So you can read my books

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Schumel Gelbfisz was born in Warsaw, Poland. As a very young man, he left that city on foot and penniless. After an epic journey, he made his way to Birmingham, England where he stayed for a few hard years, using the Vonnegut-like name Samuel Goldfish. In 1898, he emigrated to the U.S {in steerage.} But fearing refusal of entry due to his quick-silver identity changes, he got off the boat in Nova Scotia, Canada.

He finally made it to New York where he soared in success as a salesman in the garment industry. He was a Jewish Ulysses, living by his wits. He became a naturalized citizen in 1902. Scanning the landscape for financial opportunities, Gelbfisz found one in his beloved past-time, going to the movies. He went into the movie business with a vaudeville performer and a theater owner, using an unknown director, Cecil B. DeMille. As it usually does, business got nasty. And he left ... the company not the dream. He partnered with the Broadway producers, the brothers Selwyn. They named their studio in a meld of their names : the Goldwyn Pictures Corporation. Wily as ever, Gelbfisz changed his name to Samuel Goldwyn.

He got forced out of the business, never becoming part of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. But he never gave up on his dream. He created the Samuel Goldwyn Studio and for 35 years made classics that people like me still enjoy : WUTHERING HEIGHTS, THE LITTLE FOXES, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, GUYS & DOLLS, PORKY & BESS, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, THE WESTERNER {Gary Cooper}, and the fascinating but utterly silly, THE ADVENTURES OF MARCO POLO {Gary Cooper.} Samuel Goldwyn was a dreamer that refused to quit.

And sadly, most of what he is remembered for is his misuse of the language that was not his first. How many of us who laugh at his words know a second language? And his sharp wit was what enabled him to survive a trek clear across Europe, a journey over the seas, and battles in the shark-infested waters of Hollywood. Often his wit is mistaken for a verbal flub as in : "I don't think anybody should write their autobiography until after they're dead. A hospital is no place to be sick. {And if you've ever been ill in the hospital, you know that statement is oddly true.}

I was thinking of two of his "Goldwynism's" : "What we need are some new, fresh cliches." and "I want the same thing ... only different."

I was thinking of them as I was contemplating my uphill struggle to get agents to consider THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS. On one hand, they universally complain of being submitted the same kind of "handsome vampire/angst-ridden teenage girl" fantasy or the young wizard in today's world fantasy. But then, they reply to my Native American/Celtic fantasy that publishers only want teenage vampire love or wizardry novels.

Before TWILIGHT, the vampire novel was considered old-hat. Before HARRY POTTER, mixing magic with young, impressionable children was considered taboo. THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS is a bit of "The Wind In The Willows," a bit "Lord of the Rings," a bit of "The Last Unicorn, and a bit of "Where The Mountain Meets The Moon."

My fantasy is not the same old "cookie-cutter" fantasy that blurs from one title to another. THE BEAR WITH 2 SHADOWS has a unique magical allure all its own. Like Schumel Gelbfisz, I will not give up on my dream. Don't give up on yours.

And when I think of never giving up in life, I see the image of an eagle flying high in the sky, being lifted by the currents of the winds, invisible but powerful ... as our dreams are invisible yet capable of lifting us further than we believed possible :

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