I am attempting to process this whole Manos experience that has consumed my life and usually, I don’t stop and take stock, but yesterday afternoon all that changed. Don't get me wrong. I work to remain present, express genuine thanks and do my best to recognize all the gifts, great and small that come my way.
In my normal life, I am a professional artist and all that entails. I had a business creating faux finishes for private and commercial clients for about 25 years, and in the early days of that career, MST3K aired a movie I had been in as a child. My entire family had been heavily invested in the making of Hal Warren’s film, Manos: The Hands of Fate and although it was something that most wished to put behind them, for me, it was a bright beacon of an otherwise often dark childhood. In January 1993, Joel Hodgson, creator of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and his team showed Manos on television with great trepidation and thinking that airing it might be too much, even for them. In the ensuing years, Manos has taken that spark and created a life of it’s own, claiming the title of being “The Worst Movie Ever Made” while building a loving and engaging fan base.
I’ve tagged along since the beginning by chiming in on chat room discussions, Facebook and any social media I could find time for. It was always a fun hobby and I loved including my dad, The Master, whenever possible and reminding him that the fans are always seeking his approval. He gets a big kick out of hearing about it and Manos has been an opportunity for us to bond again.
I cherish everything about Manos culture, the great people I’ve met and and all the opportunities I have found cultivating my place as the only living cast or crew willing to talk about it, and now I am thrilled to share that place with others who were there in 1966. My whole philosophy on life is that if it’s not for the greater good, it’s not something I want to do and Manos has become a way for all my dreams to come to fruition because I invite people to come play with me and they invite me to play and incredible projects are born.
Along the way, I kept thinking about writing a book and decided to see if I even had enough to say or if anyone might have an interest in reading a book about Manos, so I began this blog. Turned out, there were quite a few people interested so I began looking for someone with experience to help me through the process. That’s when I found my incredible co-author on Facebook. It took 16 months and a ton of research while the story grew. One opening led to another as I discovered people who weren’t listed in the credits and others who had all but forgotten about it. I made new friends and connected with others who remembered my family and me as a little girl. I even connected with Joel Hodgson who wrote the foreword for me. All along, I just kept working and trying not to think too much about where all this was going.
We completed the book and sent it off to our publisher right before Christmas and I immediately jumped into my next project of producing a sequel to the original film, “Manos Returns”. (That’s a whole other story!) The Manos Returns team launched a successful kickstarter and filmed my dad’s scenes as The Master. We are busy, busy. In the meantime, I’m teaching painting classes to happy drinking people in bars to pay my bills and overall, having a great time. It’s good to be me. I can’t think of anyone who is more suited to being me than me. So yesterday, I’m racing out the door to set up to teach a painting class to a group of 10 year olds (who are drinking lemonade or milk) and check my email one last time. There is one from my publisher with a link to my book on their website. WHAT?? I had no idea. I thought I had to look at a final final final proof first. Suddenly I could hardly breathe and I had to leave my house right now or be late for my appointment! There was no one to tell and no time to tell. Truly one of the most surreal experiences to date. I’m driving and laughing and crying and pulling myself together. So, I get there, put it away in my head and have a great class with cool kids. By the time I get home, I’m emotionally wrung out and for some strange reason want to hold onto this moment just a little longer and keep it close so I do. Last night, I posted in just a few of my favorite places where they know me best and the response fills my heart with joy. I thank you all for taking me as I am and for all the love and support.
I hope you enjoy my book...and please buy a lot of copies!