Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Billie Livingston's "Cease to Blush," the movie

Now showing at My Book, The Movie: Billie Livingston's Cease to Blush.

About the book, from the publisher:
Hugely entertaining, irreverent and challenging, Billie Livingston’s new novel drives the bumpy road from the burlesque stages of Rat Pack Vegas to the bedroom Internet porn scenes of today, exploring just how far women have really come.

Vivian is late to her own mother’s funeral. Wearing a skintight lipstick-red suit, Vivian stands out like a pornographer’s dream amongst the raven collection of West Coast intellectuals mourning the untimely death of the famous feminist Josie Callwood. Self-medicating grief with vodka, Vivian can’t help trying to stick her finger in the eye of her dead mother’s expectations.

Dead people have a hard time protecting their secrets, and Josie has left one big surprise for her troubled daughter. When she opens a trunk in her mother’s basement, Vivian discovers that Josie wasn’t who she seemed – and that she had a flaming sexual past more exotic than anything Vivian has been able to pull off. Chasing the lies her mother told her, Vivian sets off on a road trip in which memory, reality and imagination collide to recreate the kaleidoscope world of America in the sixties. In disbelief and dawning admiration, she follows her mother’s trail through the Vegas nexus where movie stars, pop singers, strippers, politicians and the mob mingled, where the Rat Pack ruled and girls were arm and eye candy.

As she uncovers her mother’s true story, Vivian ends up confronting her own sexual lies and spiritual evasions. Billie Livingston’s fine novel leads us to consider the nature of our hidden desires – and to question whether the sky would really fall if we admitted our true needs and ceased to blush.
And Livingston's ideas for a film adaptation?
When I’m in the middle of a book, I use my crow brain a lot. I take pictures of things and places so I can load them onto my laptop and refer to them as I write; I scribble down strangers’ conversations and stick their words in my characters’ mouths. Actors are easy to swipe because they’re always hanging around on my TV so I often make them act out what’s in my head to see if it will work or not.

When I was writing Cease to Blush, Angelina Jolie’s public and film personas often came to mind for the book’s narrator, Vivian. Especially a few years ago, Jolie seemed to be a bit of a train wreck, a flamboyantly rebellious and self-destructive woman yet one who had an obvious native intelligence and a scared, swollen heart. Every move she made struck me as a big F.U. to the world. That’s Vivian all over. [read on]
Among the praise for the novel:
“Provocative but wildly fun, [Livingston’s] second novel ably depicts the frustratingly circular route womankind has taken over the last 50 years, from a world where Barbara Billingsley vacuumed in pearls to one where Jessica Simpson vacuums in panties... Cease to Blush is proof that issue fiction is still being written, and very well too."
--Globe and Mail

"With Cease to Blush, Livingston has made her rep as one of the most dangerous writers you will ever be lucky enough to encounter."
--The Vancouver Review

"Livingston writes beautifully, even soulfully and Cease to Blush is her best work to date."
--January Magazine (Best of 2006 Fiction)
Read more about the author and her books at the official Billie Livingston website.

My Book, The Movie: Cease to Blush.

--Marshal Zeringue