clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Sunday, January 27, 2013


No - not that kind of funk. I'm talking "last potato chip in the bowl and nothing else in the house to eat" type of funk.

We've heard the advice to not read fashion magazines because they'll make you feel fat and ugly. I'll add that you have to be careful as a writer what you read as well.

I was exchanging an email stream with a friend who has their first book coming out soon and how they were excitedly planning their book launch party. They had 130 people to invite.

Wow. 130 people.

Now I was feeling like the last chip in a bowl.

I moved five years ago this month from a place I'd previously  lived for twenty years. I don't make friends quickly (writer, I watch - right ? I'm shy by nature). I'm not very social. I have no connection to my present locale at all but for a tiny company which produces an extremely specialized type of product.

My social involvement ? Teaching English as a second language one-on-one. That's my charity. Hardly a huge exposure there as well. I knew tons of folks at my old home. I even did a live radio show for ten years with two hours every Saturday morning. ( That might not help here as it was radio for the blind. No - I'm not making that up. I love helping people who cannot see. )

Well. They'll be no launch party when my books of  lies and murders come out. I know a handful of people here and none of them read contemporary fiction. It's one of the reasons I have few friends because so many of the people I talk to don't read newspapers or fiction.  I need to work on that little aspect now and find a social outlet.

  Unchecked, I can see it now. Here's an example for a work I don't intend to turn into a novel.

I say, "Hey - I'm having a launch party. My book is coming out in print and I'm having a deal Wednesday - did you get my invite ?" 
"Yea - sounds cool. What's the book about ?"   <it was on the invite but here goes>
"Uh, it's about a conflicted guy who finds mother-in-law had his father-in-law killed and stuffed in the protagonist's trunk. He finds the body on the night his wife throws him out because she 'needs space' and so he's trying to juggle the truth versus any lies he might be able to create to make it all work out in the end. It's a kind of  'who broke this lamp ?' story with a dead body." 
"Wow. Dead body. Great family." 
"Yea - cool, huh ? It's a murder story with a literary fiction tone to it. Conflict of self. That sort of thing." 
"Yea. Sure. Is that Wednesday ? Yea, I'll try to stop by before volleyball at the Y. It's league and all. But I'll try."

Now, I sound the crass bastard for thinking that I need to form some social connections before my publish date.

What I mean to say is that I need to form some social connections to people who might read contemporary fiction and understand some of the possible implications of current events. No, a Kardashian blipvert reference is not a current event topic.

It's a university town. How hard can it be to find someone who understands the role of  the opium trade in 19th century European politics, can find Rwanda on a map, can find the Spratly Islands on a map or who knows Ivy Mike ?  I'll trade any of those right out for someone who can recall their Dostoevsky  Orwell, or (easy one) Shakespeare.

Two large pizzas would have leftovers at my launch party. That's bloody awful. I've got to fix that - and write. I've still got to write more.

Be careful around newly successful authors. They're a little like standing next to Miss America in the grocery line at Whole Foods. A six pack of craft brew and some organic blue corn tortilla chips are going to make you feel like a troll when she turns and smiles with her basket of radishes, rice crackers, and soy milk (half pints).  You're going to feel like a troll even if she doesn't turn and smile. Her radiant aura is enough.

Don't read the fashion magazines, either.

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