Saturday, January 23, 2016

Looking Forward Through the Rearview Mirror


Jeff—Saturday

I haven’t had time to reflect on 2015, and with the way 2016 is shaping up (TRANSLATION: Look at the US Presidential race—it makes Greek politics look downright progressive), that might not be a bad thing.  For sure, I don’t want to attempt anticipating how this new year will fare in comparison.

Yes, there were ups and there were downs (aren’t there always?) but reflection only brings to mind a song from Stephen Sondheim’s Follies: “I’m Still Here.”  Ain’t that the truth, though sadly one of the song’s most celebrated performers, Elaine Stritch, is not, but here’s her memorable 2012 performance celebrating Sondheim’s 80th Anniversary.

All of which got me thinking about the good times. The grandkids for sure (their parents sometimes:)) and, though I got to spend less than my usual time on Mykonos, I did get to reacquaint myself with my farm.  


And I spent a lot of time on tour.

That’s when I realized how blessed I am to be living a writer’s life.  Not for the book sales, awards, movie deals, or wild sex parties (that fantasy was for you EvKa), but the camaraderie of the crime writing community. At least for me, that’s what this is all about.

After all writing may be a lousy way to make a living, but it’s a wonderful way to make a life.

So, for cheery thoughts I turned to my trusty bible of modern memories, aka my iPhone. Lo and behold, waiting for me sat smiling proof of what makes it all so worthwhile.  So, dear US Presidential candidates, please move your practiced smiles off stage for a while in order that this little corner of the social networking world can show some writerly faces representative of shared good times in 2015. 

It all began in September at Bloody Scotland when Caro and Allan plied us with a magic potion that kept us smiling all weekend.  They must have had a lot of it in reserve, because everywhere Caro went hysteria ruled.


A month later most of our MIE crew turned up at Bouchercon in Raleigh, North Carolina, and though Susan and Zoë missed this photo op, they were there to keep us on the straight and narrow.


We did catch up with Zoë a few days later at her signing on New York’s Upper Westside.


Then it was off to meet up with Tim Hallinan and Martin Limon in Orange, California and again in San Diego.


From there we made it to Portland, Oregon, and while waiting for Mr. Tim to arrive, stumbled into Powell’s, found the Eoin Colfer celebratory shelf, and paid proper homage to a buddy, be he ever so Fowl—in an Artemis sort of way.


And when Mr. Hallinan finally did arrive, the local asylum gates opened wide and out emerged the rarest of local strange birds, a living breathing EvKa (left, below).


Fleeing Portland we made it to Seattle, where along with the crew of Seattle Mystery Bookshop, we hung out with fellow author Ingrid Thoft (on left).


We spent a solo day in Denver at the Tattered Cover, but I’d grown used to sharing the load and so it was off to Tucson and a duet with Donis Casey, author of the brilliant, All Men Fear My Name, followed by teaming up in Scottsdale with David P. Wagner, author of the Italy-based Rick Montoya series. Sadly my photographer assistant sat mesmerized at those events and no photographic evidence exists.

Then came Chicago, at Christmas time at Centuries & Sleuths, and I shared the stage with madrigal singers.

video

But my best holiday present was a surprise visit from Leighton Gage’s wife, Eide, and daughter Melina!

And it all ended up in Minneapolis, where Stan and I spent the afternoon with Pat Volgrap of Once Upon a Crime, the legendary bookstore run by Pat and her husband, Gary Schulze.  I love that place, but sadly it’s closing.  We shall though always have the memories, and more importantly, the friendships.


Viva the writing life!


—Jeff

20 comments:

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    1. By repeating, Michael, I guess it's you're way of saying, "I agree." :)

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  2. was great to see you on the road at Bloody Scotland Jeff!

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    1. We road warriors must stick together, Craig! Hope to catch up with you at Iceland Noir if not sooner, buddy!

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  3. It is a great life.

    And, yes, the dog and pony show that is the GOP election campaign does make Greece's political scene look downright progressive. When will this madness end, if ever?

    One fears turning on the TV these days for fear of running into this debacle.

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    1. It truly is surreal, Kathy...in every way, on every day.

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  4. And I DO appreciate you throwing my fantasy sex party while you were in Portland (although I think Tim's feelings were hurt when you didn't invite him). However, I'm surprised that you felt the need to make sure no one confused you or Tim for me. Surely such world-famous globe-trotters (as opposed to globe-famous world-trotters) as you and Tim would NEVER be misidentified as some other handsome nobody.

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    1. But just think, if you hadn't spent half the year traveling, you could have written half of another novel!

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    2. Hopefully not the better half.

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    3. I just wanted to make sure the police didn't arrest the wrong guy.

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  5. What a nice, illustrated roundup of the year. Glad to see you living life to its fullest.

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    1. God knows we try, Sujata, though at times I sense it's to the foolist. :)

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  6. Replies
    1. You Afrikaners sure have a yummy way of spelling lecher. I hope EvKa doesn't mind.

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    2. 'N bietjie te veel pret, Stan?

      How I wish I were a writer of mysteries and could meet up with y'all at a party. New murder method: causing someone to die with laughter.--Mario R.

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    3. You can join us in the fun, Mario, just come to a Bouchercon or some other fan-oriented convention where everyone's part of the party!

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  7. Wait..What? There was a wild sex party?!

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    Replies
    1. And here I thought I was the only one who missed it. :)

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