Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What am I doing here?

In 2013 I became fascinated with the one degree of separation between Mark Twain and Arthur Conan Doyle.  

Twain loaned his neighbor William Gillette money to start his theatrical career. Around 1899 Gillette's company bought the stage rights to the Sherlock Holmes character. (Doyle had killed off Holmes in 1893 and wouldn't bring him back until 1903.)  Gillette went on to play Holmes over 1300 times on stage.

I had a story idea for the discovery of a lost Twain manuscript about Holmes in the old west. (There was such a Twain story, but it parodied Holmes mercilessly. It was called The Double Barreled Detective Story.  I wanted to do something with the Holmes that we all know.)   Doing my best to emulate Twain, I wrote three chapters narrated by a Kansas farm boy who goes off to college and ends up as the assistant to an English lecturer. Of course the boy is dragged into mysteries solved by the brilliant but peculiar Englishman. .I was going to call the book Games Afoot:The Lost Games

Somewhere in there I realized I didn't have the chops to do a whole book in the voice of America's most famous writer.  I once read a thing that said one learns to write in relationship to an audience. I started doing comedy open mic nights. I wrote short pieces that could come in at under five minutes. Some of these are Twain related. I hope to put together the Twain bits into a stage show called Visitor from the Past. 

I hope I finish Games Afoot some day. If I don't, the journey of writing and performing short pieces has been satisfying in ways I couldn't have predicted. 

In 2014, when the project had steam, I actually had some audio commercials made to promote the book.   They may never be used, but here they are for your listening pleasure. 

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