Saturday, March 24, 2012

What Would Be In Your Keynote Address?


Scott D. Parker

What's in your keynote address?

Over at NPRMusic this week, they posted Bruce Springsteen’s keynote address to the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas. In this speech, Springsteen discussed his life’s inspirations and aspirations, what influenced him, and what he contributes to the greater musical community. It’s a fun speech, peppered with a few bits of foul language and a little guitar playing to even out things. As I listened to his near hour-long speech, I got to thinking: what would my keynote address be like?

What things made me the person I am today? That, of course, starts me asking another question: who am I? What is the sum of my parts, my influences?

Seeing as how this is a blog devoted to mystery and crime fiction, I’ll leave out some of the other stuff that makes up who I am--Star Wars, KISS, Chicago, comic books, and jazz to name a few—and focus on the mystery part only.

That I am here, with my fellow DSDers, on a mystery fiction blog is due, in large part, to a single book: Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River. Up until 2001, I read little crime or mystery fiction. Sherlock Holmes was there, of course, and the Three Investigators and the Hardy Boys were present in my youth, but I rarely selected a mystery to read. By chance, I heard an NPR interview with Lehane on the way home from work. His description of his book, specifically the time gap and how the sins of youth can affect adulthood, is what hooked me. I took a chance and bought the book.

And was blown away.

A few weeks ago, I asked if mystery literature can have a sense of wonder. By reading Mystic River, a whole new universe of books and concepts opened up for me. I put myself on a crash course to catch up with most of what many of y’all already know. Lehane led to Pelecanos to the many authors of the Hard Case Crime. Recently, in the past year or two, I’ve become interested in the more traditional mysteries with Louise Penny’s Bury Your Dead the latest addition. I like that I can pinpoint the exact moment my love and appreciate for mystery fiction happened.

What would be part of your keynote address?

Tweet of the Week:

Also, criticism doesn't imply hate. If you automatically reject anyone who disagrees with you, how do you grow as a person?

--A. Lee Martinez

Album of the Week:

Esperanza Spalding “Radio Music Society”

I have listened to this album every day (sometime multiple times) for over a week. Love, love, love this music and this artist. It is a breezy, jazzy, summery, effervescent record that harkens back to when jazz was on the radio.

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