) corporate CEO who will remain nameless. The contract may have pointed out, in small print, that I was never going to be permitted to meet my subject; all I noticed was the $750, which, in the roaring 1960s was big bucks. The contract was arranged and delivered by the head of the public relations department of this thoroughly boring corporation. His name appears on the finished product in larger type than mine. I finally figured out he wanted to be sure he made maximum points with the subject, and more power to him. He would deliver puff pieces, I would arrange them into prose. The finished product, filled with photos of the important subject with important people doing important things, cannot be described in words but I’ll try: vapid, boring, pompous, overblown, tedious, did I say boring? The good news is that both of the above gentlemen have gone to their rewards in the big board room in the sky, utterly delighted (I was told) with the finished product. The further good news is that, barring the unlikely existence of any remaining copies of the thing on shelves of disinterested grandchildren, I now own the only extant copy of this book, and you will never see it in public. Unless, of course, it does eventually win the WBEP award and there’s money involved. (The children are grown and the replacement husband is without peer; still, money talks.) In that event, I will appear anonymously in my burqa.
Causes Fran Johns Supports
Compassion & Choices of N.CA
San Francisco Interfaith Council