I’m editing a vanity novel
purporting to be filled with James Bond-style international intrigue except the writer lacks (among other things) even the most rudimentary knowledge of Cold War politics; imagine a story about the first successful English colony at Jamestown where, before the colonists boarded the Mayflower
, they stopped at a US consulate and droned on for thirteen badly written pages about the hoops they jumped through to get their H1-B visas.
That’s the level of historic accuracy the novel portrays. And as I plow through the story I suddenly remember my childhood, being seven years old and hanging out with friends the same age. We were all playing Star Wars
and acting out exciting pretend adventures which we resolved with the same level of sophistication my aspiring Ian Fleming displays:
LITTLE JENNIFER: This is Princess Leia! Mayday! Darth Vader and the stormtroopers are attacking the rebel base and the whole planet is surrounded!
FRIEND #1: This is Han Solo! Let’s use our lightsabers to fight them!
FRIEND #2: This is Luke Skywalker! I’ve got my lightsaber! I’ll fight them too!
(All wave sticks serving double-duty as lightsabers, and shout what they imagine to be lightsaber sound effects.)
ALL OF US: Whoosh! Whoosh! Hum!
FRIEND #1: Darth Vader and the stormtroopers are running away!
FRIEND #2: We beat them!
LITTLE JENNIFER: Hooray!
Such suspense! Will our hero escape the bad guys? Whew! Good thing he was able to run really fast and get away!
Actually, my childhood memories had better
plots than this novel, because at least my memories are free of blatant historic inaccuracies. When I talk about my childhood, the stories never sound like this:
FRIEND #2: Take that, Darth Vader!
WHEEZY ASTHMA KID: (inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale
) Luke, I am your father.
LITTLE JENNIFER: You’re not Luke’s dad! That doesn’t happen until Empire Strikes Back
, and since I’m only seven they haven’t started filming it yet.
WHEEZY ASTHMA KID: I swear by my hot ex-wife Natalie Portman it doesn’t matter, because you’ll edit vanity novels when you grow up and run into worse anachronisms than this all the time! Something something something Dark Side.
LITTLE JENNIFER: I will not
! You take that back! (Bonks him on head with lightsaber.
) Take that, too! I just shot you full of electricity and threw you down the big canyon we keep on the Death Star and now you’re dead. So there.
WHEEZY ASTHMA KID: That doesn’t happen until Return of the Jedi
FRIEND #2: Also, you’re thinking of the Emperor.
LITTLE JENNIFER: I don’t care. He started it.
And now, back in the present day, I refer you to the steamy, sexually explicit vanity romance novel I wrote here