googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: The Legend Of Lo Fon - Paid To Die

The Legend Of Lo Fon - Paid To Die

 Today, May 30, is the birthday of my late brother, Dwayne Earl Warner.

My late brother, Dwayne Warner, was a biker who worked as a bouncer at the Topanga Corral and the Sundance Saloon. It was working at these bars that he met the managers of the various bands that played there and through them eventually got hired as a bodyguard for the Sex Pistols’ 1978 tour of America.

Over the course of fifteen years I’d hear Dwayne tell his stories of being on the road and every time he’d tell someone new the stories would get more exaggerated, more exciting and a whole lot funnier. “You should write a book,” I’d repeatedly tell him. But Dwayne rarely read books and had no interest in writing one. He suggested I write it.

Dwayne would often nag me to draw pictures for him. Not just any picture but pictures depicting him in some fantasy pose such as a pirate or a western outlaw or a Roaring Twenties era gangster and always engaged in some tasteless and nefarious activity. The problem is that Dwayne would change his interests as often as he’d change his socks and I wouldn’t even have finished one picture before he wasn’t interested in that subject matter anymore and would insist I do a another, different drawing. Dwayne was also a terrible nag and I soon found that refusing to do any drawings was the best idea if I didn’t want to be nagged all the time. He also loved giving and receiving gifts but was not a gracious gift receiver and would let you know if he thought what you gave him wasn’t on par with a gift he had given you. It was more like doing a job for a boss than giving a gift to a friend.

One Christmas, I had since given up buying him birthday presents due to his ungrateful attitude, I decided to give him something unique and personal. Originality was always something by which he judged his gifts. He was almost never fully dressed when at home and would wear a black robe, his version of Hugh Hefner’s famous silk pajamas. I bought a very nice, very plush black robe and using fabric paint designed a logo incorporating his face and his monogram on it. This gift he actually seemed to appreciate although he never wore it as he didn’t want to fade out the image by having to wash it.

Because of the design on the robe he decided he wanted me to do a drawing of him in the style of the high contrast woodblock print illustrations used in Old West dime novels. This got me thinking. I wasn’t interested in doing another drawing for him but if I could write a short story starring him as an Old West character I could do some drawings to illustrated it and at least that might be fun for me. I wrote the a short story that took place at the Sundance Saloon in Calabasas where he was the bouncer but wrote it in the flowery and exaggerated language of a dime novel. I decided to have him read it before I bother illustrating it as knowing him, he might just threaten to sue me for using his name and stories. But he actually loved it, although he didn’t want to read it and made me read it to him. He said that’s how his whole story should be written and insisted I expand the short story into a whole book.

Over the course of that summer I would go jogging on the walking trails around my home and while there I would imagine the stories I’d heard him tell over and over through the years as if a movie playing in my head. Each day when I finished my jog I’d write down the next chapter. I would read the previous one or two chapters, rewriting as I went, then I’d write the next one. This way I would rewrite and rewrite and every few weeks I’d read the entire story from the start and rewrite again until I no longer found anything to change, add or subtract. What was the most surprising and delightful aspect of this process was the many surprises I had while ‘watching’ this movie in my mind. After all, I’m the one making it all up based on stories I already knew yet there were so many things in this version of the story that I just could not see coming. Even the very end took me by surprise and saddened me that it was over because it had been such a fun adventure.

The biggest surprise was that having written a novel ( I Googled NOVEL and the description is a work of fiction, in prose and at least 60,000 words and what I had written was over 78,000 words ), that I thought of as a personal gift to my brother and something no one else would ever read, he refused to read it. I had actually written it as one big, rude joke. As a former ‘underground’ cartoonist I had a pretty nasty imagination and a sick sense of humor but I always censored myself if I thought there was a chance my work could get published but for this project I not only did not censor myself, I pushed the envelop, in fact, I shredded the envelop. Dwayne had a very dark and twisted sense of humor himself and a huge ego and I wanted to write something about him that he would find shocking, even disturbing, as a joke. But the joke was on me when he refused to read it on the grounds that if someone mentioned in the book (names were changed but still obvious) took offense he couldn’t be sued and could claim ‘plausible deniability’. All he did was tell me to sell it and give him the money. So much for my brotherly gift and my big tasteless joke.

I mailed some query letters to literary agents and eventually one asked to read the manuscript. He then told me to call another agent he knew at another agency because she ‘”liked dark stuff”. She was one of the agents that didn’t respond to my original query letter but now I called with a referral. “Is it dark, cause he knows I like dark?” she said when I told her who gave me her name. She later told me she ‘howled’ while reading it by a pool while on vacation with people staring at her for laughing so hard. She also has a very sick sense of humor. She offered me a literary agent contract and wanted to meet Dwayne.

We went down to the very impressive lit agency office in Hollywood where the receptionist gushed over Dwayne wanting to know if his adventures were really like in the book. Our meeting with the agent was in the agency’s library which had high wood paneled walls covered with book shelves with one wall that was a huge aquarium. I had to laugh when both the receptionist and our new agent kept drilling Dwayne for details knowing that he had never read the book and had no idea what they were talking about. That meeting was September 4, 2001. A week later the world changed and my little book got lost in the debris. After Dwayne died suddenly in 2006 the joke ceased to be funny anyway.


1 comment:

  1. Dwayne was quite "intelligent" . . . I guess that comes natural from being a Warner. His Dad was a teacher and his older brother a genius.

    Dwayne loved to ride his motorcycle when he was younger.

    I would never want to go up against him. That would have been the end of me! . . . miss you Lo Fon!

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