I guess you could say that it was one of those times when the movie was such a masterpiece that it actually made the book better.
By Peter Stein
I think I must have been about 16 years old when I read “FIRST BLOOD” by David Morrell. I was quite literally blown away by the book and even though I wouldn’t call it a life changing experience, it left an impression that has never left me. To this day I still think about the book every now and then, but nowadays it is the images of Sylvester Stallone and Brian Dennehy that spins around in my brain.
I guess you could say that it was one of those times when the movie was such a masterpiece that it actually made the book better. Later in life, as I did my first attempts at writing, I returned to David Morrell. I learned that he had written a book, “THE SUCCESSFUL NOVELIST”, about his experiences as an author. No that’s cutting it short, the book is so much more than that. Actually I would call it the ultimate guide on how to become a writer. Written by a master. After just a few pages I could feel adrenaline starting to flow. I read the book cover to cover. Twice.
In the book we learn how David Morrell encounters the fantasy land of movies and for him it sets his life on a new path. He reveals the exact date and time when he decided to become an author. It was when he watched the first episode of “Route 66”. As I read through the book one of the more interesting details, in my opinion, was that he is/was obsessed with celebrities. He would focus on an actor or musician and find out every little detail about their life. This later resulted in a book of its own: “STARS IN MY EYES: MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH BOOKS, MOVIES, AND MUSIC” where he compiled twenty essays about some of the stars he did research on. Of course at this time I had become obsessed myself. I felt a strong urge to learn everything about David Morrell, and I even contacted him and started to follow his facebook page. I also ordered the book “STARS IN MY EYES” and idol struck that I had become I couldn’t resist to opt for a signed copy. About this time I spent a lot of time thinking about David Morrell and what had ben going on in his head at the time he wrote “FIRST BLOOD”, and suddenly it occurred to me: I knew who he had used as a role model for “Rambo”.
I contacted him again and asked if it was Kris Kristofferson. His response was: “Yes, partly”. Fine, I was happy with that (I wanted to know who else he used but in the moment it slipped) but then he said something that completely blew my mind.
At this point we need to pause for a bit so I can fill you in on some personal details.
A long time ago I was subjected to some experiments involving CIA and the usage of a mind altering drug: LSD. Another program I was entered to focused on expanding the brain capacity and used various methods of improving the brain function by thinking different types of thoughts. One example of this is how we trained for abstract thinking, the teacher suggested to us that we should imagine all the people around us with animal heads. There were different levels of this and people with animal heads was the entry level. At the top level you would be able to perform thinking that included thinking so advanced thoughts that they had never before existed on the planet. Eventually I got out of there and I returned to Sweden where my health was restored but I could never shake that idea. “Think a thought that nobody ever has thought”. In the years to come I made countless efforts to do it but no matter how far-fetched the idea seemed, it was always someone else who had thought it first. Then one day I finally had it. The ultimate thought: “Weapons for kids”.
For a full ten minutes I felt like a winner but then of course Google proved me wrong. It’s embarrassing to admit how naive you can be, I blame it on my Swedish background (we haven’t had any wars for a long time so people tend to be very naive here…). So back to David Morrell and his answer to my question. His full response was: “Yes partly. No one ever asked me that question”. Well maybe I wasn’t the first to wonder about this, but at least I was the first one to ask the question.
I think I’ll settle for that, mission accomplished.
There is another story not told here, but if you look closely you can see that I got book number 66. Coincidence? Yeah… maybe!
Here is a clip about Kris Kristofferson: