Attempt at first novel ends with arrival of a remarkable look-alike

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A little over 10 years ago, mostly at the urging of a friend, I wrote my first novel. It took me about a year, including some lengthy interruptions, and though it was challenging at times, I greatly enjoyed the process.

When the book was (more or less) done, I gave it to read to a few friends and family members, who told me, in some cases enthusiastically, that they liked it.

And then…I did nothing with it.

Through some neurotic combination of laziness, fear of possible success and general perverseness that has characterized much of my adult life, I made next to no effort to market the manuscript to agents or publishers.

You’d think the hard part would be writing a book, not offering it. Not for me, apparently. Maybe I had received the gratification I was looking for simply from the response I got from the acquaintances who had read it, and felt no need for further affirmation. I’m not sure.

All I know is that, after a few years, I had almost forgotten I wrote it. Now and then I’d remember, reread a few chapters, and decide that I really ought to do something with it. I thought occasionally of turning it into a screenplay.

But then I’d get busy with something else, and neglect it for two or three more years.

My novel was called Super Eight Days, and it was about a group of teenagers in small-town Pennsylvania in the late ‘70s making their own scary pictures with a Super 8mm movie camera.

That was then. It wasn’t until earlier this year that I became aware of the J.J. Abrams film Super 8, now in theaters, which is about a group of teenage kids in small-town Ohio of the late ‘70s making their own scary pictures with a Super 8mm movie camera.

As far as I tell that’s roughly where the similarities end. The Abrams movie turns into some sort of sci-fi thriller, as the kids encounter an alien menace, whereas my book was an attempt at a classic American form, the coming-of-age story, the Summer That Changed Everything.

I haven’t gotten to see the movie yet, though the TV ads make it look like fun. I should add that I was a little dismayed at the news of Abrams’ movie because I thought that, if I ever did get around to doing something with my original Super Eight Days, I’d probably need to change the title, just to avoid confusion.

But as Super 8’s release got closer, I thought, why? The titles aren’t identical, and in any case I loved my title, and I thought of it independently, and probably first.

I didn’t mean for this to become such a confessional on the follies of my psychology. I really just wanted to say that I decided to make my Super Eight Days available as an e-book on Amazon Kindle. It costs just 99 cents—less than even a matinee ticket to J.J.’s Super 8.



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