The flamboyant, eccentric genius was every bit as colorful as his trademark upper lip. But the one thing I like better than even the best of his paintings is his answer to this question:
What would he do if a fascist regime forced him to shave off his mustache?
The question astonished the painter. He replied that he would happily rise to the great challenge--and grow a secret mustache everywhere, in his armpits, in his navel...even in his asshole.
Years ago, I had what I still think was an inspired idea: a wild blend of Southern Scotch. I saw the two themes fused within a single man: a former Scottish athlete who developed a crush on the South, which did not return his affection. Beaten almost to death and half-blinded, he returned as a new man five years later A cross between the Butler Boys--you know, Gerard and Rhett. A man of wealth and power now, founder of Boss Corrections.
Still, I think, a strong idea. But from the time I'd first conceived of my hero, Boss MacTavin, and my own reinvention as an ebook writer, I'd changed as as much as the times had. Boss' vintage Dodge Charger disappeared after the first book. After the third book, he outgrew his trademark Colt Python. At the same time, he kept his hybrid accent...his preference for shades of Confederate gray...his Southern courtliness fused with raw Scottish passion.
Dali's mustache, though, entered the picture with the recent backlash against the Confederate flag. I found myself forced to redo the cover of Southern Scotch because of its bad-ass Rebel flag. As luck would have it, this worked out well. A new cover artist succeeded in 'branding' the Boss MacTavin mysteries: unified layouts and lettering with a subtle Tartan cloth and a strong touch of danger.
And I found I was able to keep tiny representations of the forbidden flag in Boss' wardrobe: a lapel or tie pin, for example...a small flag on one sleeve of his jacket...without branding him as a redneck. Boss is certainly wild and quirky, but he isn't this:
The branded covers, I believed, were a huge step forward. Nevertheless, I was still at a loss to convey Southern Scotch in my photos. How could I with one flag verboten and legs too spindly for a kilt?
Well, I found myself thinking of Dali's remark...and suddenly I found a way of growing a Dali mustache up my arse--just in time for my new promo photo.
Stay tuned for the Daliesque conclusion next week.