Hidden away somewhere in the loft is a box containing all my old school reports... from 1968 when I was described as a “pleasant and helpful little boy” through to 1982... when I wasn’t!!!
I suppose there are various points in your life when someone will judge your work or ability whether that be job-related, on the sports field or... in this case, my attempt at writing a biography of Marilyn Monroe. Receiving feedback from your peers is not always easy... not when you get to my age it isn’t, that’s for sure... But following on from some kind words from Marilyn author Michelle Morgan, here is what another expert in all things Monroe, Marijane Gray, said earlier today about Something Had to Give... and about me...
“Richard, when taking into consideration how many YEARS it takes for us fans to discern fact from fiction and considering the huge, awful, just ridiculous errors in some of the more famous bios, what you have accomplished is nothing short of remarkable. You did more than a “reasonable” job, you did an amazing job and you should be proud of yourself.
“I am very hard to please; I go over any new MM book with a fine-tooth comb looking for errors. Most are so incorrect I hate then by the first chapter. There are very few books about her that do not make enormous, glaring, awful inaccuracies. Michelle Morgan’s is one; James Haspiel is another... And yours is another.
“As I said, the errors are tiny. Teeny-weeny. It’s not like you placed her in places she wasn’t, associated her with people she never knew like 90% of MM bios do.
“I took notes – I only found six teensy factual errors. I think I found as many in the bio written by Marilyn’s own sister!! (which is a highly recommended one)
“There were several things about you and your writing style that I absolutely loved, and that set you apart from most MM authors – you never once tried to speculate or pretend to know what MM was thinking. That’s a bigger deal
than you may realize. You never claimed to “Reveal the truth at last!” or “Show us the REAL Marilyn” – many do, and it annoys us MM fans no end.
“Your book fills a niche that was sorely needed – it is absolutely ideal for new MM fans to get introduced to the facts of her life, and I will be recommending it to anyone looking for a first MM book to read and learn more about her.
“I am also very impressed with how you handled the chapter on her death, and in that regard, you are on a par with only one other MM author in my opinion. I’ve studies MM’s death in great detail for nearly 3 years solid, and
while we disagree slightly, you surprisingly came insanely close to where I stand on it after researching it for years.
“I know being a little self-deprecating is part of your charm, but you really ought to be very, very proud of what you have accomplished with this book.
“I get asked about MM books very regularly, and there are perhaps have a dozen bios that I will recommend. Yours is now one of them."
When I read that earlier today, I was almost lost for words... yeah I know... audible sigh of relief... but I am honestly flattered and would like to thank Marijane not only for posting such positive and humbling comments, but also for saving me almost all the effort of compiling today’s blog.
Thank you xx
PS: The stunning picture at the top of the blog (and inspiration for the title) was taken in 1962 by George Barris.
© The Barris Trust
All my own work... almost.