This past 4th of July weekend, when many of you were at the beach or in the park with the BBQ grill, I was at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Wilmington and glancing at the Christiana Costco’s book table. It’s an economist’s curse to be observational, and I couldn’t help but notice that Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book was not selling well. However, a 200-page book (with wide margins) by a bloke who once worked for JFK, Jr. seemed quite popular (a perfect beach read). So in the spirit of bipartisanship and female fellowship, I have this advice for Mrs. Clinton: Have your ghostwriters do a novel about vampires in the Arkansas Ozarks.
Consider the benefits! Not only would it make oodles of money: it would be money HRC will appear to have earned by doing real work, instead of snatching up six-figure speaking fees for speeches at meaningless conferences.
Plus it would be a way to connect with younger voters, who have an insatiable appetite for novels about vampires, ghosts, zombies, etc.
Finally, it would give her the chance to reinvent herself as a woman from the Heartland, Arkansas, specifically.
Yes, Arkansas. The state that H. L. Mencken described as leading the nation in lynchings and open-air baptisms. HRC lived there for about 17 years (1975 to January 1992 when she and Bill moved into the White House).
Interestingly, she had met Bill at Yale Law School around 1971, had worked at various places including the Senate’s Watergate committee, but was unable to pass the D.C. bar. She did pass the Arkansas bar (Mencken would not have been surprised) and thus her stint in the Heartland began.
What about the novel? I think the plot unfolds this way: A young, accomplished woman from the East Coast meets a charmer from Arkansas; they marry and she moves there; he rises in political circles and she finds herself in whirl of sitting on charitable boards, ribbon cutting at public buildings and the like. She attends a ribbon-cutting at a library deep in the Ozarks, but when she works the rope line, she encounters a wizened crone muttering about vampires in deep in the woods.
Being a highly educated East Coast woman, she shrugs off the crone’s warnings. But during her regular evening run in the hills behind the motel (the one advertising “sheets changed weekly”), she becomes lost. As the sun descends, the forest takes on a menacing air. At the moment when the sun finally sets, she is shocked to see a tree morph into a vampire.
She begins running towards what she thinks is the direction back to the motel. Meanwhile her handlers, who had been idling at BillyJoeBob’s tavern (“glasses washed weekly”), return to the motel only to learn the boss lady has disappeared.
Armed with flashlights and the motel owner’s hound dog, Ole Blue, they search the hills. Ole Blue, straining at his leash, leads them deeper into the woods, where the team hears their boss’s screams for help.
As she is rescued, Mrs. East Coast makes a mental vow to rid the Ozarks of all vampires. Exactly how she does this, I leave to the ghostwriters.
Speaking of ghostwriters, if HRC could get them to hustle up, they could have the novel out in time for the Christmas market (but only trade paperbacks and e-books, the kids don’t buy/want hardbacks). Ca-ching!
And if the book cover’s grisly enough, HRC won’t have to bother with a tedious book tour. The book will sell itself.
However, if, Mrs. C., you must do a tour, may I suggest an event at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky? With that stop, you’ll be able to claim to have been to Transylvania (assuming you never visited the one in Romania as First Lady or Secretary of State).
Of course, the final payoff would be in late 2014 or early 2015, as HRC could go on “Meet the Press” and sigh about how her novel is really a metaphor for how she worked very, very hard to improve the lives of the people of Arkansas – to rid them of the vampires of illiteracy, poverty, etc.
So weep no more Mrs. C. With your long years in a state capital (Little Rock) and D.C., you’ve plenty of experience with bloodsuckers. Why not use your experience, get creative and reinvent yourself – again!
You might even start a trend! I’d love to see Ted Cruz and Rick Perry compete (novelistically) for who can kill most vampires in Texas, while Rand Paul muses on the libertarian position vis à vis vampires.
Tick-tock, Mrs. C. The Christmas market beckons and America waits.