“Late morning in early August, downtown Sacramento, and it was already a hundred degrees in the shade, if you could find any. Sun beating down directly overhead; no clouds, no breeze. The air was so bone-dry it was hard to draw a breath. The city streets shimmered like some kind of black magic. It was the type of weather that drove men mad.”
With these few prophetic lines announcing a maverick book skillfully and wisely written, producer-turned-novel-writer David Prybil is inviting us to the Golden State--California--where dreams have no limit but the inner dimension of your own limitation. “I thought the timing for this book is perfect with Schwarzenegger leaving Sacramento. This book is a little bit of a fable about the last few years when he held office,” admits David. As the background of the rise to power by Arnold unfolds, so are four lives of intriguing characters in search of the American dream, whatever this could mean in an era of budget cuts, layoffs, foreclosures, and bankruptcies. Altering a Tom Wolf (David’s mentor of sorts) flair for the social and a taste for a visceral existentialism à la Jack Kerouac meets John Fante, David Prybil delivered a little jewel of simple yet efficient literature, straight to the point yet drifting over the rainbow metaphorical journey into the self-discovery of what it means to be Alive and keep going in spite of the struggle and the mountains to conquer.
Yes, Golden State is both inspiring and questioning, daring and provoking. This book helps us reach the ultimate moment of truth, when each character, including us the reader, is coming to peace with himself and realizing that a dream comes true when you put your words into action. I dream, therefore I am, therefore I do! The final page of Golden State, full of the common sense that there is nothing more important but to love, is the first page of your life to live in 3D, beyond the 2D of the written word. The mind turns free and the flesh is alive and happy. And after all, isn’t happiness what we all are looking for with so much pain to endure on this path from here to Eternity? Just end your search and pick up a copy of Golden State, for it will put on your face a smile and put you on the right path to happiness. Don’t worry…let the dream be and you shall be happy!
A conversation with David Prybil:
Emmanuel Itier: How does one go from the world of producing, of endless meeting and “let’s get together for lunch” to the lonely world of “me, myself and the computer”?
David Prybil: I never left the world of producing, but I took a sabbatical from it. The backdrop of this book is truly what happened in 2003 with the election of Arnold for Governor of California. It was truly an unprecedented event, and people got caught up in the carnival of it. People got swept up, again, in the possibility of the American Dream, which Arnold represents better than anybody. So I asked myself: what type of people would take this cue to follow their own American Dream? And what would become of that, of them? Would they become disillusioned; would they adapt and succeed? I even used Arnold as a character, because I’m sure things didn’t turn our the way he planned either…
EI: How close to you are the four characters of your book?
DP: I put a little bit of me in each of them. There are two main male and two main female characters in my book. One of them, Spencer, is a writer, so for sure there might more of me in him! I think this is true of any character of any book you read--that there is the reflection, a little bit, of who the writer is, what he is going through as well.
EI: Was there something in particular that you were trying to convey, to express with this book? What would be its message, if any?
DP: When I was writing Golden State, there was always a Rolling Stones songs in my head which is saying: “You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need.” And I think that’s true with all these characters--the way they put themselves out there. Maybe they didn’t achieve the goal they had set for themselves, but they certainly got what they needed for themselves at the end. They found, in the long run, some measure of success and what gave them happiness, which is the one thing we’re all seeking. Happiness is key.
EI: Do you see any parallel between producing a movie and “producing” a book?
DP: It’s pretty clear to me that, when you’re writing a script, you’re creating a blueprint for the director. Very few people would read the script in the process of making the film, but for the director, it’s a road map for him to create a visual world. Where in a book, it’s all about the beauty of language; it’s about internal monologues and expressions that you cannot get from a movie. And as a result it was a wonderful departure for me, and I loved it. I loved writing this book.
EI: Who inspires you as a writer? Who are your mentors?
DP: There are tons of writers I love and am inspired by. But I have to say that I went to the same high school as Tom Wolf, and he is able to straddle that line between social commentary, humor, drama...and this is a little bit what I’m trying to do with Golden State.
EI: Are you going to keep writing or go back to producing? Do you think Golden State would make a good movie?
DP: Some people say that Golden State is similar to Robert Altman’s Nashville. And actually, I met recently with Paul Thomas Anderson, the director of Magnolia, and I told him that his world definitively influenced my work. But I didn’t write Golden State to be a blueprint for a movie; I wrote it to enjoy writing a novel. I just go where the best stories are, but we’ll see how this one turns out… For sure I’d love to write another book.