Monday, June 18, 2018

Your Best Self

Sometimes, I think about creating a pseudonym and writing in a different genre, under a different name.

In part because there are some things I want to do that fall more under different genres than mystery/crime. And in part because I'd like to have an anonymous life.

I grew up in a small town. I went to school with the same class of 27 kids (give or take the odd one who'd move to town for a few months or move out of town... sometimes permanently, sometimes not) for the first 9 years of my life. If you didn't know someone yourself you knew them by reputation.

Kids today talk about their mistakes being immortalized on social media. I'm not discounting that, but there was no hiding from yourself where I grew up. The poor kids from the wrong side of the tracks kept those labels and the cool kids retained their power.

Reinventing yourself was a hard thing to do. Especially when you started a new school year only to have your teacher tell you what they expected of X's sister. My sister not only works in a library, her purview involves deciding what books the library stocks. You'd think we grew up in a book-loving family, but you'd be wrong. We both found escape in novels.

I escaped later, to Europe, and lived overseas. In fact, I haven't set foot in my hometown in over 21 years.

I think that's part of the reason I've been drawn to fictional cops who have messed up lives they're trying to avoid or change. Trying to bring order to personal chaos, or being swept up by the chaos. I can relate to those things in my own way.

For someone who finds the idea of disappearing, in a manner of speaking, appealing, I've actually written something very personal. The good folks over at Crimespree ran my article, Writing Our Way to Where We Belong. In it, I talk about a few things I have coming out this year.

One is a short story in an anthology called the dame was trouble. I talk about what motivated me to write Jordan's story.

I also talk about some of the creative decisions I made for Moreau in the Spying Moon and what influenced my choices.

I think that one of the most distinct things about the writing I've been doing recently is that it's more personal than ever. Many writers start out with a protagonist that's a thinly veiled version of themselves. That was never my aim with earlier works. I was more likely to create characters who were what I wanted to be.

In many respects, Moreau is the closest character to me that I've ever written. It's an odd thing - once you put some things out there you can never take them back. But, like life growing up in a small town where everyone knows you or knows of you, you can never truly change a public past.

All you can do is focus on being or becoming your best self, and being at peace with that.

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