by PHIL AUSTIN:
"Bunky's always grinnin'
From the town of
"Beaver Teeth" is originally something I began to develop as a screenplay. I was just about into the first draft of the Grateful Dead thing when I realized I was fooling myself. What I really like to do is much bigger canvases and more people and much more. You know? And everything in movies is less, less, less, less. Pairing it away, and paring it away. And I'm not real good at that. I seem to be really good when I'm overloading something. Then at the last minute you have to pull me away from it and drag me off it. And with screen writing, you have to ready to walk away from it at any minute. At any minute you're gonna be replaced by 3 guys who just came into town and are smarter and faster and funnier than you are, it turns out.
Anyway we wanted to get away, and we wanted to make a stab at doing that. This is sort of our nest egg, are these stories and these books. I'm really serious about this. I'm at the point that I'm thinking that writing is just it for me. I don't really want to do any performing, I mean I'm happy to do it sometimes, but I don't really care about it. I don't care anymore about directing, producing or all the things that really consumed me for many years in show business. I've done every job in show business. I know everything. I've got it. And suddenly at this point I'm looking for a way to not really have to do it anymore and take all the experience I have and somehow turn it into writing. I started out as a writer, and I'm gonna wind up as a writer. That's the deal. And in the middle I had this fascinating, kind of flashy 25 years that came in the middle, that in which I got to do every kind of job in show business, at one time or another.
I've been working on this book, "Beaver Teeth", for over 6 years or so and it sobers you. At a certain point you have to start stylistically getting it together I think. It's all I do anymore. I mean I do voice overs and I do other stuff, but it hardly takes up my attention the way this book does. It's about a man who has a vision that is saved by love and in the process takes his home town down in the ground. It also has large sections in Hollywood. Every page I turn lately means another idea. So I'm kind of hesitant and garbled about talking about it. I'm sort of right in the middle of it in a way right now. It's a long, big fat novel. It's huge at the moment. It has 50 or 60 characters in it. It wanders back and forth, and up and down the West Coast. The West Coast is nearly destroyed in a gigantic storm in the middle of it. It involves, ghosts, witches, and it involves at one point a whole lot about trains. Its just like this weird thing, its hard for me to describe it, but it is about a man who falls in love and who's life is saved thereby. That's what it's about to me. The man's name is Chester Honeyacre, he's the hero of the book. Now I'm down to like 11/12ths done with it. It'll be finished when someone buys it. I'll keep screwing around with it until I find a buyer for it. I don't know who, or am sure who or what, or what the deal is. I'm barely just beginning to surface. I've been really writing very hard for the last 3 or 4 years. I'm just kind of lifting my head up now and thinking to myself that we better start selling some of this stuff. I kind of don't know what's going to happen next. The minute somebody says, "Ah 'Beaver Teeth', I'm interested in it," I'll start wrapping chapter 45 up. But in the meantime I'm still sort of free to keep seeing what new ideas occur to me right to the end.
"Beaver Teeth" is not particularly surreal. It's real in a lot of ways, it just walks off into another world, once in a while. It's quite strange.