Future Perfect Publishinghas often reported on blog to book stories. But none is as unusual as that of Diablo Cody. Diablo Cody, a pen name for Brook Busey-Hunt, graduated with a degree in media studies from the University of Iowa and, accoding to an article in Wikipedia, started her career quietly enough proofreading ad copy for Minneapolis radio stations. Her first blog was Darling Girl, which detailed her daily experiences and interactions. On a whim, she took up stripping and later switched to being as a phone sex operator. Her blogging would, like her career, later become a notch more risque with the advent of Pussy Ranch.
At the age of 24, Cody published the memoir Candy Girl: A Year in The Life of an Unlikely Stripper. Prior to publication, Cody’s blog writing had attracted the attention of Mason Novick (“Red Eye”) who thought she had a fresh voice and wondered if she would consider writing a movie. As related in a Seattle Times article, he called her and suggested she write a screenplay. Cody, flattered by Novick’s confidence in her, obliged and wrote Juno, the story of a pregnant teen, who with the support of her loving but eccentric family, decides to have the baby and give it to an infertile couple. Jason Reitman (“Thank you for Smoking”) directed the film. Now she is head writer for Steven Spielberg’s new TV series The United States of Tara set to debut on Showtime in 2008, she’s got more movies in the works, and last month the Hollywood Film Festival gave her the Hollywood Breakthrough Screenwriter of the Year Award. Whew! (Her breathless ascent to Hollywood writer Nirvana is chronicled in a recent Wired article, Diablo Cody’s Tips for Blogging Your Way to Hollywood Success.)
Cody’s writing certainly provokes reactions on both sides of the spectrum. But as the LA Times noted, her voice is authentic and refreshing:
In a town that shells out millions of dollars for screenplays so practiced that they read as though the human element has all but been squelched, hers is an authentic voice, alternately sardonic, wide-eyed, hilarious and sad.
“I’ve always gotten a large ration of negative reactions to positive in my writing,” she says. “For some reason, it tends to provoke reactions on the extreme ends of the spectrum. I hate the idea that I’m some sort of self-invented Gatsby-type figure who clawed her way to the top. I have done nothing of the sort. I’m Forrest Gump. I feel like I’m superimposed in all these scenarios. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing here.”
Cody is certainly a refreshing conundrum, an unexpected mishmash and a self-declared “radical feminist” who’s routinely received angry e-mails from readers who believe that’s she a female chauvinist, complicit with the porn industry. Her memoir “Candy Girl” is certainly not for the fainthearted, full of the up-close-and-personal details of what it’s like to strip and entertain depraved customers. Her book combines Diane Arbus prurience with a wacky sense of humor and Midwestern do-it-yourselfness; it landed her as David Letterman’s one-and-only “Book Club 2006 pick” and a jaunty appearance on the show, where she declared herself the “Margaret Mead of sex.”
Want to get a sense of the author? Check out her appearance on the David Letteran show.
Just as publishers are beginning to explore the blogosphere for commercial grade writing talent, look for Hollywood to follow suit. But what is compelling and interesting about Diablo Cody’s work is not that she went from blog to book or from blog script; but rather that she went from life to both of the above.
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