March 13, 2006 -- Former child star Macaulay Culkin became famous when he starred in the comedy "Home Alone" 16 years ago.
Culkin is now the author of a new book called "Junior, or Oscar De La Mancha, The Wembling Warrior, and the People I Like the Least. Not A Novel. A written project from the normal, well adjusted and 'No I don't have issues with my father!' mind of … junior (meaning me)."
The book is a collection of vignettes, stream-of-consciousness snippets, and cartoons about a child star who abandoned show business at the height of his career, much like the author.
Culkin made a concerted effort to disassociate himself from the book, in anticipation of the literary community "not exactly embracing me," he said. "I'm just some punk kid who's writing a book."
The book, written in no particular order with no particular structure, grapples with fame and Culkin's relationship with his father.
"This is so surreal for me, this whole thing, it's the most intimidating thing I have ever done to kind of just throw it all out there," said Culkin, who said he had not spoken to his father in 11 years. "This book is really just a series of moments in my life."
"I felt like I had two fathers. I had my real father and the father in my head," he said. "I think a lot of it was coming to terms with my father in my head. … I feel like I am in a good place when it comes to that."
After all the drama and trauma and the tabloid headlines about his family's problems, Culkin, 25, said he felt like he was in a good place.
"I am a very happy person," he said. "I think I have a very good simple life, and I wouldn't change anything."
NowHere Near Nowhere.
I want to make one thing clear before we begin: I am not a writer. I couldn't possibly be a writer. I have written and rewritten the words "Introduction" or "The Introduction" so many times in the past couple of years that I'm convinced I was not born to do this. Writing could not be my calling after the mess I've made of all this. This has taken way too long. The whole process of writing this book was so agonizing and ate away at so much of my time that there's no way I can't finish now. But at this rate I never will. It took me ten minutes to write this very sentence. I'm no writer. This is not my calling.
Why is it so difficult now? This used to be a comforting thing. Writing this book was fun. It made me feel better. I'm not comfortable right now. I've never felt comfortable explaining the way that I am. This (the newest in a long line of introductions) is already a failure and I've barely begun. Here I am, only on the second paragraph, and I already feel like I'm blowing it.
It's just that in the past year I have gotten way too many people involved in this project -- agents, publishers and so forth that I feel I've been disappointing with my lack of results. I'm just ready to let this go. I'm just ready to give up and say this is it and nothing more. You can have it because I have nothing left.
Not in any kind of painful way, but it's hard for me to talk about this project. It's just that I don't know what it is anymore. I could just be imagining this, but people see this book in different ways. I could show this book to ten different people and have them form very different opinions of what it is and what it means to them. Sometimes I feel like I have a dozen different people inside of me. I've always been that way and I've always written stuff down. But this is different, this is the introduction of my book. I can't just wing it.
My real problem is that after a while I decided to save this introduction for last. I figured that one of the reasons this intro was so hard to write was because I needed the book and all its parts to be in place before trying to sum it all up. And to be quite honest with you, most of the material in this book is foreign to me now.
If I wanted to be all David Copperfield about it, I could say I began this project more than two decades ago on a hot summer day in a New York City hospital, but the truth is I only became of aware of it actually becoming a book in early January of 2001. It is now crawling to the end of 2005 with the completion of this endeavor nowhere in sight. So much of it was written so long ago that I may have lost sight of what it meant, not only to the reader, but to me as well. Perhaps that is why I have found it so difficult to introduce this part of myself to the rest of the world, because I don't know what it means to me anymore.
So much has changed since I first sat down and began to write this book. I've changed. I got arrested recently and to be quite honest with you it wasn't as much fun as I thought it would be. I got a new dog and I named her Audrey. I found a girl (a real girl) that I'm in love with, and if you can believe it, she loves me back.
I'm looking at her right now, in fact. She bought me a new computer and on the desktop there's this picture of her on the beach. She and I and a bunch of our friends went to Hawaii recently. I had never been there before and I enjoyed myself very much. We had a house right on the beach. A couple of days into it, while sitting in the shade nursing my new sunburn, she decided to try surfing for the first time. And needless to say it was quite a funny sight. If you've never seen someone take their first surfing lesson before, then drop this book and everything else you're doing immediately and arrange it. It's well worth it. On one of her many tumbles into the ocean a friend of ours must have snapped a picture of her. Her butt is on the board as she's washing ashore and she has this smile on her face. It looks like you've just surprised a five-year-old with a truck full of candy. I'm talking ear to ear. Every time I turn on my computer and I see this picture it makes me happy. I know how lucky I am to have someone that makes me feel that way, believe me. I'm lucky to have her.
My point is I didn't have her or that picture when I started making this book. (I may have had other pictures, but that's a different book altogether.) I didn't have a lot of things I do today. I was just some twenty-year-old punk kid who thought he could just whip out some book when I started writing this. Now I'm a twenty-four-year-old accused felon with a dog that shits all over my house and a girlfriend that can't surf. I can't account for that person or what he wrote four years ago. I can't remember his intentions.
So I've decided (just now in fact) that I'm going to disassociate myself from this book completely. I think it's the right thing to do. Too many of the people around me are scared of it, and rightfully so. I've put my words in a position to be easily misinterpreted and used against me. So from now on this is not my book. Understood?
Maybe some visual aids will help us both. This is me. And this is my book. Get it?
My book. v There, I think that helped us both better understand that this is my book and not me. This isn't even a proper representation of the way I feel at this very moment. This is just a collection of words put together in a way of my choosing to tell some kind of story. So from now on nothing you read (including this introduction) is my fault, it's the book's fault.
See how I got myself off the hook? A real writer wouldn't have done that. I am not a writer. I am a fraud, and you can quote me on that. I can read the headlines now. "Young man uses connections to get book published." The reviews nearly write themselves. In fact, I wouldn't be very surprised if these last couple of sentences are the most quoted of any other. I'm a sham, a fraud, and a failure all at the same time. And this introduction proves it.
One of the things I hate most about this book is that it is all about me. Much like anyone with too much time on his or her hands, I feel as though I am the most important person on earth and everything I do is relevant. I say the most charming and inspired things when no one is around. I think I might have something to say and that everyone in the entire world wants to know about it. Almost everything people do is artistic. That doesn't make it art. I may be being too hard on myself but that is the reality of my world and I'm letting you know how aware of it I really am. I'm not trying to pass this book off as something it is not. This is just a bunch of stuff I put together and someone said
"Hey, you should write a book," so I did. It might not be your cup of tea. You might only get a couple pages into it and throw it in the trash. You might not even give yourself a chance to read this very sentence. But who knows, you could be one of the people out there who might actually like it. You may be able to say all the things about it I can't say for myself. But then again, I'm not a writer.
So here it comes, the book. You can say anything you want about it now. It's not mine anymore.
the end . . .