02 October, 2008

I Miss Europe

"Sitting there, alone in a foreign country, far from my job and everyone I know, a feeling came over me. It was like remembering something I'd never known before or had always been waiting for, but I didn't know what. Maybe it was something I'd forgotten or something I've been missing all my life. All I can say is that I felt, at the same time, joy and sadness. But not too much sadness, because I felt alive. Yes, alive. That was the moment I fell in love with Paris. And I felt Paris fall in love with me." --Paris, je t'aime

07 August, 2008

Final Profile For Reporting the Arts

Profile of James Frey: International Best Selling Author

-Nicole Reddick

More known for his million little lies instead of his best selling book A Million Little Pieces, author James Frey has become known as the man who fabricated his own memoir. Named “the man who rewrote his life,” by The Guardian and “the US anti-hero” by The Times, Frey has had to change publishers and hide from the media criticism since the truth came out in 2006.

What was the truth? His stories in his memoir were not completely true and he actually made up some to enhance his stories and his characters. Oprah Winfrey had endorsed his book after it was published, which helped boost his sales to a tremendous amount selling over 3.5 million copies. It was the fastest selling book in her book club. When the truth came out, Winfrey kicked Frey out of her book club and invited him back on her show to criticize him.

“I feel that you betrayed millions of readers," she said on Oprah in January of 2006.

Despite all the controversy, Frey kept writing. His third book Bright Shiny Morning was recently published by HarperCollins on May 13. It also became a best seller and according to The New York Times review, “James Frey saved himself.”

Frey arrived at Borders on Oxford Street in London just moments before 6:30 PM on Friday August 1, 2008. As part of his book tour, he landed in London the day before to promote his third book. He always makes London part of the tour after publication.

He sits on the third floor at a table surrounded by hardback copies of his £12.99 book, which is marked half off especially for the signing. There is a queue to the left, as he leans back in his chair. He isn’t dressed to impress, as he moves his feet around in his old blue Adidas flip flops. He has on a plain white tee shirt that barely matches his wrinkled khaki pants. His black horn-rimmed glasses are affixed to his shirt, but he never makes a point to wear them.

He speaks with ease in a very Midwestern dialect. He doesn’t make a point to pick out big words a writer would use, but instead chooses the simplest words when he speaks.

He isn’t in London to impress the crowd. He signs the books and makes small talk with every fan. He listens to them and it shows how he’s not just an author, but a person as well. Eager fans carry his new book up to him and he does not rush through a single person.

His latest book Bright Shiny Morning takes place in Los Angeles, which is just one of the many places Frey lived.

“Big, ambitious, important novels in which the city itself becomes the central character, have been written about many of the great cities of the world,” Frey says. “I didn't think it had ever been done about LA, a city I love. I know I got the big and ambitious parts done, [but] time will tell of the importance of the book.”

Even though it is the focus of this book, he makes a note that LA wasn’t the only place he has called home. Once Frey and I get a chance to talk, he tells me he was born in Cleveland, Ohio, so then I make a point to step in and bring up my Cincinnati roots.

“Oh! You’re from Cincitucky?” he says jokingly referring to the geography of my hometown. I had failed to remember the two cities have been rivals for years. “Well that’s nowhere near Cleveland.”

I can quickly tell nothing he says can be taken seriously. He tells me how he has lived in Cleveland, rural Michigan, Sao Paulo, Brazil, London, Paris, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York. The long list of cities is relevant to his books, which tackle some of the places he has lived. Each city has taught him different things.

“More than anything else, I've learned that emotions are universal, and we all struggle and yearn for the same things, and the best books are about those universal emotions and yearnings,” he says referring to what he has learned about having so many different places of residence.
Frey is only in London on tour right now though. He lives with his two children and wife back in New York City in the Soho area. He appears eager to talk about that area of town like where he gets pizza before he continues onto anything more serious.

But I am more interested in his writing career and how he’s handled the big scandal. It is the question everyone who meets him is dying to ask. I turn to the first page of his book where the disclaimer reads, "Nothing in this book should be considered accurate or reliable."

“It wasn't required,” he says. “It was more me having fun and making a statement of defiance.”

After the incident, a settlement required his publisher Random House Inc. and Frey to spend 2.5 million dollars to refund unsatisfied readers who bought the book prior to January of 2006. His bold personality stands out after reading that statement in his book. He has changed publishers, but they were not concerned about whether or not everyone would consider his third book completely true as well. Regardless, Frey makes a point to mock his critics. The entire situation seems like a nightmare, but he seems unfazed.

“It doesn't matter to me at all,” Frey says calmly.

Frey’s love for both books as well writing is what keeps him going. The criticism does not affect what he loves to do most.

“There is nothing else I want to do. And people are still supporting me, readers are still reading me,” he says. “The most important thing is how my readers feel about what I do and I feel like I'm in good shape with them.”
At 38 years old, Frey has spent only part of his life seriously writing. He attended Denison University in Granville, Ohio and also took some classes at the Art Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He then moved to Los Angeles to work as a screenwriter and producer. In 1996, he stopped working to begin his first novel. He got inspiration from a long list of writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller, Norman Mailer, and Arthur Rimbaud.

“I admire writers who break rules, and boundaries, and who change the course of literature, and of the world,” he says.
Of course the world now knows that Frey too has been breaking rules. He struggled before getting his first book published. It was rejected by 17 publishers and was finally published eight years after he began writing it. Having the chance was an exceptional opportunity, as it would be for anyone trying to make a name for himself in the literary world. For Frey, his dreams were coming true.

“I wanted to make other people feel the way certain books made me feel,” Frey says. “I wanted to live the life of a writer.”
He leaves London in two days to head back to the United States. He says he is not currently writing another book, but mentions he may be working on a television script with James Gandolfini, former Sopranos star. Then he looks at me and in a serious tone mentions how he should not be talking about this. Still he continues on about the location of the production company in New York and where I could find him working.

Some of the things he says to me seem a bit deceiving like his writing in A Million Little Pieces. I ignore the critics and try to focus on Frey as a writer. His writing is different from other writers. He lacks the smooth format that most writers use. Instead he writes simple sentences line by line. He developed his own style of writing, which has brought in millions of readers.

“I write books because I love them and because I want to be considered one of the most important and influential writers of my time,” he says.

He finally puts on his glasses and hands me back the signed copy of A Bright Shiny Morning. The language within this novel is also the same style. With a new publisher and two years after the scandal, it managed to debut at number nine on The New York Times bestseller list.

Frey doesn’t mind the negative reviews. He writes for himself and plans to continue doing so even though he does not have any ideas for his next novel. Luckily, he won’t have to worry about the sales after this one became an instant success. He says he doesn’t have room to give advice on writing, but ensures me it is possible to succeed.

“You see if I can do it, anyone can do it,” he says. “Write, work, and just believe in what you do.”

After using his own advice, his new book is still being sold quickly, as readers are eager to read to find out if his next 512 pages are lies too.

03 August, 2008

sunday mornings

Hinde Street Methodist Church
i decided to go to church because i missed sunday services back home.. i went here, and luckily it was just like back home, cept with a British pastor. I really enjoyed the service and was glad to go.

02 August, 2008

OXFORD & Stratford Upon Avon!

We went to Oxford and Stratford Upon Avon, England.. Oxford is home to Oxford University and also parts of Harry Potter were filmed there. Stratford is where Shakespeare was born. Both are beautiful too!

Stratford upon avon

Megan, me, Juli in our oxford sweatshirts..

the wall inside
the place shakespeare was born
megan and i in shakespeares..garden

avon river
cute houses
hathaway cottage
me, meg, liz

view from uptop
up in the church

bridge.. to model one in italy?

this is a library. and was seen in Harry Potter.

oxford college

where we ate-- it was amazing

01 August, 2008

James Frey Book Signing

So exciting things just keep on happening..

Megan randomly told me about a book signing at Borders near Oxford Circus.. James Frey-- author of A million little pieces, My Friend Leonard, and his new one- Bright Shiny Morning. Well we made it there and we were last in line for the signing. I started off with the.. "So I hear you're from Ohio too.." He got very excited to see we were American, but instantly made fun of me for being from Cincinnati. We chatted about New York .. how he lives near me and the pizza places we go to. He was a pretty cool guy to talk to as well as an amazing writer.

31 July, 2008

from BBC Proms..

BBC PROMS: World Music Celebration

It was a really great concert with musicians from all over the world! Here are pictures and brief videos to let you get a feel.. there were people dancing on some songs and clapping their hands.. It was definitely more contemporary than most BBC Proms concerts.

Mayra Andrade

won new artist award


she will be performing at the Opening Ceremony for the Olympic games


BBC Proms was amazing..

Prom 17: World Music Celebration

you can listen to it on BBC Radio 3 website for the next 7 days..


30 July, 2008

BBC Tour

We got a special tour of the BBC because my professor used to be an executive editor there! It was actually pretty incredible.. we were there during the live 4 o clock broadcast!
Here are pictures..

29 July, 2008

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People ..

So today in Reporting the Arts, we had a guest speaker named Toby Young, who is a journalist/writer.. He wrote the book-- his memoir-- How to Lose Friends and Alienate People .. which discusses how he went to the top and failed.. Well he was a very interesting speaker, but what I also learned was Paramount Pictures has made a film out of his book. (kirsten dunst is in it) It comes out October 3 in the US and UK.. So it was pretty cool to meet this guy that has a movie coming out about his book. He's from Britain, but spent 5 years in New York working at Vanity Fair.

the merry wives of windsor

This past friday (july 25) we took a trip to windsor and eton, england.. about 30 minutes out of London.. located on the Thames. Both were quite beautiful. In Windsor, we ate lunch, saw Windsor Castle, and also grabbed dinner and dessert there. In between meals, we spent time in Eton. We saw Eton College, which is a boys boarding school-- for boys 13-18. It was quite beautiful as well.. Overall the trip was quite fun. I went with my two flatmates Liz and Megan as well as our friend Evan. It was exhausting, but well worth it! Here are some pictures..

castle grounds
eton college
city by the thames
garden/windsor castle
windsor castle gate
London Mail box.
megan, me, liz
nice view of windsor.
evan and me -- eton college

the town
map of the castle.
the castle again.
with the guard.