Newsweek published this My Turn essay of mine back in mid-1980s, while I was still a college student and writing my JURY books, then called .357 Vigilante, under the pen-name "Ian Ludlow." Now that I have re-released the books, I thought you might enjoy it:
HOT SEX, GORY VIOLENCE
How One Student Earns Course Credit and Pays Tuition
My name is Ian Ludlow. Well, not really. But that's the name on my four ".357 Vigilante" adventures that Pinnacle Books will publish this spring. Most of the time I'm Lee Goldberg, a mild mannered UCLA senior majoring in mass communications and trying to spark a writing career at the same time. It's hard work. I haven't quite achieved a balance between my dual identities of college student and hack novelist.
The adventures of Mr. Jury, a vigilante into doing the LAPD's dirty work, are often created in the wee hours of the night, when I should be studying, meeting my freelance-article deadlines or, better yet, sleeping. More often than not, my nocturnal writing spills over into my classes the next morning. Brutal fistfights, hot sexual encounters and gory violence are frequently scrawled across my anthropology notes or written amid my professor's insights on Whorf's hypothesis. Students sitting next to me who glance at my lecture notes are shocked to see notations like "Don't move, scumbag, or I'll wallpaper the room with your brains.
I once wrote a pivotal rape scene during one of my legal-communications classes, and I'm sure the girl who sat next to me thought I was a psychopath. During the first half of the lecture, she kept looking with wide eyes from my notes to my face as if my nose were melting onto my binder or something. At the break she disappeared, and I didn't see her again the rest of the quarter. My professors, though, seem pleased to see me sitting in the back of the classroom writing furiously. I guess they think I'm hanging on their every word. They're wrong.
I've tried to lessen the strain between my conflicting identities by marrying the two. Through the English department, I'm getting academic credit for the books. That amazes my Grandpa Cy, who can't believe there's a university crazy enough to reward me for writing "lots of filth." The truth is, it's writing and it's learning, and it's getting me somewhere. Just where, I'm not sure. My Grandpa Cy thinks it's going to get me the realization I should join him in the furniture business.