BURN PILE: “When TV dominates your winter break” edition
Recently, some CutBank family and friends got together to watch the Golden Globes. As occasionally happens, conversation turned to Bill Murray—he of Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Lost in Translation, and so on.
Murray is also the subject of a growing legacy of apocryphal encounters, in which the actor pounces on unsuspecting people, then assures them, “No one will ever believe you,” before he departs. Perhaps Murray has created a character for himself—a sort of ecstatic, extroverted prankster. Perhaps the stories are pure fiction. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in between—that Bill Murray is both author and audience to his own fictional Bill Murray stories, as well as the Bill Murray stories of others.
Heavy, no? But we digress.
Bill Murray got us thinking about the TV personalities and characters that populate prose and poems, and the possibilities those characters offer readers and writers. No, we haven’t started our own Omar Little or Walter White fan-fiction—yet. But we’ve found a few pieces of writing that place recognizable TV personalities at their heart, that shape the lives of familiar pop-culture figures, and that question our interest in furthering the lives of fictional characters beyond their creators’ intentions.
- BillMurrayStory.com: Though the site proprietors say “the stories are often (usually?) fictional,” rest assured that Bill Murray has been briefed on his growing legacy. “I’ve heard about that from a lot of people,” he told GQ during an interview. “I don’t know what to say. There’s probably a really appropriate thing to say. Something exactly and just perfectly right. But by God, it sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Just so crazy and unlikely and unusual?”
- Fan-fiction floodgates open for Sherlock: The Los Angeles Times reports that “all elements of the famous sleuth’s stories…are now in the public domain.” At the New Statesmen, Laurie Penny greets this news with an essay about Sherlock, Dr. Who, and the long legacy of fan-fiction. “It wasn’t until the Romantic period that originality was considered an essential skill for a storyteller to have,” writes Penny. “Before then, a truly great writer would be distinguished by his ability—and it usually was his ability—to provide a new reading of a classic tale or legend, to bring a familiar character or archetype viscerally to life.”
- “I am Oprah/Oprah Oprah Oprah.” A poem by Maya Angelou for Oprah (Oprah Oprah).
- “I couldn’t drive past a wheatfield without doing it violence.” Gulf Coast clears its eyes and opens its heart for a handful of persona poems, written by Nico Alvarado, from the perspective of Friday Night Lights’ Tim Riggins—”Tim Riggins Invents a New Number,” “Tim Riggins Imagines Heaven,” “Tim Riggins Speaks of Waterfalls.” Enjoy.