I Am a Lucky Dog

I am.

I finished drafts of two short stories this week, and sent them off to a handful of trusty readers to pick at. What I got back were detailed,  insightful and astute comments that have made me look at both stories from angles I hadn’t seen. I thought both of them were fairly well along in their construction. They are not. I love learning stuff like that.

I am very lucky to have made the acquaintances – through Authonomy, Facebook and Agent Query, of so many talented and generous people.

Carry on.

Fair Use or Unauthorized Sequel?

Holden Caulfield’s editorial got me thinking about his dad’s ardent defense of Catcher in the Rye, so I thought I’d give others a chance to access the court opinion and try to provide a little insight into the legal issue of “fair use.” Here I have confined the discussion to the most significant of the four elements that are examined in determining whether something that might otherwise infringe on copyrighted material is nonetheless protected under the Fair Use Doctrine.

Last year, a Swedish gentleman named Fredrik Colting, writing under the pen name J. D. California, published (abroad) a novel titled 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye.  It is purportedly a narrative through the eyes of a 60 year-old Holden Caulfield.

Here is how one book reviewer describes it:

Coming Through the Rye’s plot re-introduces Holden Caulfield, or rather Mr C as he is called in the book, 60 years after he walked out of Pencey and took the train to New York. He’s an old man in his late 70s, who has been forced into a nursing home for his own good by his son. Colting thinks the teenage rebel would still be burning brightly in the senior citizen version of Caulfield and Mr C walks out of the nursing home, and jumps on a bus going to New York.

The story is told in the first person and, initially, Colting sprinkles some typical Holden-style vocabulary such as ‘and all’ and ‘phony’ as reminders of his famous past. The writing has none of the original’s abrasive style.

At first, Mr C can barely walk, yet he soon seems to be covering considerable distances around New York. Colting’s version of Caulfield is dazed and confused, and has a weak bladder. His main concern is his proximity to a bathroom and the elderly version of the world’s most famous teenage anti-hero pisses in doorways, on the street, in the park and also on himself. Why re-invent the teenage rebel as an old man? Why not give him a mortgage, a couple of kids and a pile of credit card bills to pay, and then let’s see how long his teenage angst lasts?

The initial reaction to Coming Through the Rye is that this book is simply harmless nonsense and Salinger should call off the dogs because his legacy is not under threat. However, three-quarters of the way through the novel, Salinger’s anger becomes understandable. Colting decides to send Mr C to Cornish, New Hampshire, to meet J.D. Salinger himself. Reworking Salinger’s most famous creation is one thing, but writing the author himself into the story is ridiculous and asking for trouble. Did Colting really expect a man who won’t even answer the doorbell, let alone allow Hollywood or television to touch his work, to happily play along?

Of course he wouldn’t. When Colting (or California) and his publishing company sought to publish the book in the Unites States, the nonagenarian made a few calls from his New Hampshire lair to his New York lawyers at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, and before Holden Caulfield could say “for crying out loud,” a federal district court judge issued a preliminary injunction, barring Colting and his team from “manufacturing, publishing, distributing, shipping, advertising, promoting, selling, or otherwise disseminating any copy of 60 Years or any portion thereof, in or to the United States.”

The court’s decision follows a lengthy line of cases that analyze U. S. copyright law, and provides any aspiring novelist with a roadmap to understanding the concept of “fair use,” which articulates when one author may lawfully use the copyright-protected work of another.

Copyright law addresses “the inevitable tension between the property rights it establishes in creative works, which must be protected up to a point, and the ability of authors, artists, and the rest of us to express them- or ourselves by reference to the works of others, which must be protected up to a point. The fair-use doctrine mediates between the two sets of interests, determining where each set of interests ceases to control.”[1] “At stake in this case are the incentive to create original works which copyright protection fosters and the freedom to produce secondary works which monopoly protection of copyright stifles – both interests benefit the public.”[2]

In order to strike this balance between competing interests, the federal copyright law codifies the concept of “fair use.” But to the chagrin of non-lawyers, the statute doesn’t articulate bright line standards that ordinary, sentient beings can follow. Instead, it applies “factors to be considered” in “determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use.”[3] Those factors are the following:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Delightful. More work for lawyers!

What do these “factors” mean to us, the aspiring novelists? What did they mean to J.D. Salinger and J.D. California? (Say what you want about the merits of borrowing Holden Caulfield, but when a man named Frederik Colting dons the pen name “J.D.” anything in a campaign to sell a Catcher In the Rye follow-on, he deserves all of the skepticism that a federal judge can muster.)

Let’s take a look at just the first one, where most of the rubber meets the road. What are the considerations that go into examination of the “purpose and character” of the proposed use of the copyrighted material?

Examining the Purpose and Character of the Use

This inquiry asks whether the new work merely supersedes the objects of the original creation . . . or instead adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning, or message; it asks, in other words, whether and to what extent the new work is ‘transformative.'”[4]

The goal of copyright (to promote science and the arts) is generally furthered by the creation of transformative works, so the more transformative the new work, the less will be the significance of other factors, like commercialism, that may weigh against a finding of fair use.[5] Note that, contrary to some popular wisdom, a work of commercial fiction may indeed use prior copyrighted material – there is no black letter prohibition on commercial use. But its commercial element will be weighed against the transformative nature, so the task of weighing these competing values in advance of publication is daunting indeed.

What makes a work “transformative?” The statute provides an answer (of sorts) that looks to whether the use is “for criticism, or comment, or news reporting, and the like.”[6] Isn’t that illuminating? Criticism, comment and the like. What is “the like?” The Campbell court (which coined the phrase) gave partial answer when it held that “parody has an obvious claim to transformative value- and thus like other comment or criticism, may claim fair use under ß 107.” [7]

So, one may construct a parody of a protected work. What if the artist’s parody is extraordinarily successful in its transformativeness – so successful that it is a smashing commercial success? Does the profitability of the successful parody work against its fair use defense? Is commercial success what the court means by “commercialism?” We’ll have to wait for a work more transformative than Colting’s to find out.

The Salinger decision also noted the important distinction between parody, which “needs to mimic an original to make its point, and so has some claim to use the creation of its victim’s . . . imagination,”[8] and satire, which “critiques and comments on aspects of society more broadly,,… can stand on its own two feet, and so requires justification for the very act of borrowing.”[9] Quoting the Campbell decision gain:

[T]he heart of any parodist’s claim to quote from existing material, is the use of some elements of a prior author’s composition to create a new one that, at least in part, comments on that author’s works. If, on the contrary, the commentary has no critical bearing on the substance or style of the original composition, which the alleged infringer merely uses to get attention or to avoid the drudgery in working up something fresh, the claim to fairness in borrowing from another’s work diminishes accordingly (if it does not vanish).[10]

The court’s opinion undertakes a thorough review of both texts, aided by the affidavits of literary critics, and cites to dozens of examples in which the text of Catcher is loosely parroted in 60 years. The court did not find the same type of parodic elements in 60 Years that it found in Alice Randall’s The Wind Done Gone, which was not just a commentary on the Civil-War era American South, but a “specific criticism of and rejoinder to the depiction of slavery and the relationships between blacks and whites in Gone With the Wind.”  He was also stung by the fact that the original jacket to the book touted it as “. . . a marvelous sequel to one of our most beloved classics.”

Oddly to me, the court cites as evidence against Colting his desire that 60 Years constitute a “tribute” to the original, and this has me scratching my head. Not that it factors significantly in deciding against him, but can it be that the nature of transformativeness must be critical or parodic of the original work, as opposed to, say, elegaic?

Can an author utilize original copyrighted work for the purpose of creating a new, transformative work that praises the original?

Would such a work still be vulnerable to attack even if its effect were to enhance the market value of the original? Or is the originator free to disclaim his interest in the economic value of the work in favor of preserving its sanctity?

[1] Blanch v. Koons, 467 F.3d 244, 250 (2d Cir. 2006)

[2] Pierre N. Leval, Toward a Fair Use Standard, 103 Harv. L. Rev. 1105, 1109 (1990)

[3] 17 U.S.C. ß 107

[4] Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569, 579 (1994).

[5] Id.

[6] Id. at 578-579.

[7] Id. at 579.

[8] Id. at 580-581.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

Holden Caulfield Weighs In

In June of last year, the reclusive J. D. Salinger, author of Catcher In the Rye, sued in federal court to prevent the sale of  60 Years Later – Coming Through the Rye,  by Swedish author Fredrik Colting. The novel’s main character, “Mr. C,” is  a 76 year-old version of Salinger’s Holden Caulfield, and its theme is the retrospective examination of his young life. The court issued an injunction prohibiting Colting from publishing, distributing, promoting or selling his novel in the United States, pending a trial on the merits.

Zick Rubin, a lawyer who specializes in publishing, copyright and trademark law here in the Boston area, thought that Holden Caulfield would have an opinion on the efforts of his creator to stop him from growing up. On his website, Rubin convinced Caulfield to write a guest editorial expressing that opinion. I am pleased to reproduce it below:

[copyright, Zick Rubin, Esquire]

That J.D. Salinger is strictly a pain in the ass. He makes me want to puke, if you want to know the truth.

Old J.D. never wanted me to grow up in the first place. The whole book is full of all that crap about my getting kicked out of Pencey Prep and getting drunk as a bastard and telling lies about having a tiny tumor on my brain and all. It’s probably the only Coming of Age book where the kid never comes of age. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to grow up. I’ve been 16 years old for about 60 lousy years. If you really want to know, I feel some concern for my future. I really do.

So this guy in Sweden wrote a book about what happened to me when I was about 75 years old. I would really like to read it. I’ll admit that the guy in Sweden is a total phony. He called himself “J.D. California,” for crying out loud. Big deal. I’d just like to see what it would be like to get older. That’s all I’m saying.

But old J.D. Salinger won’t let it happen. He’s 90 years old, for Chrissake, and he is so screwed-up about his crumby “Catcher in the Rye” that he won’t let anybody change a goddam word. I think he’s nervous as hell that people will think J.D. California is a better writer than he is.

So old J.D. went ahead and got some moron lawyer to sue J.D. California, and the judge said that J.D. California can’t publish his book about me because I’m copyrighted. I’m not kidding. If I want to read it, I need to go to goddam Sweden.

What really drove me crazy is that J.D. Salinger wouldn’t even let Steven Spielberg make a movie about me, even though Steven Spielberg really wanted to. It’s a funny thing, I hate movies like poison, but I would get a big bang out of it if Steven Spielberg made a movie about me – I admit it. That kid who played Harry Potter would be a terrific Holden Caulfield, if he could just get rid of that phony British accent.

But that sonuvabitch J.D. Salinger thinks he owns me and all. It’s making me so depressed and lonesome that I’ve got to do something about it. I really do.

If you really want to know, I’m going to testify for that phony from Sweden and I’m going to sue for custody of my sister Phoebe and I. My father, who is a corporation lawyer and used to haul it in before he got downsized last month, says that is crazy. But I’m going to do it because I would like to read that book before I am goddam 90 years old.


I think Zick nailed it.

Zick Rubin’s website has all sorts of helpful and interesting information on it, and he’s a fine gentleman who I look forward to getting to know better. Check it out!

A Motor Scooter and a Broom

This is a true story. Welcome to my suburbia.

My neighbor’s twenty-something son lives in the garage. He owns a motorized scooter. Boy, does it leave an impression. A hybrid scooter and gas-powered rocket, it propels the guy at a clip faster than I can run (as I learned one morning), with a 3-horse motor that sounds like a go-cart on steroids. Its high-pitched scream can penetrate a two-mile swath of dense tree canopy while it transports this helmetless, wind-in-the-hair free spirit on his Saturday morning wake-up whiz to nowhere.

It woke me too early one summer holiday, and I followed  it around the neighborhood in my mind. With each silent curse, I imagined him in his basement lair minutes before, kick-starting his neurons with a few puffs of doob before he pulled on his WHATEVER shirt and cargo pants to do nothing. I actually did this to feel better.

On his fifth pass, I decided that he needed discouragement. As he BWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA’ed toward the end of his lap, I bolted out of bed, threw on some shorts and went to greet him as he passed. I paused at my pantry for a checkered flag but had to settle for a broom instead.

You’d think that poor fella had never seen a broom before, the way he leapt from his vehicle. Or perhaps he’d just received a similar greeting from someone who’d chosen the broom for a different purpose. In any event, it took me a few minutes of calm lecturing about common courtesy before the blood returned to his face, and he resolved to confine his joyriding to the middle of the day.

Confident that I had achieved my purpose without using the broom, I softened up and assured him I wasn’t a mean-spirited man, and by the way, although it was quite loud, it was still sort of a cool thing.

He offered to let me take it for a spin, but I am quite certain that all of my neighbors own brooms.

That’s All Right

The casual observer will peruse the lyrics I have written and deduce that I am a craven misogynist. Not true, obviously. I am a middle-aged white lawyer – what the hell do I have to complain about? My car repair bill? Private college tuitions? (Well, okay, I can wail Freddie King under the table when it comes to that, but I digress.) There are precious few things in life that cause the blues in every man and woman, no matter their race, age, ethnicity, religion, nationality. At the top of that list is love trouble. And in the middle of any love trouble, you can bet that sex is going to have a role.

What this one does is simply point out the obvious. Only one thing matters to a man, and the smart woman uses it to her advantage.

That’s All Right

You’re buying jewelry with my money while you leave the bills unpaid,

I’m toiling in the heat, you got it made in the shade,

But that’s alright, It’s okay.

That’s alright what ya doin,

Cuz you give it to me every day.

There’s dust in every corner and dishes in the sink,

Laundry’s piled up and the garbage sure does stink,

But that’s alright, it’s okay,

That’s alright with me baby,

Cuz you give it to me every day.

You got a gin bottle in the hamper and reefer in your purse,

You got a Oxycontin habit, and your cookin can’t get worse

But that’s alright, I won’t speak,

That’s alright what you do,

Just give it to me once a week.

Now I come home to you baby

but you packed your bags and gone,

I should be broken-hearted, but I knew it all along,

So that’s alright, I’ll try to smile,

That’s alright what you do baby,

Just say hello to me once in a while.

Side Show

This “flash fiction” thing is growing on me – in a flash. Great practice, really hones all of the skills. I particularly like the fact that the publications call the “theme” and you have to write to it, so you have to focus and train your imagination to go somewhere different each time. This piece is one I submitted to Writer’s Digest for this theme: Something bizarre occurs at the table next to a couple on their first date.

Side Show

With that man’s distraction, I found it impossible to pay attention to Tracy. Her lovely, simple face was so animated,  her voice was sing-songy and pleasant, and she seemed quite amusing. I’d never done better for a first date! But I didn’t hear a word she said. Actually, I heard words in the sense that she made sounds that registered in my ears, but I didn’t comprehend them. Maybe a few of the words individually, like “presumptuous,” and “self-indulgent” also. Since we were going to a gallery afterward, perhaps she was talking about that. Those are words that are frequently spoken about artist types. At least that’s my impression. But the man was such a distraction!

I leaned across the table and interrupted her. “Did you see that?” I whispered.

“See what?”

“The guy at the next table. What he did. Before he sat down.”

She furrowed her brow and glanced over and back. “No. No, I didn’t notice.” She kept her brow furrowed, assessing me, as if it was somehow my problem what the guy did.

“Never mind. It was just odd. I’m sorry, continue,” I said, smiling as well as I could.

So she resumed, I suppose where she’d left off, but how would I have known? I wasn’t about to say, “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear a word you said, please start over,” because that would have been just weird. I mean how do you say that to someone you barely know? I could also have tried to wing it and say, “you were saying, ‘self-indulgent,’” but I couldn’t be sure that was the last thing she’d said. These things can be so much more complicated than you think at first. So I bore down and tried to focus, but by the time I did, she’d gone on again and I’d already lost track of where she’d re-started.

And this annoying man and his fidgeting. He was at it again. Moving from the chair he’d taken (after sitting in two of the others) back to the first one, then to the second. Now he was rearranging the silverware, putting the spoon and knife on the left and the forks on the right. Who does that? Was he left-handed, or what? Jesus Christ! I wanted to just stand up and yell, “Stop that!” But that would be totally uncool, and this lady, she was still yammering away.

“Do you?” she asked. Why did she ask that? Do I what?

“I’m sorry, Tracy, I got distracted for a moment. Do I what?” I tried to erase the tension lines from my forehead like I’d been taught.

“Like Woody Allen? His movies, do you like Woody Allen’s movies?” She still smiled at me, but I swear it looked a little more rigid than before.

“Oh! Oh, well…I don’t know. I guess I’d have to say yes and no. I mean, his early work was sort of a super-intellectual Mel Brooks-type of hilarity, but Interiors was a disaster, and then he went through that dreadful incest thing which was a terrible tragedy, but…yeah.” The whole time I was trying to focus on her face, but Mister Antsy-pants next door was still at it with the silverware, like he was playing some strange board game with them. Parchesi while channeling Jamie Oliver or some stupid nonsense. I felt like punching the bastard. Hey you, take your goddamn meds, I thought. Then I looked at Tracy, and she was staring at me, like I was the guy juggling the cutlery.

“I’m sorry, Tracy,” I said, very much aware that I had to work hard to rescue this date. “I’m feeling a little hot. I’m just going to go freshen up a bit.”

“Sounds good,” she said. What’s that mean? Sounds good.

So I got up and glared at Circus Man as I exited, but he was too busy sticking a spoon on his honker. Blast him!

I went to the Men’s room and splashed cold water on my face, made sure I’d dried myself completely, smoothed the eyebrows, looked at myself, took a few deep breaths and put a spring in my step as I walked out.

But Tracy wasn’t there. She must have gone to the Ladies’, I thought.

Thank God, the juggler was gone, too.

The waiter came by. I asked him, “Say, what happened to the man sitting there?”

He looked at me like I had two noses. “That table has been unoccupied all evening, sir.”


This is a story that was originally over 3,000 words, and I found a publication that was looking for things like this – not the usual flash with the surprise ending but something with emotion and introspection throughout it. The problem was, the word limit was 1,000. So, could I cut a 3,000+ word story down to 1,000 and preserve its essence? Honestly? I think this one has much more power and punch! Which only goes to show how mediocre the first one was.

He sits with his mother on the patio of her Florida home, relaxing in a wicker chair and swirling his wine as she speaks. Although it is well past her bedtime, she keeps right on talking from her wheelchair. Even addled by stroke, there is plenty going on behind her glaucoma-dulled blue eyes.

“Have you seen the two new wings on the house?”

“I can’t find them.”

She describes the secret door inside the walk-in closet.

“How do you get there?”

“There’s a trick door in the closet, and up a hallway, there’s a door to a big outdoor room, where thousands of people lie in their beds. We watch the sky for shooting stars. Sometimes we see the northern lights. I figure the others are like me, sharing the rest of their lives with hired help.”

He asks if she recognizes any of them, but no. He wants the conversation to continue, to distract him from his anguish.

He has learned that there is a time to dispel her delusion and a time to indulge it. Tonight, this is her world, and he wants to go with her. It is just the stream of consciousness of an old and sick woman whose mind is chocked full of thoughts and images, and she flips through a random catalogue of them. As she speaks, he imagines that they become more vivid in her mind, and she adds color and clarity to them, and he wonders if she hasn’t actually seen these things. He wants to inspect the back of the closet for himself.

“He was perfect, your father,” she says.

“Everyone says that.” He inspects the legs of the wine in his glass.

She asks if he remembers the songs his father sang.

“Sweet Betsy From Pike!” he says, and she laughs with a rasp.  He sings it. “Do you remember sweet Betsy from Pike, who crossed o’er the prairie with her lover Ike, with two yoke of Oxen, a big yellow dog, a tall Shanghai rooster and one spotted hog.”

She laughs so hard she coughs deeply and Sandra rushes to her. She hacks through it and waves Sandra away.

“Your father loved music. Before we were married, we went to the jazz clubs. We saw all the Big Bands.”

“What a time you must have had.”

“You have no idea,” she says. Her eyes sparkle, and then they narrow and she lowers her voice almost to a whisper. “But your father wasn’t really that perfect.”


“Other women,” she whispers, with not a hint of anger or hurt, but a big knowing smile.

“No!” He tries to act surprised. His father was discreet and inscrutable, and never gave him the slightest reason to think it. But he always has.

“Even the strongest men have a weakness,” he says.

“If it’s only one, it’s women,” she says, and she laughs. She begins to say something, and stops. He is sure she would ask if he has always been faithful to his wife, and he is relieved that he doesn’t have to lie to her.

“Do you think…” he begins to say, and stops. But he can see her mind working.

“That he felt he was paying his debt after I had my stroke?”

“Something like that.”

“Your father had a sense of duty that was unshakable. So no, he wasn’t paying his debt. He was doing what a man does for his wife.”

He thinks that is certainly true.

“I wonder if he’s mad that I’m telling you this,” she says.

“You’ll have to ask him, when you see him again.”

“Oh, I’ll see him again, don’t you worry,” she says, and looks at her son. “I’m not afraid to die. What the hell’s so good about hanging around here all by myself? I got things to do up there, old friends to look up. Your father’s waiting.”

It is after midnight, and she announces that she is tired. The nurses wheel the Hoyer lift in and deftly winch her up in her sling.

“I’ll be out on the sky room for a while,” she says, and he kisses her.

He goes to his bed, tired, drained. It is a tough business, reconciling that kind of loss, and it is something you do without practice. With a parent, you think you have your whole life to anticipate such a certainty, but it’s never enough. You can accept the fact in your mind, but you can never train your heart to accept the void. He wonders if it is easier for a son who does not love his father, if the void left is a source of relief and not pain. But he decides not. The pain of loss cannot be lessened by hate or estrangement; this would require an order of existence that rendered love worthless, and that could not be. He falls asleep and doesn’t dream.

He awakes in the morning, and goes to her bedroom. She is in her hospital bed. The oxygen machine hums, churns air; the clear hose at her nostrils hisses. He puts his hand on her shoulder and her eyes open.

“Did you sleep well?”

“Not a wink.”

“Why not?”

“I was concerned that I had told you too much. I don’t want you to think less of your father.”

“I could never think less of him.” He bends over and hugs her. “There isn’t anything weak about overlooking a man’s faults. It doesn’t hurt me to know that he wasn’t perfect. I was afraid I wasn’t good enough.”

“He was very proud of you.”

“And I of him.”

Her teary face beams, her eyes bright and soft. “I’ll make sure to pass that along.”

He bends over again, squeezes her shoulder and kisses her. He leaves as she returns to the big room in the sky to deliver his message.

Hey, what’s goin’ on.

This is the fifth blog I’ve worked on, the first in a few years. The others are old and mostly political and legal. Nothing like that is going to invade this space. Promise. I might import some of the humor stuff, just because I still like it, and it’s funny. Really, it is. See for yourself.

About two years ago, I started writing a novel. I started it because I couldn’t continue writing what I was writing at the time, which was my father’s biography. He died in August of 2007. I was helping him with his memoirs at the time. Obviously he couldn’t finish, but he encouraged me to get as far as I could with the material I had.

I received a lot of cooperation from dozens of people far and wide whose lives intersected with his. Brilliant, important, successful people. Big shots and all that. And little people, too. Like the garage mechanic in Kennebunk Beach, Maine, where the family summer home was.

Unfortunately, the biography stalled out at about 100 pages, principally because my father’s former legal partners – people who owe their careers (and in at least one case, his life) to the man – apparently do not wish to cooperate. So that’s that.

Anyway, the novel. Diary of a Small Fish.

During the 1980’s, I served three terms (six years) in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. I was one of a small minority, and I had no juice whatsoever. But I’m a loud mouth and I have a decent sense of humor. And I also have a pretty good golf game, and I was a member of a very special golf club called Hyannisport. In the course of my political “career,” I played golf with practically every lobbyist in Boston who played the game. Everywhere.

Shortly after I left office, one of those lobbyist friends was indicted by a federal prosecutor, in what would be characterized widely as an attempt to create a federal felony out of a state misdemeanor. That was in 1993, and the statute that was employed to ruin this man’s life – “theft of honest services,” it’s called, is now under Constitutional challenge before the Supreme Court of the United States. Because of my proximity to this man, I became a “cooperating witness” in that case. He was convicted, his conviction was overturned on appeal, and the case was settled with him preserving his freedom, although not his reputation or livelihood.

Diary of a Small Fish is a work of fiction that was inspired by, but not based upon, those incidents. None of the characters in it are intended to portray anyone involved in the case, blah, blah, blah.