Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Not a grown up job

Why do I read crime/mystery/thrillers?

The first part of the answer is: because I read everything. I read crime, mystery, thriller, literary, historical, some sci-fi, the occasional romance, film scripts, and nonfiction. If it’s printed, I read it. Probably some kind of weird compulsion I ought to see someone about.

Reading takes me to different worlds and different lives. I doubt I’ll ever climb Mount Everest, fall in love with a Scottish Highlander, or solve a tricky murder. But because of books I can experience all that while sitting in a hammock sipping lemonade and listening to the surf. I know, it’s a rough life in Hawaii, but I will point out that the hammock broke because the salt air ate through the nylon so you know that it’s not all bliss out here. Yes, we have real problems.

My mother would say that I read mysteries because I have an overblown sense of justice and I expect the world to be fair. As usual: she’d be right. I do. And in mysteries everything happens for a reason, the evil are exposed and, usually, they even get punished for what they did. Who could not want to read that?

Obviously there’s a leap from reading them to writing them.

I could make up a deep psychological reason, but really I write them because they are fun. I get to do all kinds of research and ask questions that normally cause trouble. I just recently watched someone blow a giant pile of lava into gravel, begged an autopsy report off someone, found an expert on chemical weapons, and am going to spend this morning watching “The Olympiad” by Leni Riefenstahl. As a friend said: “It’s not a grown up job.”

I like that.


kaz in pink said...

Escapism. Yup. Reading is like heroin.

Kelli Stanley said...

Hey, Becks, we've got salt air in San Francisco, but it's too cold for a hammock! ;)

Loved the post ... brings out the sense of fun and play behind what we do! :)



CJ Lyons said...

Good job, Becky! I always said I'd need a 12 step program to stop reading or writing--Kaz is right, it is like heroin!!!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kaz! Reading is, indeed, my private heroin. Except for cheaper and without all the nasty side effects.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Kelli, you could sit in a hammock. You'd just need to a big soft blankie.

Glad you like the post. It IS a fun job, even though it's difficult sometimes, isn't it?

CJ: Don't even LOOK for that 12 step program. We need your books!

Kelli Stanley said...

Thumbs up for big soft blankie!! ;) Today, though, it's actually warm and sunny, even by the beach. Of course, that's because I'm in front of a computer! ;)

For me, the difficult thing about writing is revision, which can be painful, since it's not that pure "let 'er rip" writing frenzy that really is (I imagine) like mainlining heroine ... and right now, the most difficult thing about reading is not finding enough time to do it!

So Becks, what's the difficult part for you? This will probably pop up as a question of the week eventually ...


Shane Gericke said...

Ate through the nylon hammock? Arrrgh, don't you hate when that happens. Most excellent post, Becky. Perhaps you should have the 7 Criminals out to your place to, you know, see what the salt air feels like. I'm on an inland sea myself--Lake Michigan--so I could sure use the time to compare and contrast :-)

I appreciate your observation that writing is FUN. That's an underrated commmodity in today's crazy world, and I'm glad we all have that in our work. Plus we get to write in T-shirts and shorts instead of "grown-up" clothes. How can you beat that?

Whoops, it's almost noon, gotta run. A book club invited me to lunch to eat and chat ... another way cool reason to write. To get these wonderful invitations to meet future friends.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Kelli: Nothing like a laptop to keep your lap warm. Not as nice as a cat, of course.

The most difficult part? Promotion. I love writing. I love revision (don't hate me). Some days all I write is crap that I have to throw out, but I'm resigned to it now so it doesn't bother me as much.

The worst day writing beats the best day waitressing and cleaning motel rooms, jobs I've had in the past.

Rebecca Cantrell said...


Have a blast at the book club! Writing has brought the most amazing people into my life. Not all sane, mind you, but amazing nevertheless.

We SHOULD do a 7 criminal minds on the road tour where we blog from each other's houses. I'm only doing YOUR house in the summer though. I used up all my cold points when I lived in Alaska.

Unknown said...

Does sharp laval blasted to gravel make sharp gravel?

Amazing video -- in the first few blasts, the staged ones, I could feel the compression on my forearms and in my stomach, even though it was just visual. Weird!!!!!

We used to find blasting caps and old old dynamite out in the southern nevada desert, squirreled away by prospectors whom I always hoped hit it big in some other way so didn't have to come back to the shale in the desert, rather than they got sick or died and so couldn't come back.

Thanks for a brief visit to Kona -- even in a broken hammock, it's lovely!!!!

Shane Gericke said...

Rebecca, you and our other blogmates are welcome any time. But when it's warm here, it's WARM. As in 90 and humid today. Though you might be used to that in Hawaii. Is Kona as humid as other parts, or more dry? Only thing I know is from watching the Ironman triathlon on TV when I was younger and competing in triathlons. Something my knees would not tolerate any more. Or my patience--waaaaay too much training for that stuff.

The book club was kewl. They even bought lunch, which was nice. More about them in my blog item on Friday.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks, Mysti! It doesn't have all the shades of brown and red of the desert, but we make do. I'm trying not to think of all the trouble you could have (did?) get into with all those free explosives lying around (although maybe they didn't work, she says hopefully).

Shane: Glad you had fun. Looking forward to hearing about it on Friday. I can do hot and humid now, but it's not my favorite. Kona is on the dry side, so it's not as humid as the other side, or as it is at other elevations. I think we get as much rain as Palo Alto, CA, to give you an idea.

That said, it's raining right now!

Jen Forbus said...

Oh please, no 12-step programs...I need my escapism as well. But on the other hand, art imitates life and we really aren't escaping so much as experiencing safely. We're all curious, some more than others. And mysteries so often delve into social issues in their plot, so we're escaping to experience safely, while contemplating the answers to life's questions! ;)

So glad you all give us a chance to do that from our hammocks or chairs or beds or plane seats or sandy beaches or WHERE EVER!