Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The Year of the Canyon Kid

For far too long, I've gone without publishing any new material-save this venue-and it's high time that I did. My last works were the South Africa true travel tale PLEASE HOLD THUMBS and some extra added attractions for the Special Edition of IN THE DARK. But since then?

Zippity-doo-dah, zippity-ay
My-oh-my, I've had nothing to say

It wasn't like I didn't try, fer garsh sakes. I attempted to kick-start a decades-old project with varying degrees of success, but I came to a screeching halt. I wasn't necessarily blocked as I was out-and-out constipated. I need a creative laxative. STAT!

I felt the need to mine the past for future gold. Thus, I dug into the manuscript vault (actually a Rubbermaid container) and snatched up some of my old work, namely, some old play scripts. The thought of a novelization had somehow entered my thought patterns.

Believe you me, I fully realize the stigma of this sort of cannibalization, but as long as I have my foot in my mouth anyway, I might as well make a meal out of it. Besides, it might help my inspirational digestion. I am, after all, full of natural fiber.
The Canyon Kid (Greg Pollard) serenades Darla Darling (Leslie Fielding)
After an aborted attempt at my Lone Ranger knock-off LEGEND OF THE ROGUE, I nearly gave up the entire notion and try a different tact. Instead, I latched onto a better script, my melodramatic magnum opus SONG OF THE LONE PRAIRIE or POEM ON THE RANGE.

I began by merely transposing dialogue and stage direction into prose. I tried to keep it as basic as possible, inspired by a glut of Elmore Leonard novels I had been digesting as of late. It actually began to take on a a life of its own which, off course, was the point of this exercise. Fleshing out the characters and situations began to flow like Ol' Man River. Tagging on a sweet lil' epilogue put on a smile on my face and I realized that relief was in sight.

The whole experience rejuvenated me. By returning to my roots, my right brain's pilot light has reignited. It has reminded how much I enjoy writing comedy. Whether the end result is funny or not  will have to depend on the individual reader since we're talking subjectivity here. (Or at least I'm talking about it. I can't hear you from here.) I can declare in all honesty that this whole experience has given me more joy since I wrote the original script back in the 1980s. Since this is a totally DIY project from beginning until end, I've been taking my sweet time editing and rewriting numerous versions. Each time through I find myself cracking myself up at the new material and even at some of the old. I just kill me sometimes. For someone with deeply embedded  insecurities, it's another mental wellness antidote that I apparently needed.

Where this leaves anybody else is,well, anybody's guess. It's not really my concern. I am pleased with the end result. All I can hope for is that readers will feel the same or get enough laughs to justify their time and, of course, money.

So allow me to introduce to you, the world, the first "new" Scott Cherney book of the 2010s:

A Western Comedy Romance
and on
The story? I'm glad you asked.

When a guitar-strumming, straight-shooting singing cowboy known as The Canyon Kid returns to Dirt Clod, Missouri, he finds his town in ruins and under the tyrannical thumb of a crooked "hanging judge". To make matters worse, The Kid also learns that his childhood sweetheart is set to marry a known outlaw who is now the town sheriff. How is The Canyon Kid going to save the day, let alone croon a few tunes, with a noose around his neck?

Guess you'll have to find out for yourselves.

To coincide with said book, the source play, SONG OF THE LONE PRAIRIE is set to be the Summer 2014 attraction at the Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville in Oceano, California. It too is renamed SONG OF THE CANYON KID, even though their brochure calls it SONGS (their error). It don't make me no never mind. This announcement came right out of the blue and I am completely over the moon they wanted my show. What beautiful timing. It is also the first time my play will be produced since its debut in 1987 at the Palace Showboat Dinner Theater at Pollardville, a version I also directed. (Yes, I am a proud hyphenate)

So even though the book debuts here in December, I hereby declare 2014 The Year of the Canyon Kid.

Happy trails to me.

At last.
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