Marvin reminds Owen to
snuff out his smoke, which Owen does reluctantly. They both take a seat.)
(Billie) - Hi Owen, Marvin.
(Marvin) – Hi Billie, good to see you again.
(Billie) - I hope your day goes well. Thanks for coming, have a sip of ice tea or lemonade and chat with us. How’s the weather in your neck of the woods? How’s your investment portfolio doing? Getting any writing done? How’s the wife and kids?
(Owen looks at Marvin, confused. Marvin says to Owen) – Small talk, Owen, relax, that’s just Billie – she can get a bit facetious at times. (Marvin turns to Billie, says) – Weather’s fine, the investments are as falsely inflated as the stock market, the writing never stops, and the wife and kids’re – well, speaking for me, doing just fine. C’mon, Billie, I know you didn’t ask us here to discuss our favorite colors. (smiles and chuckles)
(Billie laughs with him) – Yes, well - now that we’ve got the chatty ‘how’d ya be’ stuff done lets get to some questions that I’ve been dying to ask and I know my Printed Words readers are holding on with their fingernails white with anticipation. Let’s start with this:
My definition of Irony: All is not as it appears to be. Is Owen a definition of irony? Does the braggadocio, full of himself, acerbic wit, curmudgeon cover insecurity or lack of self-confidence?
OWEN: Yup. All that. You pegged me right good, Ms. Williams. Hey, where have I seen you before … Playboy, right? March issue, 1997? So what’re you doin’ later?
(Marvin) Owen! For god’s sake, stow it, will ya? Jeez-o-Pete – sorry, Billie.
(Billie) Oh, no harm, Marvin. Owen, you DO live up to your rep, don’t you? My, what a charmer. But on a more serious note, and I’m talking to Owen now - by your own admission you take no responsibility for your actions, YOU SAY—and yet you do. You seem to be trying to set the record straight. You seem to be saying – “Hey, I fell off the turnip truck but it wasn’t the end of my life - it was only the beginning.” Isn’t that taking responsibility in some fashion?
(Owen lifts his eyes to the ceiling, stares for a moment, then sighs with a fall of his chest, looks pleadingly at Marvin who just stares at him, then looks at Billie) – Yeah. I guess you could say that. But really I’m not all that comfortable calling all this attention to myself. The only reason I agreed to let Marvin write my story was I figured maybe I’d get ahead some, you know – maybe make some money. Am I taking responsibility for my life by sharing my story with others? If I am, that’s just a plus for me according to you, I guess. ‘N thank ya kindly, Ma’am.
(Billie) - Do you believe in the oft-quoted message that ‘nothing happens by accident’? Do you think perhaps you were chosen to trod the path you trod in order to better understand the message that you were to write to others?
(Owen looks at Marvin as if to ask if he should answer – Marvin nods yes) – Okay, Look. There’s all this fuss bein’ made over my life story. I can’t figure it. I mean, there’s tons-o-folks you could write the same book about. Marvin picked me, he says, cuz I’m like some kinda average example. So, all this heavy stuff about troddin’ paths and all that (bleep)? I really don’t know. I’m just Owen Fiddler – nothin’ more, nothin’ less.
(Billie) - The things we see and dislike in others is a mirror of ourselves – or reflects what we don’t like in ourselves to put it another way or so I’m led to believe. You say in an interview I read recently that You (Owen Fiddler) represent those aspects we often abhor in others but fail to recognize in ourselves. Can you expand on this—I mean how do you mean this phrase? Do you mean if I hate my sister for being gorgeous that I have these same traits that make her appear gorgeous to me? Or because I joke that my other sister is a motor mouth that I am one?
(Owen) – Well, if the bra fits, wear it. Or, lie about it and stuff it with tissue. Gorgeous sister, eh? Think I could meet her?
(Marvin) – Oh-when! … we’re not on The Dating Game, pal. Keep it relevant, will ya?
(Billie – chuckles) – You guys’re a stitch. You know, the name Owen seems to say “ow(e)n up to your mistakes, ow(e)n what you say, ow(e)n what you write, ow(e)n what you project,” at least in my mind. Is that what you intended with the title of this book, naming it after yourself? Or do you mean you own the Fiddler?
(Owen turns to Marvin, perplexed, says) – She’s getting’ a bit deep for me. You named me, what the (bleep)’s she talkin’ about?
(Marvin) – Hmmm – actually, Billie, you are close in your assessment of the meaning of Owen Fiddler’s name. In a certain way, you are right on. However, the real meaning of the name, the more succinct interpretation as I intended it is … oh, how can I say it without unbagging the cat? Put it like this: Owen likes to dance, but he never pays the fiddler. Therefore, he is in a constant state of Owen Fiddler.
(Owen) – I’m getting’ a (bleep)ing headache. Is this all you got – ice tea and lemonade? I need a beer and a shot of tequila.
(Marvin) – Knock it off, Owen. Sorry again, Billie.
(Billie) – Quite all right. Now, you say that Owen Fiddler is not a religious book, but a highly spiritual book. Isn’t religion about inspiring, enlightening? And isn’t religion spiritual? Isn’t this just a fine/very thin line you are choosing so as not to believe in anything but yourself? Are you saying that all religions are nothing more then doctrine, rules, regulations and sermons of what not to do and how bad we are?
(Owen) – Well, I never been inspired by religion. Religious people’ve always struck me as robots. Reciting scriptures, all actin’ the same, rigid in their ways and habits – and super judgmental about anyone who isn’t exactly the same as they pretend to be. Bunch o’ nicey-nice folks afraid to have any real rip-roarin’ fun ‘n lookin’ down their noses at people that do.
(Marvin) – I’d like to interject a comment here. Because this is an important point. In fact, Billie, you touch on a few important points with your insightful inquiry. There is a radical difference between religion and spirituality. Allow me to explain with an example. Jesus was divine spirit incarnate. However, Christianity, the organized religion as we know and experience it today, two thousand years after His crucifixion, is for the most part a sham of a representation of what He taught and pointed His followers toward. Now before you denounce me as a heretic and organize an Owen Fiddler book burning with me strapped to a stake in the middle, please just stay with me for a minute.
Jesus did not found Christianity – His followers did, long after his death and resurrection. Jesus just loved people – He loved everyone equally without judgment and led them to the truth. And he bade us to follow His example. Can we say this of the religious community we have today? Is forgiveness, compassion and non-judgmental love for everyone the hallmark of the church that goes by His name? No. Never has been, at least not for sixteen hundred years or so. Wars are fought; throngs of innocent lives are slain, in the name of Christianity. Can there be any more supreme irony, any more of an obtuse oxymoron than the concept of a “Holy War?” Remember, it was the religious people of Jesus’ time that had Him crucified. They chose to liberate Barabas – a murderer, rather than let Jesus live. If Jesus were alive and walking the streets today, the religious would kill Him again. His spirit is too radical – too free – too liberated - far too spontaneous and wild to be confined by an organization. Religion fosters fear – fear of unbridled freedom, the kind of limitless freedom that Jesus was and is. I mean, we’re talking about a guy who could fast for forty days and rebuke the devil and then turn around and have a feast with thieves and hookers while enjoying a healthy wine buzz. I tell you, the Church would not recognize its own savior if he were to return today. He’d be declared the Anti-Christ and assassinated by the clergy.
And I’m not just picking on Christianity – the same can be said for Judaism and Islam. You asked earlier about irony. How’s this for even more irony – Judaism, Islam and Christianity, their devout followers all believe in and worship the same One God of Abraham. The Old Testament and the Koran are (in large part) just different scriptings of the same stories, parables, and theological tenets. So why then, are they killing each other? Put Moses, Mohammed and Jesus in a room together. Do you suppose they would argue, come to blows and try to murder each other over their different interpretations of The Way? I think not. Yet their so-called followers do just that.
(Marvin notices Owen has fallen asleep, snoring) Owen! Wake up! Show a little respect, for heaven’s sake.
(Owen jerks awake) Huh? Wha?
(Billie laughs) - I think I see what you’re saying. But let me ask you this - do you think by saying it’s not a religious book that readers will take a chance on reading it and find out too late that they have been touched by religion? That they believe in a higher power and perhaps even the good of most if not all mankind given the right chances?
(Owen) – I’m sorry, what’re we talkin’ about?
(Marvin looks at Owen as if he were a used cud of chewing gum) – That’s all right, I got this one. Ahem. Yes. Absolutely, that is my hope and intention. OWEN FIDDLER is a brave book, if I do say so myself. I took a chance on publishing it. The strictly religious community will probably eschew it as being mere filth. I mean, Owen cusses, gets drunk regularly and is prolifically promiscuous. I’m a writer of truths, and that’s just the way he is. And conversely, the book runs the risk of being considered (ironically) by the secular community as too “religious.” The book has characters in it drawn from Christian theology. Again, I’m being true to myself. I am a Christian – albeit a rather non-religious Maverick spiritualist version of the faith – in the eyes of traditionalists, at least. But the book is not preachy - it’s engaging, entertaining, sometimes humorous, often it tugs at the heart, sometimes it gets irreverent and even sexy. I would think that anyone of any faith or path or no particular path at all can enjoy and appreciate the story. The message is universal.
In my perfect world, OWEN FIDDLER would come to be known and appreciated as a valuable “crossover” book. A modern day parable that has meaning to everyone, whether they are “religious,” “Spiritual,” or follow the Law of Attraction, or even just honestly agnostic. I’m all about bringing people together in love. It’s a form of worship for me.
(Billie) - What does Owen like to do when he is not writing and thinking about where he has been, what he has done, and what he will do next. Waking up on any given morning what are your thoughts? Going to the grocery store – what do you contemplate buying? What is a typical Owen Fiddler day?
(Owen yawns – awake now, somewhat) – Most mornings my first thought is I need to puke. I hate getting up, having to go to my (bleep)ing job, working with those (bleep)ing (bleep)holes, bringin’ home less money than I got bills. My daily life sucks. I live for quitting time, getting drunk and scoring on whores. Cheap thrills.
(Billie) - I watch Judge Judy, as millions of other people do, nearly every late afternoon. She gets really upset that so many people don’t take responsibility for their own actions — everything is someone else’s fault – Owen, you are so typical of today’s society - what made you decide to jump on a band wagon and fess up to all that’s happened in your life and try to make everyone else see – you are what you chose?
(Owen) – Fessin’ up was Marvin’s idea. I only went along with it for the money. I ain’t to blame for all the (bleep) that’s happened to me. Uh–uh. No (bleep)ing way. (bleep)
(Marvin) – Owen! The language? Billie, can I jump in again right here? Nowadays everybody has some syndrome or another. No matter how stupid, wicked, spiteful or hateful the action taken, it’s because the perpetrator suffers from some syndrome or another. Not their fault, the “Devil made them do it.” Nobody’s taking responsibility for their actions anymore. Am I right? Isn’t that why Judge Judy is so popular? We’re all sick and tired of this blame-game finger-pointing society, but everybody figures it’s the other person, not themselves, that’s behaving irresponsibly. Well, take a good look at Owen Fiddler, ladies and gentlemen, because he’s the eclectic synthesis of all syndromes, the mother of all fault-finders. Mark my word, eventually some attorney will get his client exonerated of a rape or murder charge by using the “Owen Fiddler Syndrome” argument.
(Billie) – Owen, I can’t help but mention, and I hope you won’t mind sharing the spot light with Marvin Wilson – that you were awarded the Silver Avatar Award for excellence in spiritual books. Congratulations! Tell us a little about this award and how it makes you (Owen) feel after what you said about your book not being religious?
(Owen) – Well, yeah – thanks. I never had no award or nuthin’ before. Kinda surprised me, be honest. Marvin tells me I’m gonna have some kinda spiritual experience, meet up with God or some (bleep). And so the story goes, I guess, there’s supposed to be a purpose to my life that has some kinda spiritual message in it. For the life of me I don’t know what the (bleep) that could be, but Marvin swears by it. I ain’t read the book yet myself – not very big on reading – too much work. If they wind up makin’ a movie out of it, I’ll go see that. Marvin networks with lotsa writers, he got hip to this AVATAR website, or organization, whatever – supposed to be pretty prestigious if they grant your writing an award. Has to be a work with clear and insightful spiritual content. Well, we won the silver – which is pretty darn good for a novel, from what I hear.
(Billie) - Thank you so much for allowing me to put you in the hot seat and for answering my questions. I must mention one more thing. The video trailer up on One True Media.Com is absolutely beautiful. The soul of the characters, the mood or essence of the characters portrayed from Frenda to Kris to the devil grab the viewer as much as the beautiful musical backdrop. You did good Owen! Please give our readers a link to that video as well as some idea where they can buy your book – and check in on Marvin Wilson – the string master who helps you keep your truth for the rest of us.
(Owen) – Sure. And thanks. For the compliment. Ahm, just click on Owen Fiddler is Here! for the video. It’s pretty cool – won the New Covey Award, the trailer did. You can buy the book on www.amazon.com or www.cambridgebooks.us or at your favorite bookstore. For reviews, excerpts, info, and even a short live talk I do, go to: www.owenfiddler.com
(Marvin) Yes, and both Owen and I have MySpaces. His is at: www.myspace.com/owenfiddler and mine is www.myspace.com/Paize_Fiddler - drop in and leave us a note, we’ll get back to you. Also, I LOVE getting emails from my readers, I’ve made so many wonderful friends since taking up writing – mail me at: email@example.com
(Billie) - One final question, Owen. Even though you say you have a selfish point of view, that you have been a fool, I think it is all a charade and you are one heck of a decent, loving, and wonderful kind of guy —who has so much to offer. A clue to this is you are doing it in such a non-threatening way that you reach out and grab people and get them to listen. Do you agree that you are WAY smarter then you give yourself credit for?
(Owen) – I guess I’m not sure what you mean. Hardly nobody’s ever said such nice things about me before. (face reddens) ‘S why I do what I do. All the stupid (bleep), you know. I’m afraid of real intimacy. Not sex, y’know, I mean real love – all intimate and the heart laid open and exposed. I never liked myself, figured nobody could really love the real me, so I put on this macho tough guy loner image and stay toasted most the time. A guy’s gotta feel good somehow. Tell ya, though – it’s a lonely life, bein’ selfish. Marvin tells me I’m gonna wind up happy and really be all those nice things like you said. Seems too impossible to believe.
(Billie) - Well, believe it. I know what I believe, and your curmudgeonly old self really is, after all, just a cover up. Hey, you guys, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with you and you are welcome on my blog any old day. So, do come back—ya hear?
(Marvin) – Thanks so much, Billie. The feeling is mutual. You’re good people.
(Owen) – Yep, I’d have to admit I actually had me a good time. And with nothin’ but a lemonade to drink at that! Ain’t that somethin’? Hey, Billie - speakin’ of good times – can I get your number? Call ya later?
(Marvin buries his face in his hands)