Letter to my editor,
With the sudden controversy over James Frey's so-called "exaggerations" in "A Million Little Pieces" I thought we might be in big trouble. After all, my massive recovery memoir "Oh Yeah? You and Whose Army." is supposed to come out next week.
But now, thanks to the humility of Mr. Frey on Larry King, and thanks also to Oprah's brilliant defense of him on the same episode, I think we should definitely go ahead and publish my non-fiction memoir without changing one single word. Obviously, our readers will understand that even though we say it's "non-fiction," clearly I have the right -- as the author -- to exaggerate a little, distort a lot, and, you know, just completely pull a wide assortment of facts right out of my ass. That's what Mr. Frey did and, as he put it, as long as it's connected to some "emotional truth," that's okay.
But before we go to press, I thought I should clear up some "facts" in my book, you know, just between us:
One: I did not technically drink an entire bottle of Tuaca, slip over the ivy-gilded walls of the St. Anne's convent and carnally seduce every virginal nun lying therein. Not true. Emotionally true, yes, very, very emotionally true, but factually true, mmn, no. I think we should include it anyway.
Also, as far as eating the worm in twenty Austin bars on January 4th, 2003 and then fighting off seventeen Texas Rangers with nothing but my bare fists and a heart full of rattlesnake's venom there in the deserted parking lot of a Whataburger, while that may not have actually happened (I actually think I was at home watching the Flyers on TV that night) there's a sort of Chuck Norris emotional truth to the event that I think a lot of people need to hear.
Truthfully, I probably didn't blow away the entire staff of a TGIF on a hot Friday evening with a sawed-off shotgun and then flee like a savage -- drenched in their blood -- across three state lines while snorting coke off the dashboard. Actually, as I think about it now, I was watching the Flyers that night too, but let's keep it in the book anyway, because I think it says a lot about my state of mind back then. A very Tarantino state of mind. One that a lot of people must suffer from.
Now that I think about it, I probably didn't beat my mother to death with the blunt end of a fire poker five years ago. I'm actually pretty sure I didn't. I mean, I just saw her last week and she was looking great. She brought by some coffee cake and an old Erma Bombeck paperback she thought my girlfriend might like. But still, let's print it. I think the idea that I could kill my mom and then get over it, you know, by just "hanging on," could really help people. And my mom won't mind, she's just happy I'm getting the book published. It's a job, right? My dad's proud too. (Oh yeah, for the record, he's also okay, I know I say "I chopped him up like raw chipped beef with the business-end of a chainsaw" on page 142 but really, only metaphorically.)
So anyway, I guess those are all the important details to clear up. My girlfriend also says I should mention that I didn't really kill the whore in Vegas, drown the dog in the shallow waters of the Rio Grande, or shoot the man in Reno just to watch him die. There, I said it, so what? In the end, it's just my story, the story of one man's cry for help, and a million made-up victims I imagined falling all around me, you know, for dramatic texture.
I honestly don't see what the big deal is, it's only non-fiction, right?