One learns a lot as an orphan. The first lesson, you can't accept help from everyone. If you're fortunate, you learn this as you watch your other orphaned friends be led away on pipe dreams they have a mommy and daddy, somewhere, if only they can just find them. The second lesson, of lateral importance, is to know what others do for you harms you in the ways it soothes you to have support. Every parent knows this, and every child, too, but then every kid screams bloody murder everyone else is being spoiled, save them, so although charity kills, it doesn't stop people from relying upon it in their planning and development.
The notion in all of the fairy tales is to go out and find your family. Replace the family you lost with a new tribe. That's the David Copperfield goal for the orphan, and it usually is how little kids get lured away into the worst situations with no agency. Feed yourself and no one holds back food for sexual favors. Clothe yourself and no one can give you an outfit to wear that compromises you. Transport yourself and you won't find yourself in cars with strangers being led away from folks who warned you don't go with them, no matter what they promise.
A lot of oppressed people think it's just a matter of finding the right folks to tribe-up with. We're all used to the group eating very well off the one bold person's idea. There are plenty of Microsoft support staff multi-millionaires, more than one would be comfortable with knowing, actually. There have been a bunch of Bill Gateses, inside and around Microsoft's often tottering dominance in the OS space. And yet and still, there will always and forever only be one Steven Gary Wozniak. Every crew has a Woz, age, race, gender nonspecific. You'll recognize them as the odd one, who speaks out of turn at the wrong times, and introduces ideas and concepts when everyone is worried about the grumbling in their stomach. Woz walks when everyone else is eager to accept a ride after school from someone who is waiting on someone else to pick them up. Woz moved his own feet, to his garage.
And where would any of us be without Woz's garage?
Woz lived longer, thought different, did better, pushed back on Steve Jobs and his totalitarian bullshit (he was a monster, full stop,) and left the world with a model for civic-minded dominance of his friendly competitors. Woz left behind a legacy for folks like me, who know that everyone wants to be king of the hill, but you gotta step on some backs and necks for that, and it's easier to grab other people's legs and keep them from winning than win yourself.
So this is fair notice. I don't think I have many friends in crime-mystery-thriller, certainly less than before. I include those authors of color, because what's that ever been, really? I thank all of you for the rough play I've experienced this past five years from you. You helped me see I can win without fighting dirty and rigging the rules. Now, I'm under no illusions. I know y'all want the prize real badly. You all taught me the game. I'm playing it. So, unlike an angry black man who will freak out, and more like your favorite motivational black athlete who freaks out over the scoreboard, if you're on the field, you're on your back, cuz Bronzeville gotta eat, and I'm the Mayor.
Meet you on the Midway. Come to play. Smashmouth. You in Chicago.