[Bench in Brighton Town Park where David Kramer stops to listen to scenes on his radio when Stephen Crane’s Henry Fleming from The Red Badge of Courage‘s is lost in the woods. [Photo: Bruce Kay, December 31st, 2021] See Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story]
I’ve long been mesmerized by Stephen Crane, one of the great American writers, author of The Red Badge of Courage, who died at 28, leaving the tantalizing question, what would Crane have written had he lived?
Every five years or so, I listen to Red Badge while biking the canal path. In Chapter VII, the protagonist Henry Fleming has fled from battle into the nearby woods where he discovers a dead soldier:When reaching that passage, I stop in the woods, imagining being Fleming.
Crane plays a central role in my PhD thesis, War, Literature and the Arts published “Strains of Failed Populism in Stephen Crane’s Spanish War Stories”, and I even wrote a screenplay, Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story that asks what would would Crane have written had he lived?
In 1898 — two years before his death — Crane covered the invasion of Cuba for New York newspapers, and later wrote short fiction about the Cuban Campaign. In my version, Crane switches genres from the novel to the motion picture, becoming America’s first great filmmaker when he produces Black and Blue on San Juan Hill, the movie within the movie about Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders’ charge up San Juan Hill.
Far more mesmerized than me with Stephen Crane is Paul Auster who spent two years researching his sprawling and lovingly rendered biography of Crane, Burning Boy (2021), which Auster endows with his ample writerly and readerly gifts.
Even before my copy arrived, I wanted to interview Auster, but prominent writers like him are hard to contact and usually do media business through publishers and agents.
However, to my real surprise, on the internet I found Auster’s personal email. I emailed the request and also threw out the (unlikely) possibility that he read the screenplay. Not to my surprise, the email bounced back. But, lo and behold, his personal phone number was listed, and I called. Apparently, his wife answered, also seemingly surprised that a fan reached Auster’s home in Brooklyn. She did give me his assistant’s email address.
Alas, the assistant said that Auster has too many commitments to participate in Talker. So, finally, here is proposal.
I am offering to pay readers to read Mr. Crane, $250 or more if more time is needed. Basically, you should know the nuts and bolts of screenplay writing, probably should know a little about the Spanish-American War of 1898 and and time period, be willing to wiki as needed, be committed to writing a detailed review covering strengths and weakness with suggestions for making the screenplay viable.
If interested, email David Kramer at [email protected]. The email is also on the top of each page.