I’ve been invited to my 20 year elementary school class reunion in February. Scares the shit out of me a little bit, but then I’m sure it does everybody. Time will tell if I actually end up going to it. I’ll see how I feel the day of. I’ve got a terrible memory so there are a lot of people I only somewhat remember, except Gwyneth Paltrow, who was always a princess, the most popular girl, and Maya Rudolph who’s on "Saturday Night Live" and is dating Paul Thomas Anderson. At least that’s the last gossip I heard. This is what happens when you go to a private school in the true heart of Los Angeles.
Many people from my elementary school went on to my high school, Crossroads, so I’ve seen them recently. It’s a very incestuous little community, no different than if the high school was in a town of 5000. A writer from "Vanity Fair" recently emailed me about an article he was writing about Crossroads but then I never heard back from him. It’s that kind of high school. I went to high school with Cher’s kid, Jack Nicholson’s kid, Gary Coleman, Sean Astin from LOTR, director Barry Levinson’s (Rain Man) kid, director Paul Verhoeven’s (Robo Cop) kid, after me was Kate Hudson. I’m sure there are a lot more but I don’t really want to spend time remembering.
My first novel, about a celebrity stalker, written when I was twenty, was very much a product of going to that high school. I discovered punk rock, which was good, but I was alienated as hell, sitting alone on a bench, believing in hate. The place seemed removed from the stuff of real life. Every high school in America has its beautiful popular kids, but there’s something a shade more insane about the kids of the people that everyone in America worships. All high school kids think they are at the center of the world--but for the kids of the Hollywood ruling class, they actually were. That sounds like something that would go in that "Vanity Fair" article.
The thing I’m not saying is that I am a Hollywood kid myself. My father’s a screenwriter, my mom’s a producer, so that first novel had a whole lot of self-hatred in there as well. They weren’t wildly successful, but they were in the business, which means my mom once spent an afternoon with Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, and a monkey in a trailer. I always thought that I had grown up in an atheistic family, but this was never the case. My parents worked for the new American religion. Instead of going to church on Sundays, they checked what movies were coming out on Friday. That sounds like bad Hollywood memoir writing, which is why I choose to write about Hollywood from a lunatic’s perspective, my own thoughts magnified.
Gary Coleman was a senior when I was in the eight grade. He was short so he chased after the girls in my grade. One time during P.E. we were in the weight room and a small figure burst into the room wearing a space outfit--expensive, silver from the helmet to the boots. He shot us all with a toy laser and then left. The teacher looked embarrassed. We all laughed. I don’t have to look too far for a lunatic’s perspective.
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