Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Memories...

As many of you know, when I'm not writing books, I work in publishing as an editor. One day I got a cold call, which happens every once in a while when someone wants to call and pitch you their idea over the phone and find out if it's something you'd actually consider. The guy started talking about his memoir, and how he'd been working on it with someone and how he thought it was going to be a great story. I asked what kind of memoir it is, and he said it was about growing up and his job as a kid and problems he had and how he'd overcome them. I get pitched memoirs all the time, and while I think it's valiant and wonderful that people put down their life story for their families (what I would have given for my grandparents to have written their life stories for me... I actually would follow them around with tape recorders and constantly ask them questions about growing up because I didn't want to lose those stories), I think most memoirs are best kept to the family. But you never know, occasionally something comes along that's a whopper. So I said sure, I'd be happy to read through it. Well, he didn't have much of it written, he said, but he wanted to come and talk to me about how he could expand it. Sure, I said, are you in Toronto? Yes, I am, he replied, before saying, "I'm sorry, how rude of me... who am I talking to again?" "Nikki." "Hi, Nikki. I'm Corey Haim."

Wow. A blast from the past. The kid from Lucas. The guy whose posters had adorned my walls. He made me laugh in The Lost Boys. He was brilliant, and then he'd fallen apart with drug abuse. He hadn't been able to handle it and had become one of THOSE actors. He used to be one of my idols and then he fell apart and I'd wondered why this happens. And now he was talking to me on the phone.

I played it cool, and said, "Oh... hi, I didn't realize it was you." He laughed and was happy I actually knew who he was, and then we began chatting about the idea of the book. I told him that, to be honest, if he holds back on anything people won't want to read it. I said there have been lots of biographies about child stars who'd fallen apart and had come back again, and what he needed to do was reinvent the idea. I said, "If you could actually write a book that allowed us to actually see why you fell apart, tell us what was going through your head, make us finally start to understand the immense pressures these child stars are under and how moving into adulthood is such a terrible, yet inevitable thing, I think this book could do really well. And... if we do it right... it might actually help others." He liked that idea a lot. He told me he'd hooked up with another writer and he was really keen. I told him if he's in Toronto, to just give me a shout when he's got some time and come on in and we'll talk about it, just like I would do with any writer. He said he'd love that, he'd call me the following week.

He didn't call back.

About a year later, out of the blue, I heard from him again. This time he told me that he'd been really busy but he was really excited because he was working on a show called The Two Coreys that was upcoming, and he told me all about it, what it was going to be about, how they were filming it, and how it was going to put him and his former best friend, Corey Feldman, back into the limelight. He then said he was really keen to do the book again. I asked if he was still hooked up with another writer. He said yes, he was, and I said I'd really like to meet up with that writer. If you're busy, could you have him come into the office and talk to me? I asked. I wanted to talk to the person who would be writing it and get a sense from him that he thought Corey might actually come through with the book. Since his interest seemed to be awfully keen, followed by no interest whatsoever, and then suddenly really keen again, I needed to know that if I were to go ahead with this book, Corey wouldn't lose interest after two weeks, something I've seen happen with better-known writers working on memoirs. I didn't tell him all of this, and instead just said that I'd love to meet with the other writer and get a sense of what the book would be like. He said he'd love to come along, too, and meet me and discuss it. He said he was really really excited and he'd thought through everything I'd told him a year before, began saying a lot of it back to me, and wanted to discuss it. I said great, when's good for you? He said he'd give me a call back, and was just thrilled that I was still interested.

I never heard from him again.

About 18 months or maybe even 2 years after that I was emailed by a guy in L.A. who said he was an agent representing Corey Haim, and that Corey was interested in writing his memoir. I got on the phone to the guy and told him that I'd talked to Corey twice previously, and that I had been interested in the book but I wasn't so sure Corey was. I said if I could meet him I could tell him exactly what would be expected of him in the months to come, and he could look at everything and then decide whether or not he could actually do this. I asked how he was doing and he said the negative publicity from The Two Coreys had hurt him a lot, but he was doing well considering, hadn't fallen off the wagon, and was finding things to keep him occupied like art. I said that was great, and if the book helps keep him further occupied that would be a good thing. I added that I really hoped this is something he would want to do, but I needed some proof from their end that he would actually be on board for the long haul. The agent absolutely agreed, and he'd said that every time Corey talked to him about it, he kept mentioning me. I said that was great, let's set something up. Perfect, said the agent. I'll check with the writer and Corey, and get back to you.

And that was it. Never heard from the guy again, and Corey never wrote that memoir.

So when I logged onto the internet just before 5 tonight London time, I was saddened to see a picture of Corey Haim with the news that he'd been found dead.

Rest in peace, Corey. May you find the peace and happiness that have eluded you for a long time. I hope somewhere you're writing that memoir. I just wish all of us could have read it.


Anonymous said...

I think you meant 'eluded' instead of 'alluded'?

Sagacious Penguin said...

That's a really sad story, Nikki -- I'm not overly familiar with his work, but also hope he's at peace.

Thanks for sharing though. That was fascinating. I'll bet your work leads you to meet all kinds of people.

The Chapati Kid said...

He was my poster boy too. I'll never forget all my teenage memories and the giant crush I had on him. So sad.

JS said...

Wow, thanks for sharing that.

Karolyn said...

Loved him in Lost Boys, License to Drive, and Silver Bullet. Very sad to have read on yahoo that he had died. Hope he finds the peace he couldn't find in life. To quote Kate : "I hope you find what you're looking for".

Jazzygirl said...

Wow, that's just tragic. As as I was reading your post, I knew where it was going but still hoping there would be something happy. :( Being a child of the 80's myself, it saddens me a lot.

Anonymous, really???

Your Friendly Neighborhood Palindrome said...

Wow,thank you for sharing that. Like many other I had a huge crush on him when I was younger. A little part of my heart was broken when I found out that he had died. And your post just made me tear up.

Dplindy said...

I'm a faithful reader of your Lost recaps (and perhaps someday your Lost books) but I've never felt compelled to comment before. That recollection about Corey Haim was quite sweet and gave me some insight into the man, much more so than the tabloid reports of his suicide. Thank you Nikki.

The Question Mark said...

That's such an endearing story, Nikki. It's really a shame how so many of Hollywood's best & brightest end up being sucked into these sort of rifts, and no matter how hard they try, getting back out is always a huge challenge.

Even though I'm an 80s child, I was too young to know Haim very well from his child-star work. But I DO know him well from his voice appearances on the show "Robot Chicken", where he often appears alongside Corey Feldman. they had some really funny sketches on that show!

Rest in Peace, Corey Haim.

Amanda said...

Thanks for sharing Nikki.

I come to your blog for the Lost insights and was really moved by this post. I'm a child of the 80's as well and I felt sad yesterday when I saw he had died. I also had his Teen Beat posters on my wall.

After having to endure River Phoenix's death years ago, I can't help but think that these deaths seem to happen way too often.

I agree with the other poster that said this post brough tears to their eyes and was more meaningful than any of the articles about his death. Thanks.