“Only a madman could have written this book.” —James Patterson
Actor Morgan Freeman was on hand as bestselling author James Patterson was knighted this week to the Order of the Knights of the Round Table, an elite assembly of authors whose work supplies the inspiration for many of Tinsel Town’s itinerant screenwriters. “All of the seven deadly sins are represented in this man,” Freeman told the group assembled for the ceremony, “and so he richly deserves to be seated with you.” Joining the other members of the exclusive club, Patterson took his seat at the giant round table. “I want to thank all my lucky stars,” he said, lifting the Holy Grail passed to him for a ritual sip of goat’s blood, “and the fourteen people who gave their lives so I could be here today, not to mention the thousands of struggling wannabes who just don’t get it. . . yet.” On the way out, Morgan Freeman commented that the mystery meat served for the occasion was particularly tasty, and that it did not at all taste like chicken.
10 STEPS To Becoming THE NEXT JAMES PATTERSON (Or Hannibal Lecter. Same steps.)
Step 1) Start by thinking in short sentences. (Turn corners sharply. Make entrances sudden. Exit quickly and quietly. Think scary thoughts. Laugh with sinister glee. Slurp your food.)
Chapter 2) Develop a demented philosophy of life—if only to express to your alter ego—while staring into the mirror. Begin by repeating this: “Nature is cruel. I am cruel. I am fulfilling Nature’s purpose. Does Nature care about individuals, after all? We’re nothing to Nature, except as drones who trip in the dark and die. Do I want to be a school teacher, or to burp babies, or to have an affair with my boss? Doesn’t matter. Who cares. I know I don’t. Nor does the Universe, far as I can see. So just get off my back, okay? Go collect postage stamps, join a bowling league, drive around at 2 AM with your car stereo blasting. You will anyway.”
Chapter 3) Stop eating oatmeal. Try prunes instead.
Chapter 4) Avoid using big words like “mellifluous” or “dysphasic,” which might make critics happy, but won’t keep you on anyone’s recommended beach reading list. (Realize that actually having something to say is somewhat less important than churning out 23 books a year.)
Chapter 5) Stop blinking.
Chapter 6) When all eyes are on you, wink.
Chapter 7) Buy a large, shiny knife.
Chapter 8) When you go to the post office, imagine actually going postal.
Chapter 9) Develop a taste for organ meats.
Chapter 10) Hire a successful agent.
Finally, realize that the brain is just another organ meat. Prior to cooking realize that, as an organ in the head, the brain is said to contain who we are, the mysterious “us” that we believe should oppose and compete with “them.” Also, it’s the least used organ, particularly by NFL players. Meanwhile, the most used organ is often referred to as having “a mind of its own.” Now, many say that sex is mostly in the brain, but of course the people saying this don’t really want to play with their brains. Actually, our brains are only three pound clumps of jelly, which you could probably hold in your hand for at least a few seconds before freaking out. A side benefit of grasping this is in also realizing that for much of your life you’ve been worried about what some other clump of jelly thinks about your own clump of jelly. Meanwhile, at various locations across the country there are three pound jellies who recognize the shell holding your clump, and your clump wonders how these jellies are “doing” or “feeling,” too, and if they are coming close to yours next year for what is termed a “holiday,” and if the alignment of electrical impulses inside your jelly mold can ever “forgive” or “love” or “respect” or “whatever” them again. Or even if you should. Feel better now? If so, you are now ready to become either a mystery writer or a serial killer. Flip a coin.