Two Writers Drinking, Sitting Around, Talking About Stuff – Part 4

by Will Leitch (Kahlua and Hot Chocolate)
and Bob Sassone (Negronis)

From: Will Leitch
To: Bob Sassone
Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Subject: Greetings

Bob —

Hey, Bob. Happy New Year! (I’m firm in the belief that you can say Happy New Year until February — at least. I’m a cheery sort that way.) It has been a while since we did one of these, and I feel there is much to get caught up on. So much, in fact, that I’m a little intimidated.

Therefore, I’d like to suggest a few topics.

1. Oscar nominations this morning. Fellow Mattoonian Tim Grierson and I did our yearly top 10 list on The Black Table this morning. We’re dorks. I was glad to see Jamie Foxx do well; he’s very underpublicized these days.

2. The New England Patriots I am very annoyed with your geographical region. I can’t take it. Every single team is winning everything. I actually *like* the Patriots, but honestly, you guys are having too much success. Why couldn’t you have had Kerry won? Typical. The one thing that matters in Boston, you blow it.

3. Your new book. I’m confused about this whole thing. I read your FAQ about it, but I’m curious the mindset behind it. It has been a while that this had been in the works. Why now? Why exclusively online? And which agent rejected it?

And hello. Happy New Year!

Will

***

From: Bob Sassone
To: Will Leitch
Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Subject: Re: Greetings

Hey Will,

Happy New Year to you too. I am also a believer in the “you can say Happy New Year til Feb” school, though I’m not sure about leaving holiday lights up until then. My neighbor can get away with it because his lights are all red. If he leaves them up til Feb, he can always say they are Valentine’s Day lights.

Your topic suggestions: right on.

I caught the Oscar noms this morning. And it goes without saying that I always always always read anything you and Tim do. I wasn’t suprised by any of the noms, though it was cool to see Paul Haggis nominated for his “Million Dollar Baby” screenplay. He wrote the late, lamented show “Due South.” Good to see him in the big leagues.

Also: Paul Giamatti! I haven’t seen “Sideways” yet, but I would have sworn his nom was a given, but he was shut out (did you see SNL this weekend? He hosted and made fun of losing the Gloeden Globe).

As for the Boston area having some great times in sports lately, you have to understand what we’ve gone through over the deadcaeds. That word should be decades, by the way. (I’m buzzed after only one Negroni – must be my lack of drinking lately and my general sickness I’ve had for the month of Jan). The Pats were pretty much a joke, and the Sox…well, you know about them. This feels so fucking good to be the champions.

Thanks for mentionging Letters to Martha. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want it to be published the traditional way. But after one agent passed, I had the realization that since it takes over a year to get a book published, and by that time the whole Martha in jail thing would be over, so I deceded to pulbish it online. My newsletter list was promised a free novel a couple of years ago, so there it is. Stay tuned for inteviews soon.

This has nothing to do with what you asked, but Katie Couric was just on TV. I’ve always wanted to have sex with her.

Bob

***

Bob —

Jesus. Valentine’s Day. I would rather you have resisted the temptation to bring that up. My girlfriend, on the whole, is an unlucky person, in so much that she is dating me, but she has a rather pampered three-week stretch coming up: Restaurant Week here in NYC, followed by her birthday, followed by Valentine’s Day. I’m going to be begging for quarters by March. Did you know that resident Black Table poet laureate Johan More has a book coming out at the end of this year about why Valentine’s Day sucks? It’s one of those little books you see at the checkout stand at Barnes and Noble, but nevertheless, we’re very proud of him.

I’ll be honest: I don’t know Due South. (Some of us go outside, Bob.) I was *very* pleased to see Before Sunset nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. That’s right: Ethan Hawke is an Oscar-nominated writer.

Generally I’m a big fan of Paul Giamatti, and I thought he was great in Sideways, but I’m beginning to fear he has one character. The real question: Does he hate Pete Rose for killing his dad?
OK, you peaked my interest: Tell me about these interviews that are coming up. I would think it’s a unique pitch, almost a blogged book.

Oh, and speaking of books … where’s mine?

Are Katie Couric’s boobs getting bigger? I think they looked bigger the last time I saw them.
The No. 1 Illini play in an hour. My alma mater finally making some damn news. Now, about that racist mascot ….

So, Bob … I really haven’t talked to you in a while. how are you doing, you know, personally?

Best,

Will

***

Will,

Personally right now I have a smoooooooooooooth buzz.

I really dislike Valentine’s Day. You have a girlfriend? I don’t have one. But I want one.
I’m not sure about Katie’s chest, but have you noticed she’s gone all glam on us? She’s got the eyeliner and the makeup and the perfect hair. It’s like the Today Show is now hosted by some model. Albeit a really capable, smart model.

I didn’t know Johan More has a book coming out. I didn’t know that even a little bit.

Oh my God: was Bart Giamatti Paul’s dad?? Are you kidding?

I think a blogged book is a great idea too. I think there are others, but that doesn’t make it a bad idea. I thought that someone would be intersted, but I guess my marketing/advertising background convinced me that putting it online while Martha was in jail (she’s getting out in March) would be better, publicity-wise. I did an interview with your buddy AJ for zulkey.com, and Boston’s Weekly Dig is going to do a story.

You’ll be happy to know they’re using my infamous baby pic for the story. Ha!!

Bob

***

Bob —

I do have a girlfriend, a lovely woman who is kind enough to sit idly by as I type to you and scream at the television (45 minutes until Illini). She’s a writer too, and a much better one than me. Not that that’s particularly difficult.

Have you dated recently? I mean, you’re still a young guy. It’s not that hard to find a girlfriend. Just go get them. (Maybe you need an updated picture.)

It’s a tiny little book: One of those little pocket ones, for Penguin. It’s called “The Anti-Valentine’s Handbook,” with 100 things that suck about Valentine’s Day. I read an early copy; it’s slightly funny. I prefer his poetry, but it’s a good effort, anyway.

And yes. Bart Giamatti is Paul’s dad. Most people don’t know that because he refuses to talk about it in interviews. Which I respect, even though I’d love it if he trashed Pete Rose.

How long is the book project going to run? How many words total is the book? I’m always curious about book sizes. Mine — “Catch”! Coming out Dec. 1! Buy it!Please! Someone! — ended up about 78,000 words. That’s both more and less than you’d think.

Will

***

Will,

Letters to Martha is finished, but I assume that because I finished it over a month ago and it’s now in blog format, some things are going to have to change. It should run until late March, which would make it perfect timing for Martha’s release (early March).

Hey, maybe I’ll send the book to a publisher after it’s all done, who knows. (I’m jealous of your book by the way – how did that come about?)

I have possibly the worst social life of anyone you know Will. There really are no girlfriend/wife options available to me. Goig out to bars is out (don’t really wnat to hang out in the bars of my hometown, if you knwo what I mean), and I don’t come in contact w/any females on a regular basis. Tht’s what happens when you’re a wrtier who works from home.

Does your cute girlfriend have any cute friends?

Fourth Negroni coming up. What are you drinking?

Bob

***

Bob

Bob, you’re writing back quicker than I can keep up. (Drinking Kahlua and hot chocolate, by the way. It’s cold here.)

The whole book thing was very weird. An editor from Penguin’s Razorbill imprint had run my Loser stuff and asked me if I’d ever thought about writing a novel. I said I hadn’t — the thought of just making something up had never occurred to me, frankly — but I’d be up for giving it a try. So they gave me a tiny advance, and I wrote like an idiot for a few months. And I turned it into them, and they actually kind of liked it, and now it’s coming out and I might even write another one for them. It’s been a wild ride: I still can’t quite get over how BIG books are.

Well, when you leave your house, where do you go? Legitimate question. There are women everywhere, man, and you’re a good guy. Not much standing in your way.

And no, I don’t know what you mean: Why can’t you go to the bars in your hometown?

Will

***

Will,

Well, I’m not sure if you can understand this, because you are living under the fancy dancy lights of NYC. But here I am about to turn 40 (in June) and I still live in my hometown. Except for a one year stint in another town about an hour away, the greatest year of my life, I have always lived here, and going to the local bars can be immeasurably depressing. The same people, the same conversation, the same just knowing that you are still in your hometown.

I need to get a book contract, a new apartment, and get laid. And not necessarily in that order.

I don’t usually leave my house, unless you count going to the store (I don’t count that).

You have a good thing going there, by the way. Efven if the advance is small, you’re having a book pulbished by a major publisher, man! And maybe even one after that. Isn’t that what we are all driving towards? Seriously, that’s great news. Expect an inteview here at PBJ.

Teri Polo is in the new Playboy. Very cute.

Bob

***

Bob,

Wait … your 40th birthday is coming up? What? Are you having a party? What’s the day? You know, I still have never met you; that seems as good a time as any to finally break through. Or would you not invite me?
I don’t know how hot Teri Polo is, but I do like the breasts. CAn’t deny that.
The book experience has been fun. But I’d put it second behind getting laid. Maybe third.
Will
***
Will,
I’m worried because your answer took a very, very long time. Is your girlfriend there? Are you doing other things while you should be typing?

Yes, my 40th is coming up in June. Weird. This is one of the BIG birthdays.

You are certainly invited to any celebration I may have. Though I’m not sure if I will have any party or whatever. That’s up to other people!
 
Bob

***

Bob,

Sorry. ILlini game is on. Up by two at halftime.

Who are these people who are planning the party? (Or who would?) I would like to talk to them. Because the 40th party HAS to be a big one.

I’m still thinking about this. 40. I turn 30 in October, and I’m terrified about it. But 40? I dunno. What are your thoughts about it?

Will

***

Will,

I’m not really sure what is going on with my 40th. Though I am sure that alcohol will be involved in some way.

I would really like to have a 40th b-day party. That last time I celebrated any type of b-day whatsoever was my 30th, in 1995. I don’t see my friends nearly enough.

40 is a freaky birthday, in a way. I keep thinking, “holy shit, it’s only 10 years away from 50!” Astonishing. I wish I was more wealthy. Or could have sex with Katie Couric.

Bob

***

Bob,

Alcohol must be involved. I’m not convinced you’re drinking right now, however: You’re typing way too well.

Illini are tied. This game’s making me lose it. The Illini are my Patriots.

What’s your thoughts on the Black Table? Are we still doing a good job?

(Only got so much left here. Illini are stressing me out.)

Will

***

Will,

Oh God, I am more buzzed right now than I have been in years. Seriosly. Negronis are not meant to be sucked down.

The Black Table is fine, yes, yes, yes. You’re more hip than PBJ is. You get all the mentions on Gawker and lots of the blogs.

Johnny Carson is dead. How depressing.

Bob

***

Bob,

Ha. That makes me laugh everytime you say it. Negronis.

Illini win! 20-0!

I’m looking forward to watching Letterman in, like, half an hour, to see what he has to say about his hero’s death. Was he ever on Letterman’s show? That’s a good question.

This was fun as always. Good night. Sleep time.

Will

***

Will,

Congrats on the Illini. I hate college basketball.

Alas, Letterman has been in repeats. I’m looking forward to what he says Monday. Carson was on Letterman’s show a couple of times, yeah.

Goodnight. I pray for no hangover tomorrow.

Bob

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