Friday, February 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth George

Day 17 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and the topic of mysteries has provoked the most discussion so far!

So, Happy Birthday, Elizabeth George, creator of the Inspector Lynley series of mysteries, as I learn from today's Writer's Almanac, to which I have linked you, thank Garrison Keillor very much! I love her daily writing schedule: lift weights, Today Show, read 15 minutes of great lit, write in a journal...all great warm-up activities...and then launch into the long writing workday!

This coincides with so much of the advice in Letters to a Fiction Writer, the book edited by Frederick Busch that gathers lots of advice and encouragement from many writers, many of whom say, in various ways, "write every day." (And I've been reading a letter a day in it, along with writing this daily blog!) A woman at the birthday party poetry reading event on Feb. 20 asked me, "Do you write every day?" and I was able to answer yes!--because I changed my life, as Rilke advised poets to do, and so did Elizabeth George!

Of course she writes the kind of book that lots of people like to read. I write the kind of book that lots of people like to avoid! You can, I am sure, pre-order George's newest book, This Body of Death, due out in April, now. (Yes, you can, so that's the link.)

Who is reading this series? Let me know in the comments!

And be sure to check out the fabulous comments on that previous mystery entry, as people are saying powerful, profound, and provocative things! Me, I'm saying goofy things, like, "Neatorino!"

And while we are at it, let's also celebrate crime writer Patricia Highsmith. (That's a link to Gretta Barclay's review of a biography, posted in Escape into Life, an online journal.)

Oh, but wait a minute! I did once write a murder-mystery sort of poem, and it is online in the archives of Oklahoma Review, so I will link you to that. Poetry usually makes people run screaming away, and this may do so for other reasons! I wrote it in response to a writing-prompt question, "How would you dispose of a dead body?" Of course, as I was writing, it turned into something else, but it's still creepy. You are well warned: "How to Dispose of a Dead Body."

But I also wanted to tell you that the train-to-Texas-guy came back! He bought 3 train books, and he will return! (He is the guy I was afraid I scared off in one of my suddenly intimate conversations somehow totally appropriate to the moment...unless I am wrong, and they are not. Appropriate. Anyway, he is indeed the nice guy I thought he was, and there were all these other people around, so I could not set him up with my ready-to-date friend. How's that for a sweet little comic mystery romance?!)

Oooh, but don't let him read my poem.


Kim said...

I love the poem How to Dispose of a Dead Body! What does it mean? (Just kidding.) My coworker Marilyn recommends digging a big hole with a backhoe, placing the body inside the hole, then covering the body up with a dead cow. I suppose that is if you don't want the body to be discovered. Otherwise, I think most of us would prefer the magnolias, peonies or the ocean.

Kathleen said...

You heard it here, first. The cow thing, I mean. From her, not me! (Can we be sued if somebody does this?!)

JulieK said...

Don't you think the forensic pathologists in the world could tell there was a dead person under that dead cow? It might be messy and it might take a while, but by the time it got down to bones, I think they'd know. The protagonist of "The Emmigrants" (or maybe it was "The Immigrants" by then) got caught in a blizzard and carved up his own cow so he could stay warm inside the cow. Maybe if your dead body was inside the cow, no one would even think to look for it there. Again, years later, bones might tell the tale...

Hmmm... I think the best (and also grossest) way to dispose of a body that I ever read in a mystery was tossing it in the pig yard and letting the pigs eat it, since they supposedly ate every bit of anything they were given. I have no idea if that was a fictional conceit or true, and most of us don't have a herd of pigs to throw our dead bodies into, anyway. If we had dead bodies, which I assure you, I don't.

Oh, and there was a famous old mystery story -- a short story, I think -- where the detective solved it by noticing how many bottles of meat sauce (I think it was called Numo Numo or Nummo Nummo Sauce) the suspect had in his dining room. He figured out that the guy had eaten the body.

I've grossed myself out entirely now.