Wednesday, May 31, 2006

"A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people."

Thomas Mann

Monday, May 29, 2006


I was listening to the author of The Book Thief on the radio this morning and it started me thinking.  Not about death because I think of that daily.  But rather that I make death happen all the time.  We in the crime field do it constantly.

I kill people a lot.  And I do it cavalierly. I hit some keys and it’s done.  I murder someone.  That character is dead. 

I read about it all the time, too.  Death.  It’s not hard for me to read.  Or write.  And yet I fear it.  So what are we all doing, we crime writers?  We dispatch people like we’re tossing away a candy wrapper.  It doesn’t mean anything to me. 

I’m always amazed by people who say “I can’t read Z kind of book because it’s too upsetting.  Murders and all.”  They’re talking about fiction.  I never get upset or frightened by death in a movie because I know it’s a movie.

But I do get upset by the idea of death.  Mostly my own.  Many friends have died over the years and that was hard.  It wasn’t fiction and I felt it.  Still, the idea of my own death can give me chills.

And yet I write about it.  Not my own, of course.  But death in all it’s guises.  Nothing is off limits for me to write.  Or read.  Except the graphic death of an animal or a child.  Don’t want to write that either.  Won’t. I’ve written about a child found dead, but I don’t want to go much beyond that.

Nothing scares me more than knowing I’m going to die.  Yet I’ve chosen a genre that relies on death.  When I’m writing a murder scene I never think about my own death.  Perhaps I use this as a technique to keep death away from me.  It’s very convoluted if that’s what I’m doing.  And stupid.

Because I’m going to die.  No matter what I do.  No matter how many times I joke and say I’m not going.  I’m going.  And so are all the crime writers in the world.  I think we’re all very strange.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Last Monday I finished the chapter I was working on.  That was the last time I wrote anything. 

This week I’m not writing either.  I have a lot of reasons…things I’m doing and having a birthday.  You see, this not having a contract leaves me pretty free to do what I want.

I’ll start again on June 5th.  Yeah, I will.  Even if I don’t feel like it.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


"Writing fiction has developed in me an abiding respect for the unknown in a human lifetime and a sense of where to look for the threads, how to follow, how to connect, find in the thick of the tangle what clear line persists."

Eudora Welty

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

As Time Goes By

That’s what it feels like today. 

Last week I did pretty well with this thing I’m writing.  But, of course, as predicted, by this Monday I hated it.

I wrote a paragraph that day.  Nothing Tuesday. Another page today.  I feel stuck.  My mind is all over the place except on the novel.  Instead of writing a book I’m buying books. From everywhere. Especially England.  I know this is an addiction because there’s no way I will ever read them all.  But it isn’t the reading, is it?  Although I read plenty of them.  It’s in the ordering, the arriving, the opening, the smelling of the book, the reading of the quotes, the dedication, the first line.

The above almost sounds like a drug addiction.  I don’t know this first hand, but it seems that drug addiction has rituals unlike drinking.  Yes, drinking has some, but not like shooting up.  At least it’s not that way in what I read.  The drugs, I mean.  Heroin.  My heroin is books.

But I’m supposed to be writing one.  Today I feel that I’d be happy if I never wrote another word.  Maybe I won’t.

Monday, May 15, 2006


"Writing is an occupation in which you have to keep proving your talent to those who have none."

Jules Renard

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Novel

Over the weekend I kept thinking, why am I writing this novel?  Who will give a damn about it?  I’m wasting my time. What’s the point?  Even if my agent likes it (unlikely) who will buy it, publish it?

Today I read what I have.  I think it’s good.  I liked it a lot.  The characters are interesting, the whole thing moves along quickly, I keep advancing the story and if I can pull off the main point I’ll really have something.  Whoopee!

Tomorrow I’ll start to actually write.  I can’t imagine that I’ll keep this optomistic view for long.  And even if I do, sooner or later I’ll go back to the questions above and probably add some.

Writers of other blogs sometimes mention that writers who blog are whining all the time about how tough this profession is.  I hope my postings aren’t mistaken for whines.  That’s not my purpose.  I’m simply trying to show what writers go through.  Ups, downs, highs, lows. 

I got my Kirkus review for Too Darn Hot.  Of course it wasn’t good, but it wasn’t that bad, either. Two picky, mean lines and the rest a synopsis.  It was annoying but it didn’t put me in a state or send me to bed with covers over my head.  Some will say I’m committing suicide with Kirkus to write that here.  If I didn’t write it I wouldn’t be playing fair as far as the purpose of this blog.  I have to mention the bad reviews along with the good and tell my reactions to them.  So sue me!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Past Two Weeks

Due to circumstances beyond my control I haven’t written for the last two weeks.  To some degree I  liked it.  But now it’s getting to me.  So, once again I’ll have to read that damn manuscript (because I can’t remember anything) and get back on schedule Monday.

I look forward to it.  Whatever it is.  Who are those people?  Where do they live?  What are they up to?  Where are they going?