Collaborating with a Ford

Over at the LBC's Jeffrey Ford Week, a ritual fellating praising of Jeff Ford has all and sundry turning up. I thought about posting some tales about Jeff over there -- the story of how I once took him to a vegan restaurant and tried to convert him to Calvinist fruitarianism, for instance -- but decided that I'd rather just leave some notes here. Because I know the real Jeffrey Ford...

[insert shimmering dreamy fog here]

This is a story about a story Jeff and I wrote together and have sold to John Klima at Electric Velocipede. This story became proof that though Jeff is the multiple-award-winning-author-of-blah-blah-blah, if he writes something with me, it will still get rejected by everybody. Even Klima didn't want to take it, until Jeff challenged him to a mudwrestling duel unless he published it.

And so we begin to see glimmers of The Real Ford. I, though, had seen these glimmers earlier.

Here's how the collaboration came about... Once upon a time, Jeff decided to quit smoking, and during this time, he had some very weird dreams that he wrote up and posted on a bathroom wall. I happened to be in that bathroom and read the dreams there, and thought they would be good material for some of Jeff's stories. I innocently -- innocently, I say! -- asked him what he was doing with the dreams. "What do you think I should do with them?" he asked. "Write a story," I said. "About what?" he said. "How about blah-blah-blah." He thought for a little bit, then said, "That's a good idea. Why don't you write it, and I'll fix all the stuff you screw up."

This was not what I had predicted would happen. I'd thought Ford would write his own story. They were his dreams, after all, not mine. (As I said, I went into this innocently. And I never lie.)

But being a loyal Ford fan, I decided to see what would happen. So I wrote the story, sent it to Jeff, and he sent it on to a short-story packager (a low-rent version of a book packager), and they sent it back to him, and he rewrote everything, taking out many of my best lines and leaving in a few sentences I really should never have written in the first place, then sent it back to me and said, "I think it's done. Send it out. Make sure my name's first, because I'm the famous one, remember. If it doesn't sell, it's your fault."

Yes, for all those stories of how friendly and generous Jeff Ford is, you only discover his true self when you write a story with him. There's a reason The Girl in the Glass is about con men. In reality, he's as manipulative, conniving, and self-centered as anyone this side of Dick Cheney. (And to think I once took him fishing at the secret lake of the tofu fish! How naive I was, how gullible!)

So that's a story of our miserable story. I know that with all the stories about Ford out there it's hard to separate the truth from the fiction, but as the Grand Reverend of Bananas preaches: "The truth lies beneath the peel."

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