John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton
jheaton

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Can't turn away

Oh, what the heck, let's go back to the well. This one's complicated, so pay attention. From page 5 of Will the Vampire People Please Leave the Lobby? True Adventures in Cult Fandom by Allyson Beatrice:

The shock of the move sucker-punched me in the face right around Christmas, six weeks after I arrived.

Pages 7-8:

It all started with a party. A gathering of my fellow net sluts. A woman named Kristen, who would later turn out to be one of the most important people in my world, was throwing a bash at the Paramount Studios Commissary. ... I was in love with the idea and volunteered my time to the event. ... I was a broken down excuse for a person, but I was slowly rebuilding by being responsible for something, even if the something was as small as printing nametags.
     Here's a brief timeline of the milestones between printing those nametags and getting a book deal to write essays on my strange life-changing road trip through fandom:

January 2000: Kristen introduces me to Kara, a writer for ScoopMe.com...

Page 9:

February 2001: Kristen and I, along with a woman named Maya Stosskopf volunteer to plan an arrival mixer and auction for an infamous party called PBP (Posting Board Party).

Page 54:

[Beatrice and her friends are dissatisfied with the way the Posting Board Party is being run. The PBP Committee challenges them to throw their own party if they don't like it.] A tall redhead named Kristen picked up the gauntlet and hatched a plan. There would be a party the same weekend as PBP, in Los Angeles, for half the price. And thus, Caritas was born.
     I had just moved to Los Angeles from Boston in October 2000. ... Kristen threw a fabulous shindig at the Paramount Commissary. ... We had proved that we could live without the PBP Committee. ... [W]e ended up at Mel's Diner one fall evening. Me, Kristen, Will from the PBP Committee, and Maya, a neutral party in the party wars. We had decided to make a compromise. On PBP weekend, Maya, Kristen, and I would throw a mixer on Friday night to welcome the Bronzers to L.A.

Page 171:

A stranger I met on the internet came to live with me in April of 2003; a tall, curve-alicious black woman named ita, with a sprinkle of freckles across her nose , close-cropped bleach blond hair, and an ever-present pimp chain draped around her neck.

Page 173:

I had fled the Northeast a year earlier, my soul sucked from my body by a crappy job that had left me nothing but an empty husk.

Phew! As the passages quoted above demonstrate, there is a real problem with continuity in this book. Consider: Beatrice moved to L.A. in late October 2000. Not too long after the move, she throws herself into helping organize a fan party at the Paramount Commissary. That much is pretty clear, but there's so much contradictory detail sprinkled throughout the book that you're left not really knowing what happened when with whom. In one chapter, the party at the Paramount Commissary is described "an arrival mixer and auction for an infamous party called PBP," but in another it's presented as being entirely separate from the Posting Board Party, an alternative event for "a small, disgruntled, bitchy minority" of frequent Bronze posters who resented the presence of less-frequent posters at the PBP. (No, really.) Maya Stosskopf is said in one passage to have helped organize the Paramount party, and in another to have been a neutral party in the dispute between the small, disgruntled, bitchy minority and the PBP Committee. Her "Give Buffy an Emmy" campaign is mentioned as having happened both "between printing those nametags and getting a book deal" and before she moved to L.A. And she says that she moved to L.A. a year earlier than her friend ita, who moved there in 2003.

Now, Vampire People is a collection of essays, not a novel nor a traditional memoir, so it's not meant to have narrative flow. But to the extent that she discusses specific events, it would have been nice to see a little attention paid to getting the details right. How did the editor not catch any of this? To be fair, I didn't see the contradictory details about the Paramount Commissary party at first, but they emerged easily enough when I went back to try to reconcile the two radically different dates for Beatrice's move to L.A., which I did notice right away. If I saw it, why didn't a professional editor at a small but reputable independent publisher?

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