Lyle Christie was born in San Francisco, raised in Marin County, and attended the University of Kentfield, San Francisco State University, the Academy of Art College, and Dominican University, where he majored in film and social psychology, and minored in Philosophy, Anthropology, and Human Sexuality—all of which gave him the diverse educational background to become a writer and director. In addition, he holds a fifth degree black belt and teaches Kenpo Karate, Jujitsu, Arnis, and Wing Chun. During his lifetime in the martial arts, he has taught civilians as well as police and military personnel and continues to train with elite members of the intelligence community, both in the United States and abroad.
He also teaches firearms, swords, sticks, and knives, though he is equally deadly with the nunchaku, machete, goat, tether ball, and skin flute—the last perhaps being his greatest skill set. Above all else, he maintains excellent, if not grey, hair and lives aboard a yacht in Sausalito with his wife, French Bulldog, and Miniature Dachshund. When he’s not writing, directing, teaching martial arts, or training with the real life James Bonds of the world, you’ll find him fighting injustice, cherishing a number two, working out, skiing, playing some sweet-ass guitar licks, or riding his mountain bike through the scenic hills of Marin County.
SHIT HAPPENS...OFTEN QUITE REGULARLY, BUT IN THIS CASE IT WAS TOTALLY UNEXPECTED.
In 2010, I was living a glorious life in Northern California, directing music videos, writing screenplays, and teaching martial arts…well, I was until I was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Hodgkins T-Cell Lymphoma Cancer. With literally only weeks before my imminent demise, I began rigorous dose dense, chemotherapy, and, with an extremely low survival rate, about one in five, I was particularly lucky to achieve a full remission in just over two months. At that point, I was approved for a stem cell transplant at Stanford University, the procedure being the first of several state of the art treatments. Three years later, in 2013, I had a minor recurrence and was lucky enough to have undergone a bone marrow transplant at Stanford University Hospital, the frontline treatment and best hope for a lifelong cure. Thanks to my thirty-three year old donor, I have George Clooney’s eyebrows, though I somehow missed out on having a beautiful villa on Italy’s Lake Como.
So, what exactly does a person do when faced with the extreme isolation of cancer treatment and the fear of a potentially premature demise? Well, I started reading Harry Potter and filled many long hours hooked up to a chemo drip by spending my time with the life and adventures of the boy who lived—hoping in my case, to be the man who survived. I, of course, went this route because there aren’t many books more removed from the doldrums of cancer, and it became the perfect escape. The problem, however, was that I tore through the books so quickly that I was soon on my own again—desperately in need of something to fill my long, anxiety filled days.
I tried several popular novels and authors I liked, but couldn’t find anything to adequately fill the endless hours of isolation. Of course, I could have wallowed in self pity, but I really didn’t want the months of downtime to be meaningless. If I was forced to sit around like a piece of shit, then I wanted to do something with the time. I immediately decided that I should turn my screenplay writing skills into the ultimate, tell-all cancer book, but five pages in, realized the topic was too depressing and started a new novel. This one was going to be the book I desperately wanted to read and would include all the things I lacked at that moment—namely sex, alcohol, adventure, travel, and privacy in the bathroom—the key elements for a truly rewarding existence.
I finished chemo at Kaiser then headed south to the Stanford University Hospital, quickly realizing that I would have nothing but a window and the internet for a companion in the coming months. Worse still, were the medical horrors that would soon become a part of my daily existence. My morning nurse, concerned about the debilitating physical effects of intense chemo, entered my room each day with the following words:
“What would you like me to check first? Your balls or your butthole?”
“Um—neither?” I would respond, as I unconsciously pulled the blanket up to my chin.
At that point, all I desired went into my writing, first and foremost being a little privacy in the ol’ baño. The nurses had an annoying habit of always wanting to weigh my stools—something to do with keeping track of fluid and food intake and the subsequent amount of release. My bathroom contained what I called the upside down cowboy hat, a plastic insert to catch waste entering the toilet, but, whenever possible, I woke up early and dumped before they could make their rounds. Every day that I bypassed the cowboy hat and sent a number two un-accosted down the drain was a small, though cherished victory. I felt like a prisoner—a veritable Count of Monte Cristo, though my prison was a hospital and my victories were achieved over porcelain.
Continuing with the theme of writing about all I lacked, meant that the book would sizzle with sex, adventure, and humor. Three months later, I would complete book one, and within the year, finish two more, completing what I called at the time The Mantasy Trilogy—the word Mantasy, being the combination of Male and Fantasy, though this is by no means a men only kind of book. Quite to the contrary, I worked hard to create a non-misogynist, wacky re-imagining of James Bond, though with a fear of public restrooms.
The following year I managed to write two more follow-ups, all with the same character and eccentricities but with new and exciting story lines and locations. Now, I had a Mantasy Series, or, if I wanted to follow in Douglas Adam’s footsteps, I would say books four and five in the Mantasy Trilogy. At the moment, I’m currently working on book nine, ten, and eleven.
Writing has always been one of my great loves, but sadly it took a life threatening illness to bring us back together full time. I had written a number of screenplays and had two optioned for motion pictures, but traditional writing is more complicated and requires a hell of a lot more work. It is, however, more rewarding because you have the ability to deliver your story directly to an audience, whether it’s your friends, the woman at the Post Office, or the thousands of potential readers trolling the online ebooks. It doesn’t need a fifty million dollar budget, a production team, distribution, and funding for it to reach an audience—which is pretty awesome.
Here is the "Wes Anderson-Steve Zissou" inspired documentary for the cancer fundraiser we did back in 2013! We thought it was pretty funny, conisdering the circumstances, but my sister cries every time she watches it.
I nearly died creating the Mantasy Series...you're welcome.
© COPYRIGHT 2021 MANTASY LYLE CHRISTIE