clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tiki Culture and The Writer

At left, my latest tiki which I received for my birthday.

Bobby Brady didn't start tiki culture but for me, he might as well have.

After the war, Michener wrote Tales of the South Pacific and tiki culture was firmly here to stay for writers. You might know the musical version of the work better: South Pacific.

 I know among the recent literati there is a distinct attitude of dismissal towards Michener and his later works { Centennial, Poland, Hawaii, Alaska, Chesapeake, Space} .

I am not in the camp. I might punch you in the snoot if you dismiss these works around me. Michener is a great storyteller. Always will be.

Also, the Michener Center for Writers at UT- Austin was a pretty kick-ass thing to do.

Anyway, Michener won the Pulitzer for fiction with Tales of the South Pacific which is a distinction no one should sneeze at. They don't give those things away - ask Karen Russell.


Martin Denny and Don the Beachcomber and in the modern day, Pyscho Suzi and her fabulous Motor Lounge (here) all did for tiki culture what the Sex Pistols did for punk and kids that couldn't sing: it gave them an out.

I'm a tiki guy because so much of tiki culture is about not joining. It's about not fitting in.

It isn't a licensed property one can buy at WalMart and embrace. It takes some effort, some dedication, and a willingness not to back away from a Zombie (ingredients: rum rum rum rum, lime juice, and rum). Wild Uncle Phil and I ? Tiki guys.

Writers need to know tiki. They need to embrace tiki. They need to be tiki. Crime writers, especially.
Remember Bobby and idol? Don't disrespect a tiki god. Bodies result.

My new tiki will go in a place of honour in my library this winter and in spring, a couple coats of black with a little silver overspray for the highlights, a sealer, and a fern for the head (wild tiki-god tropical hair .... which we all get after the third Suffering Bastard).

I keep my pens in a tiki mug (Suffering Bastard mug). I open bottles with an ironwood tiki God.

I often write to Martin Denny.

Now, Yma Sumac, that's one I can't quite handle when crafting prose.  She's fun though. She's fun like Tiki.

Watch your idols. They can get cranky, like writers.

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