Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I just returned a family event celebrating Easter and my brother's birthday  and suddenly feel very self-conscious about all the things everybody thinks they knows about me. It seems all my brother's in-laws (my inlaws-in-law?) read the damn book and now I fear they will never look at me the same way again. I have no idea whether this is good or bad. Suddenly I'm painfully aware that my friends and colleagues -- should they actually read the quirky and  indulgent novel -- may  readjust  their perception of me in a way that isn't necessarily flattering. I've given every one a picture window to see what an ass I can be.

This is what memoirs are all about, I suppose. You take the risk of ruining your reputation with candor. But in my case I've butchered the integrity of a serious memoir with flagrant lies and distortions of reality, all in the name of pulp fiction.  There's far too much fantasy and subterfuge in there to even call it auto-biographical.

I know who I am. But the reader has choices.  I can be a clown, a cognitive cripple or a delusional Hemingway wanna-be. That's what I get for writing at home wearing  my pajamas all day.

Monday, April 7, 2014


People tend to laugh at the oxymoronic title of the book. I'd have to admit it's probably more moronic than oxi. But some readers were offended by my attempt at gallows humor. I agree that one should not speak ill of-- or poke  fun at -- the dead. Not because it would hurt their feelings -- how would they know?  But my title is stupid, snarky and insensitive for people who may be morning the loss of a loved one. For that I sincerely apologize.

But let's not give short shrift to cadavers. One can imagine that some dead people, if they could talk, would say  it's an honor to serve humanity by promoting the advancement of Medical Science as a cadaver, no matter how icky it sounds.

My late father was  the strongest critic of the use of  "cadaver" in the title. He found it repulsive. He was a medical doctor who saw plenty of cadavers in his five-decade career as a clinician and medical school professor .

But he didn't get the metaphor: A corpse is grist for an autopsy or a forensic examination on its way to the grave. A cadaver, on the  other hand, is the subject of intense scrutiny and pedagogical examination without which medical students doing their surgical training would be cutting into your duodenum instead of your prostate gland.  Without the study of cadavers, Leonardo De Vinci would have been drawing stick figures. A cadaver can bring death back to life because it  reveals t secrets that wouldn't have mattered in a routine autopsy. And here's the leap of faith: The cadaver in the title is about introspection, not shock value.

I lied to my father.   I told him My Life as a Cadaver was just the "working title"  and that I'd come up with something less ghoulish as the book progressed. Sometimes you have to defy the good advice you get from a parent. And you should never reveal information about a literary endeavor to family and friends until it's published. Keep them guessing until they read it, and then you hear some pretty funny interpretations.

My 90-year-old mother said she believed the character Christina was based on the bubble-headed exotic dancer with whom I had a foolish  relationship in the distant past. Sorry, Mom.  My Cadaver's Christina is based on a ravishing red-headed Polish astro-physicist  I met years ago on a trek up Mt.  Kilimanjaro. It was a tangled affair . . .


I got at a notice the other day from Amazon informing me I earned a grand total of $100 on the book that month. I should be grateful that anyone buys the book at all, let alone pays real money for  it.

Obviously I wrote the book to make tons of money. A mainstream publisher will ignore the typos, give me huge advance and get it on the NYT Best Seller's List. My agent will sell the option to United Artists.  Terry Gross will interview me and laugh her delightful laugh at my jokes and cleveer remarks. I'll be able to send my youngest daughter to college.

Sympathetic friends tell me at least the book is out there for my children and grandchildren to read as an epitaph of a well-meaning author, even if it doesn't earn a dime. No, no, I correct them, the hell with posterity. The intention is to sell my soul to the devil,  bartering my private  thoughts and experiences for filthy lucre.

Now I got to get off my ass and launch a publicity campaign, begging for reviews and bookstore events in paces like in places like Concord, 
Joliet, Illinois , and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I need to put on a zebra costume and hawk the book in a goofy video that will go viral on YouTube.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Introducing the Barlow-Bacigalupi twins, the heroes of the novel -- total strangers separated at birth. One is an unhappy corpse  and the other is a befuddled  coroner drinking himself to death.  Meet the two actors in their  movie lot trailers before  they go on stage. We'll give you their  back stories and excerpts from exclusive interviews.

As a bonus feature, you'll meet lovely Christina, the enchanting avatar and unemployed geneticist both men are madly in love with.

RAUL C. BARLOW  was  a  mild mannered reporter before being poisoned by ambition and arrogance. He thought he was  the cat's pajamas when he was given the lucky opportunity  to work as a foreign correspondent in Japan for a major newspaper. But  his career went south on account of a little brain tumor. He survived to struggle with the consequences of cancer and to reflect on mortality and the joys and sorrow of his life. Then late one night a speeding automobile mowed him down.

"It really hurt," Barlow said in a recent seance.  "I'd never died before so this was a real bummer. I was going to meet Christina in the morning after we'd been separated for three years. Holy shit, man!!"

LEONARDO DANTE BACIGAUPI  (Leo) is an assistant medical examiner on his last legs, an alcoholic on the verge of getting fired. He's called to the scene  of the fatal accident and notices immediately something remarkable about the corpse. Gradually he recognizes himself in the dead man's eyes and launches an unauthorized inquest of Barlow's hidden life, breaking into his house to rake through a box of hand-written journals and search an erratic collection of computer files.

"At some point it became obsessive, I guess," he told the MLAC Blog. "There I was doing a routine investigation of circumstances surrounding his death and suddenly the mystery of the man's life   consumed me. I had to know what made Barlow tick."

The bottom line is that My Life as a Cadaver is a love story.

is the fiery paramour  Barlow was tragically separated from at the end of his rocky marriage. Pain and misunderstanding prevent them from reuniting, but Christina remained chaste  and after three years of waiting  she hired  a private detective to find her  lover in San Francisco. She seduces Barlow and later Leo with the siren song of her  blog, Narcissistic Chameleon Moo.