Friday, December 27, 2013

Why a tiger?

Here'e the press release for my next Penguin, which audaciously takes on the theme of comedy and how it unites and divides us. Hmm yes. That's why we put a tiger on the cover.

On my website you will find a book called My Extraordinary Life and Death. I used an old trick, where I added silly captions to some unlikely pictures, in order to build up a story. Here is the finished product.

I started doing it on my blog for Inside a Dog, the website of The Centre for Youth Literature at The Melbourne State Library. I was supposed to blog about my life three times a week, but really there wasn’t enough to blog about. I don’t review books, so I couldn’t fill my blog with literary critique.

I became obsessed with Project Gutenberg, the on-line repository for books that are out of copyright and therefore free to the public to download. One particular title, ‘Banbury Chapbooks’ gave me a vast quantity of curious pictures that assisted me in coming up with a bizarre story of my life. Here are some examples of pictures that caught my eye and suggested curious moments from someone's insane biography.

I know it sounds easy to make a story out of pics with silly captions, but it wasn’t. I’ll see if I can explain why.


The theme of Tigers on the Beach is comedy and how it unites and divides us. Just to remind you, Tigers on the Beach is my next Penguin novel, not the collage book we are currently discussing, for the purpose of analysing comedy, something that Mark Twain suggested you should never do.

Paul Collins owns and runs an independent publishing company, and we're very glad he does, because it gives us authors one more shot at getting published. Paul has been of great help to a number of authors and illustrators, and continues to publish with enthusiasm and aplomb. His books always look good, largely due to Paul’s strong working relationship with designer Grant Gittus. When Paul saw my blog story about the bizarre things that purportedly have happened to me in My Extraordinary Life and Death he very kindly offered to publish it as a book. I wasn’t sure about this, until Grant Gittus showed me how the book would be treated. It looked fantastic, so I went about the task of augmenting the story, and giving the whole thing a ‘comedy pass’. (That’s a film and TV script editor’s term. It simply means adding more and better jokes.)

I wanted to make the book as funny as possible. Which brings us to why it wasn’t easy to do this book. Everyone insists they have a sense of humour, but everyone’s is different. I did about seven versions of My Extraordinary Life and Death, all of which reside on my hard drive. I think a couple of them are actually funnier than the finished product. The reason I had to redo the book over and over is that Paul and his entourage (he tends to rely on quite a few helpful people and has interns) kept disagreeing with me on what was actually funny. I suppose that when comedy is presented so simply – a picture with a funny caption – everyone believes they can do it and that their way is better.

There was stuff that I thought we could lose, for the benefit of the overall ‘story’, but other people wanted to keep it. And I was obsessive about ‘plotting’ the book so that it really did cover an entire life. I had a war chapter and a school chums chapter, which I thought were both good, along with a few pages describing how the subject of the story (‘me’) made his vast fortune, enabling him to lead a life of eccentric luxury. But some people wanted to drop these chapters. I remember arguing with Paul about whether to use the word ‘tavern’ or ‘pub’ for this picture:

Paul wanted to use ‘tavern’ because it was more suitable to the Victorian period in which the story seems to take place. And of course ‘tavern’ means ‘pub’. Most people would know that. So why did I fight for ‘pub’ instead of ‘tavern’? I’ve finally worked out what bothers me about ‘tavern’. It’s a fine and elegant word but it trips up the reader.  One is inclined to linger just a moment too long, meaning the rhythm of the joke is lost. Jokes are like music. And even the best gag in the world can collapse in an embarassing heap if the person who tells it doesn’t have the timing or understand the joke’s ‘music’. Arguing about this page became symptomatic of the whole book. I got angrier and angrier. So did the Ford Street gang until they started giving notes like, ‘None of us thinks this is funny’, to which I would respond , ‘I’m sorry, but I do believe it’s funny and it’s my bloody book, etc.’ A sort of compromise was struck where we made a website that people could visit and see the chapters that were deleted. I really like the one about war. And there are four pages in the ‘general offcuts’, involving how the book’s subject made such vast quantities of money. We'll come to those missing portions in a moment. I was pretty happy with the end product, and we certainly got our fair share of good reviews. One overenthuiastic critic even sompared it favourably with a new release from Joseph Heller.

The critic was clearly bonkers.

Here is a link that actually will get you to the secret missing chapters of My Extraordinary Life and Death. Don't get too excited. It's not like we just found Fury From the Deep in Ethiopia.

Paul works tirelessly to promote his product.  I did more interviews for My Extraordinary Life and Death than I have for any pf my other books. I’ve bought a fair bit of stock from Paul, because I don’t like to think that he is losing money on my title, which he was brave enough to bring into his stable. But he surely must be. I haven’t seen the book anywhere except on the odd sale table. I guess one of the problems is that the book is so beautifully made and designed, that it’s rather expensive. I had hoped that the book would be a ten dollar wonder, like the current crop of ‘Popular Penguins’. I think the book would have had a much happier and more commercial life if we had kept the unit price down. The quality of paper and binding is simply far too good for such a silly joke. It retails for twenty dollars, and I would urge you to buy it, if only to keep Ford Street from going under. Although you probably will get a few laughs out of it. Andy Griffiths, who knows a few things about comedy, is a fan, and the Oscar-winning movie director Adam Elliot has also sent me a lovely email, completely unsolicited, about how much he likes the book’s comedy.

I have an embarrassingly long history of producing mass market TV comedy shows. Look me up on IMDB. I’ve also written quite a few ‘funny’ novels for young adults. I got some kudos for a funny book called The Life of a Teenage Body-snatcher. I have the runs on the board, so to speak. The Australian Writers Guild even awarded me a citation for my contribution to Australian comedy.
This is what a citation looks like. And holding it is what we call a comedy writer. They never look happy, even when holding a citation.

It’s an award that many of my former employees would probably dispute. But it’s still a bloody award that I can hold up to the world to boast, ‘I’m good at comedy. I always have been.  And I bloody know why pub is funny and tavern isn’t in the context of page 110 of My Extraordinary Life and Death.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

More Fun with Rehab

Dear reader,
I'm making brilliant progress in stroke rehab. Today I want to present you with one of the exercises.
(It's okay, I'm not breaking any rules.) My therapist gave me a block of type that had been badly punctuated. There was barely a full stop in the whole thing. Anyway, my job was to make it read like English and retype it. It struck me as I was doing the work that the prose had a surreal beauty about it. It was basically telling people what to do on days where some sporting event you don't like is taking place. It's not an article that was created to be taken seriously, or they wouldn't have made the references to Julie Andrews. Everything under EXERCISE is my corrected version of the copy.

Julie Andrews shows her obvious contempt for gridiron.

Everything under ADDENDUM is the instruction I felt I had to add, just in case readers didn't get the gist of the article. In other words, it was me just pissing about. My therapist pointed out that I had made some mistakes in rendering the content of the exercise, but that it seemed like I hadn't made any goofs in the addendum, which I guess means I preferred typing it. I wanted to make my therapist laugh. She did, then we continued with Mathematics for Living. (I can't put those on the blog for two reasons. They are copyrighted for medical use only and they are as interesting as algae.)

Anyway, here we go with the exercise, which I believe Basil Fawlty would describe as a journey into the bleeding obvious.   

You don’t have to be a football fan to love Super Bowl Sunday. You can have a terrific time without ruining the game for others. ‘It’s actually a great day for non-football fans,’ says Julie Andrews, author of A Woman’s Guide to Football. You can go places and do things in relative peace because so many people will be wrapped up in the game.  So, plan your activities and leave the football fans to their entertainment. Here are Julie’s suggestions for having a super time during the January 28 Super Bowl:
Celebrate the end of the season by throwing a party for your non-football friends, with plenty of food, music and fun activities. Have the party at the home of someone who has no fans in the house, so you won’t be disturbing any serious football-lovers, Julie advises. Rent videos you’ve been wanting to see. It’s a good day to get those hard-to-find movies that are always out.  Enjoy them with your favourite snacks in a room away from the gridiron fans.  Go somewhere you usually avoid because of crowds. Shopping malls, amusement parks, hit movies and other attractions will be less crowded because the Super Bowl keeps many people away. Find a quiet place to enjoy one of those books you’ve been meaning to read. This could be a quiet time when you can read without interruption. Spend time with a friend who’s not a football fan. Plan an entire day that includes lunch at your favourite restaurant and other activities that the two of you will enjoy together. Consider joining the football festivities if you don’t really hate the game, but you don’t understand it enough to be a fan. Take some time before the super Bowl to learn about football. Julie suggests it’s not that difficult and you may discover you actually enjoy it.

Things to avoid when planning your special non-Super Bowl Day:

Do not have your special gathering in the sporting arena where the game is actually being played as there will almost definitely be crowds there and you will find yourself in the very situation you were trying to avoid! If you have an acid-throwing machine at your house, make sure to switch it off before your non-Super Bowl activities take place. You probably shouldn’t have an acid-throwing machine anyway, as Julie Andrews argues at some length in her recent two volume bestseller, Don’t waste your Money on Stupid, Dangerous Machinery that throws Acid.

Julie Andrews adds with a note of caution that it is considered exceedingly poor form not to attend the Super Bowl if you are actually a gridiron player on one of the two teams competing. Also, remember that many people go to the game as a family, which of course will mean that their homes are vacant for the afternoon. Seize the opportunity to burgle these houses as you will meet little resistance, and you may also come away with quite a substantial swag of contraband. It is best to steal small, valuable things that are easily transported. Julie Andrews suggests it is unwise to steal refrigerators as these are large, cumbersome and difficult to maneuver. You will find it easier to hock items such as jewelry and up-to-date electronic equipment. If your husband insists on attending the Super Bowl, despite your imploring that he spend time with you, then you may care to pursue couples counselling, or indeed shooting him if this does not render positive results. Though Julie Andrews is quick to remind her readers that murdering your husband can lead to all manner of complications. There is also the very real possibility that your bullet may miss and Hubby may return fire, leaving you dead and bleeding on the settee. Hardly the Super Bowl celebration one would hope for! Toodle-pip!

Monday, November 25, 2013

And now … in new, improved GERMAN flavour

I’m not going to bore any of you with a definition of  onomatopoeia, because most of you already know, and if you don’t, it doesn’t especially matter. In my very first verse book that I wrote for Penguin (it was called In the Garden of Badthings and it was a long time ago) one of the verses is nothing but a collection of nonsense words.
My first book of verse with Penguin. It's still in print, if you go for that kind of thing.

 The verse is called A Swamp Romp, and, when read aloud, it’s meant to sound like trudging through a swamp. That’s all there is. There’s no sharp sting in the tail, and nobody dies in a peculiar way. (I was a little surprised when I read my second book of Penguin verse, The Fed Up Family Album. Just about every character ends up dying in a weird way. 
My second book of verse with Penguin. A complete bloodbath. The corpse count is higher than Romeo and Juliet, which manages to knock off all the teen characters except one.

People are devoured by shearing machines, or expunged by sculptures made of plumbing. One cousin meets her demise in a knitting machine, and another in a coffin perched on roller skates. It didn’t occur to me at the time that  the book is fixated on death, yet purports to be funny. A critic called David Tickell gave me a really hard time about it, and I now see why. I’m also amazed that I can remember such a dreary name as David Tickell after all these years. We pretend the bad notices don’t bother us, but of course they do. If David Tickell were a character in the Fed up Family Album he’d die a particular nasty and bizarre death, no doubt involving machinery. And yet he’s probably a perfectly nice person. We always pretend to believe that, as well. He’s obviously not a nice person. He’s a troglodyte, a reprobate and that 'c' word that I never use. CRITIC. We seem to have wandered off the point a bit. Here is the original version of A Swamp Romp as it featured in In The Garden of Badthings. (There's an illustration too but you really don't need to worry about that.)

Makes no sense at all. Really doesn’t work unless you’re prepared to read it aloud and indulge a horribly precocious author.

To my knowledge, none of my work has been translated into any wonderfully exotic language, not even French. The Night Before Mother’s Day was translated into American English by the painless rendering of ‘Mum’ as ‘Mom’. I was surprised when Penguin told me that someone wanted to translate one of my poems into German. I was even more surprised when I learned that the poem they wanted was A Swamp Romp, which really can’t be translated from English, since it’s not actually in English to begin with. I wished them all the best and was startled to find out, eventually,  what a good job somebody had done of translating Anglish nonsense into German nonsense. Here’s the German version. (And German really is the ideal language to use if you’re going to create the impression of trudging through a swamp.) Eins, zwei, drei …

I'm immensely flattered that someone went to all the trouble of making English onomatopoeia into German onomatopoeia. Here's the German book …

And here's the monster that apparently makes all those German onomatopoeic noises:

And here is the finished cover art of my next Penguin novel, Tigers on the Beach. It's due out early next year.

Pretty, isn't it? The book will investigate such topics as why there are so many weird deaths in a book that is meant to be funny (The Fed up Family Album, not Tigers on the Beach). Yes, it's a book about comedy.


Friday, September 27, 2013

The Loneliness of Liz Lemon

I love 30 Rock, the series created by Tina Fey, based on her experience as a script producer on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Tina Fey’s beautifully nuanced character is called Liz Lemon, and she has a fairly ambivalent view if her job. But she is very sure about one thing. In the show she has a team of writers working for her and they all hate her. Surely this is paranoia? Why would they all hate someone who basically wants to do a good job and behave like a decent human being? The actors try to beguile her with the usual charming tricks that actors use to get what they want. But the writers’ hatred for Liz Lemon is blatant.

Liz Lemon is right about all her writers hating her.
And I know that, because I used to have her job. Okay, the show was Full Frontal and not Saturday Night Live. But my job on Full Frontal was to say ‘No.’

And that’s a terrible job. People will often do anything but say that word, because they know what it leads to. I was the script producer on Full Frontal for a couple of years, where my task was to prepare for air one hour of sketch comedy per week. And it had to be ‘heartland’ sketch comedy. That is to say, the jokes had to appeal to people who live outside the inner city. These outlers actually had to like it. Programmers arrogantly tell you, ‘We make shows for the people we fly over.’ This creates all sorts of problems. First of all, if you’re working in comedy in Melbourne, none of your close friends lives outside the inner city, unless they have farms or islands. So, it’s 1996 and every week I’m getting nagged by my many, many friend about why the show is so lame. I sort of shrug and give a goofy smile that I think is endearing but probably is as annoying as an Andy Mcdowell simper. And I remind myself that I’m being quite well paid by people who want me to deliver them a rating of around 18 per week on a regular basis. And that’s what Full Frontal used to get. So, stuff the inner city, there were obviously a lot of people in the suburbs who were watching Full Frontal week after week, and why the hell would they do that if they didn’t think it was funny?

 One year we employed the excellent New Zealand-born comedian Alan Brough as a core writer for the show. I fell in love with Alan, just like everyone does. He’s ridiculously charismatic. And yes, he’s very funny. You can also talk with him about literature if you want, because he actually reads, though my main aim was to extract from him two minutes of broadcast-quality comedy script material per week. At first I was sure it wouldn’t be hard. He was sweet, clever and funny. He also didn’t seem like other sketch writers. He bathed, he cared about how he dressed, he flossed, and he was polite.  I was staggered by the air of politeness the gentle giant brought to the scuzzy writers’ room in Dorcas Street. When Alan picked up a ringing phone, he didn’t give the usual Dave O’Neil ‘Yeah?’ He actually told the ringer which extension they had reached and asked to whom would they like to speak. At first I thought it was some sort of wind-up, but I’m now convinced it was all quite genuine. I think Alan was just born nice, like a lot of New Zealanders. I was reasonably sure I’d have no trouble talking him through a script, maybe suggesting a rewrite, or getting him to liaise with the performers, since his script would have a better chance of being filmed if a performer was particularly keen on doing it.

I’m not affable. I thought I was, but I’m not. And I discovered that Alan Brough isn’t affable either – at least not when you say ‘No’. I was so dumb, I didn’t get it at first. I asked the other writers what had happened to Alan? Why had he stopped being nice? Things not going well at home? Some relative fall into a mud spring? Pesky outbreak of ebola virus? The writers thought I was being disingenuous, or probably an easier word that means deceitful. Surely I knew why Alan Brough had started hating me. ‘Hate’ is probably too strong a … no, we’ll stick with that. Finally Anthony Watt, who is one of those sketch writers with a pretty impressive education behind him and who ended up producing ABC’s The Spicks and The Specks, explained to me that I had rejected a script from Alan. Alan hated me for the same reason that all the writers hated me. I had said no. Actually, knowing how keen I was to foster better producer/writer relations, I had probably given Alan a whole page of notes as well, maybe even grand final tickets. (We were working at Seven, after all, and there were usually good tickets to the tennis, the footy and even the Olympics – though not, oddly, The Logies, even in a year that we were nominated (it hurts, and it’s on my website, in the ‘Commercial break’ section, if you’re interested. I didn’t think so). I know I would have been polite to Alan, even though I had not used his work. Because, dammit, I wanted lovely big funny Alan to like me. I had heard reports of other script producers who had been so despised by their employees that they had been forced into a graceless retirement up north somewhere, maybe teaching the odd class in Advanced Irony at a TAFE college.  But I was determined that wasn’t going to happen to me. I’d be the ‘nice’ script producer. But unfortunately, as I was soon to learn, you’re only nice if you say ‘yes’ and if that means we spend a lot of money shooting a sketch that stiffs and that I’ve greenlighted, then everybody, not just the writers, will stop liking me.

What amazed me was the speed of Alan’s transformation. I’d only rejected a script for god's sake, I hadn’t told him that his mother had a face like a bashed crab.

I didn’t truly realise the depth of this writerly resentment until I attended Anthony Watt’s wedding and found myself listening to four speeches, all of which were delivered by members of Full Frontal’s writing staff and all of which included a cheap swipe at me about what a bastard I was.

Shaun Micallef was such a rare and wonderful find that I not only wanted him to like me, I wanted him to write an awful lot of sketch material every week. He and Gary McCaffrie were easily the best writers we had. I had been known to schedule Shaun Micallef sketches without them even existing, confident in the knowledge that Shaun would come up with something.  And Shaun was, indeed, the picture of what Alan Brough had originally been. He was courteous. He never stuck a phone receiver down the back of his shorts to scratch his arse. (Neither did Dave O’Neil, but I swear I once saw one of my writers do that.) Of course, it helped that Shaun was a strong performer and he would be the one delivering the material, so he had a vested interest in making the thing go as well as possible. Shaun Micallef will do absolutely anything for comedy. He has been shaved completely bald on a ‘live night’ for a gag, the nub of which  escapes me. He has walked through the South Melbourne Shopping Precinct stark, bollock naked except for a police cap and boots. The sketch wasn’t the best we’ve done, but you have to admire courage like that that. He has also done some of the most dangerous slapstick I have ever seen in front of a studio audience. I had to make discreet enquiries about whether Channel Seven would be liable to compensate Shaun (a lawyer, don’t forget) in the event of his damaging himself. I was more concerned about losing the show’s main engine. Without Shaun we really wouldn’t have a show. He was always nice, even when I had to drop sketches that hadn’t quite worked though they were ‘conceptually funny’. Shaun never used that expression. He’s not as pretentious as I am. No one is.

A brief detour. Producer Alan Hardy has had a brilliant career. I believe he ‘discovered’ Kylie Minogue. She was under a chair somewhere.  Though Alan was always doing great work, he was forever known as ‘the son of Frank Hardy’. It’s one of the bugbears of having a famous parent. And now that Frank is no longer the behemoth he once was, Alan is now faced with another bugbear. He is now known as the father of Marique Hardy, yet another behemoth who happens to be his daughter. I sat with Alan recently, though it can’t have been that recently because we drank a fair bit and I haven’t done that for a while. We were chatting like a couple of old luvvies about Shaun Micallef, when Alan mentioned an anecdote that Shaun had told at some conference somewhere. Someone complimented him, quite rightly, on the quality of his first ABC sketch series. Had it been hard to do? Shaun replied that it wasn’t that hard to do, since it had already been written. He had simply used all his sketches that had been rejected from Full Frontal. Alan seemed to think this was incredibly funny. (So, I gather, did the audience at the conference.)  I did not think it was incredibly funny because it was untrue and wrong, wrong, wrong. (Wow. Sorry about the font change but this hurts.) I won’t be accused of being the man who turned down plasticine ‘Myron’, a mini masterpiece that certainly would have been absorbed and, inevitably overwhelmed by Full Frontal.

That first ABC Micallef series really was a belter and I hated the notion that I had rejected that much good stuff. I’ve never told Shaun I'm upset about what he apparently said at the conference. It would be awkward, so I had to pretend that I could take it on the chin, just as all the comedy workers have to do. The loneliness of Liz Lemon. How well I understand it.

 Not long ago, Shaun did a magazine interview about how dispiriting it was to join Full Frontal, especially as he had submitted thirty scripts on his first go, and they had all been rejected – the reader inferred, quite summarily. He’s right, I did reject them, but I didn’t actually throw them into a fire while brandishing a crucifix, I rejected them courteously. I don’t know if it really was thirty scripts, though it wouldn’t surprise me, as Shaun’s annual scriptfall is huge. There were certainly a lot of scripts in his first submission. But I do remember sitting with Shaun in his first week and telling him that I thought the material he had submitted was very funny (undoubtedly most of it was) but that I was concerned it might not appeal to our show’s target audience, who might not be as familiar with the movie Greystoke  as Shaun evidently was. One of Full Frontal’s trademarks was a weekly - usually dire - TV or movie parody. If we did a movie parody it had to be something like Star Wars; any movie that was ludicrously well known, or ‘our audience wouldn’t understand.’ (I had that direct from the Seven boardroom boys. Channel Seven viewers apparently did not go to movies, perhaps in fear that they might accidentally end up seeing an Australian one.) Now, Shaun had chosen to write a parody of a movie that was not only ‘arthouse’ but that had also been made in 1984, twelve years before our meeting. There were jokes that not even the most ardent of  Christopher Lambert fans – and there must be dozens - wouldn’t have got. Most of our viewers would have been around four in 1984 and probably thrilling more to the wit and wisdom of Owly School than an elegant retelling of the Edgar Rice Burroughs tale of the mysteriously cross-eyed boy who was raised by apes and eventually brought into society. Anyway, Shaun seemed affable enough about my gentle rejection, and, thank god, he kept writing for me. Though he pointedly resisted writing show or movie parodies since he rather detested them. There was an incident … I remember casting Shaun in a live night presentation of a parody based on the Fran Drescher series, The Nanny. It turned out that cast member Kitty Flanagan could do a pretty good impersonation of Nanny Fran Fein’s laugh. Anyway, a script was produced by four of Full Frontal’s regular writers.  I tried to make it as painless as possible for Shaun by adding a few good jokes for him – though I recall it wasn’t a solid-gold script and was probably just a limp parody highlighting Australia’s ineffably stupid government. We used that same formula for nearly every parody. I wonder if anyone noticed? I thought that, in a way, casting Shaun was an act of flattery. After all, we needed a handsome performer to play the debonair Mr Sheffield, and while cast member Eric Bana was certainly handsome, he just didn’t have the ‘class’ that Shaun had. And John Walker was so small he could only play ants. Anyway, the sketch was never aired, or indeed completed. Shaun found it impossible to deliver a single line correctly and seemed to have suddenly developed Alzheimer’s. I think it was Shaun’s secret  message to me that he would be writing his own material from then on. Actually, it would have been better if he’d actually told me this to my face, since we had already spent a motzer on a set that passably resembled the set in the original  TV show, wardrobe had sourced some suitably outrageous stuff for the Fran Fein (Kitty) to wear, and make-up had spent hours trying to get our regular cast to look like the cast of the famous American sitcom highlighting the talents of Fran Drescher. Musician Yuri Worontschak had already written a soundalike of the show’s theme song. I really, really wish Shaun had said ‘No.’ But maybe he didn’t want me to get offended.

Years later, in an awkward turning of tables, Shaun asked me to submit material for his new SBS sketch program, Newstopia.  I knew that it was probably a mistake, but I did agree to submit some stuff and my name even appears on the IMDB writing credits of the show, even though nothing of mine went to air. There’s a good reason for this. I felt embarrassed about submitting to Shaun, as by now I was quite in awe of him. I did send him one sketch that examined the trope, oft favoured by reporters, that if a butterfly beats its wings in Brazil, there ends up being an earthquake in Australia, or somewhere on the other side of the world. I think it’s to do with chaos theory, because everything is. One night I saw a journalist trying to use the expression, but he became geographically confused. His butterfly was located in Paraguay and his earthquake ended up being in Bolivia. That doesn’t quite work, because Paraguay and Bolivia are too close together, they share a border, so the whole sentiment of the expression is lost. It’s almost as if there really are butterflies in Paraguay that are capable of causing earthquakes in neigbouring countries by beating their wings. So I wrote a sketch that had Shaun arguing the point with an interviewee, moving off the subject and wondering whether there should be some eradication program for these South ameican killer butterflies. Even as I type this, I blush with embarrassment. It wasn’t a good idea, I shouldn’t have turned it into a sketch and sent it to Shaun. It wasn’t used and neither of us has ever mentioned it. Shaun didn’t want to say no. He let me do it for myself.

 The loneliness of Liz Lemon.