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If I'd only made ONE decision differently, my life would have turned out great. That's what I do in this story.
Anybody who tells you that they have no regrets is a liar or a fool. We’ve all got moments and decisions in our past that we’d just love to go back and do-over. Too bad it’s impossible. There is no such thing as a time machine. Can’t be done.
That said, going back and changing what I most regret about my life is precisely what I’m going to do.
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a science fiction piece or a religious miracle.
It’s just my imagination. Yeah. Running away with me.
And nothing, I assure you, nothing has more power in this universe than your imagination.
When I was 17 years old, I was the best singer the little town of Port Lavaca, Texas had ever seen. The mellifluous baritone voice that flowed from my mouth, like warm honey butter, was, yes, coming from a skinny little kid with the second-worst case of acne in school.
Startling. Scary, even.
My Mother would often paint a picture of the life she had all planned out for her darling boy. I’d have my own choir! 60 people raising their voices in unison to the glory of God, making the rafters lurch in a huge big city church. And, I’d sing at Billy Graham revivals that filled stadiums just like George Beverly Shea. It would make my Daddy the preacher, so, so, so, whoa whoa whoa…
Stop right there.
You see, I hated church music. The whole religion thing, as presented to me and my childish, naïve, rebellious mind, was an anathema. I couldn’t wait to get shy of the forced subordination to this patently absurd religion full of smiling lies and deceit.
So, to avoid what I feared would be lifelong bondage to church music, I literally ran from music of all kinds. I even went as far as turning DOWN a full-ride music scholarship that was offered me, to attend Baylor University in Waco, Texas! (Baptists! Ugh.)Life has not been kind to me since that moment. I’ve had some fun, of course. I found outlets for my creative yearnings in other ways, primarily in filmmaking. I’ve won a few awards and gotten some minor acclaim. Yet, I’ve never been able to shake the idea that if I’d actually spent my life creating music, where my greatest talents lie, life would have been much, much different, and much more successful.
That’s what this novel does.
I’m going to go back and rewrite my life.
Starting at the moment where I turned down the Baylor scholarship, in this novel, my life diverges into a parallel universe where I actually take the scholarship. Some things I can’t change, if I’m to remain the same person in this parallel universe. I can’t change who I am, where I grew up or who my family is. I can’t change the fact that America careened into a ridiculous war that took the lives of millions of people, or the fact that I had a draft lottery number of 105.
But what I can change, because I am the god who creates this parallel universe, is a new life where I excel at everything. It’s a life where I find true love and happiness, write the greatest music ever heard, and go on to become the massive superstar that invents the “crossover artist.” (Because I can't decide what I like best.) It’s a rocket ride where I simultaneously top the country, rock and R&B charts, win 96 Grammy’s and 8 Academy awards and become a household word even more recognizable than Elvis Presley, John, Paul, George and Ringo.
Hey, if you’re creating your own life, why create something mundane? I’m not a masochist, so why would I write a new life that isn't awesome in every way?
It’s my party, and I’ll fly if I want to. You would fly too if it happened to you.
The novel includes a companion vinyl album with cover art designed by Peter Max, (of course,) and a 12-song selection of the best hits of my illustrious career. The movie will include duets with some of my best friends over the years, like Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Paul McCartney, and George Jones (if I manage to dig him up prior to publication.)
As the novel ends, my one and only wife, my muse, my soulmate, is going through the leftovers of our long and wonderful life together. After the funeral, she’s still in shock because of my tragic demise. We had rarely been apart since the day we met back in 1971, under a tree on the Baylor University campus. She was playing the guitar. I was falling in love.
“Greg, I want to kiss you so bad I can just taste you in right here on my tongue. Why’d you have to die so young?” (This fantastic woman never stops dreaming up hooks to country songs! Which is why I love her so.) Tears trickle down her face as she watches our grandchildren play on the lawns of our expansive, oceanside Malibu estate.
I left the world so much beautiful music. I will live forever.
NOTE: I decided to write this as a NOVEL first, and then go back and extract the screenplay. I've never, EVER been able to get anybody to buy a feature length screenplay. And if they did, and it was successful, they'd no doubt want it novelized.
The literary publishing world seems to have more on-ramps than the movie world. Who knows if this is a good strategy? We'll see...
I have a crowdfunding site up. If you' really like what you've read and you're feeling generous, please stop by! https://www.patreon.com/Greg_McGee_Projects