|Bill, Erin and John O'Brien, 1970|
Vegas Mavens has posted an essay about my brother John and his novel Leaving Las Vegas.
During our interview, Mavens writer Josh and I discussed one of my favorite passages from the book that appears on page five. This burst of poetry and geometry absolutely dazzles me:
His point was made, and he moved along, in keeping with the tangential nature that must consume at least one of them. There is a bottle in his future--perhaps sooner a glass--elsewhere on the line. Sera is a circle, twenty-nine years around.
There is a woman (a circle) and a man (a straight line). The metaphor is perfect in it's every permutation: in the primal symbols of female and male, and in the visual moment when Ben and Sera first glance off each other. Their tangential one-point contact is also an accurate representative of their relationship as a whole. His line does not bisect the circle or thread through it's middle just as Ben does not penetrate Sera.
After their brief and chaste affair, Sera will continue to roll around her diameter and Ben's line will plod on. That line is resolute in its path and the liquor that marks it. Whether it comes to an end or continues along towards a spiritual vanishing point depends on the reader and how he spends his Sunday mornings. Sera's age, 29, is a prime number, divisible only by itself and the number one (how much do I love that?).
Hence on page five, John has effectively diagrammed his entire novel in 50 easy words.
All I can do is sigh. All I can do is shake my head. All I can do is put my fingers on the goddamn keyboard.
Josh and I talked and talked and talked, but we didn't get to all of it. There are parts of the film that I like very much, such as the sad melodic opening:
Insider note: At 3:06, Stuart Regen walks through the set in a cameo appearance. It is perhaps subtler than those of Richard Lewis and Steven Weber, but far more significant. Long before Ben and Sera glittered on the silver screen, Regen plucked a copy of Leaving Las Vegas from a bargain book bin because he liked the cover. He purchased the book for one dollar and subsequently fell impossibly in love with the story. He optioned the rights for $2,000.
Without Stuart Regen, Leaving Las Vegas would never have been made into a film. He succumbed to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in August, 1998.
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Thanks again to Josh for an evocative and fresh viewpoint on the Leaving Las Vegas story and John.
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