Confession: I hate it when writers complain about how hard it is to write.
I’m not gonna pretend it’s always easy, as if the moment you sit down, inspiration comes streaming in like sunlight through an open window in summer.
Yes, there are days when you sit and stare at a blank page and it stares back at you, unblinking, trying to suck your soul dry and make you question everything. There are days when it’s incredibly hard work to get words on the page, and even harder work to make sure those words aren’t the worst drivel you’ve ever written. I get that.
Whenever people ask what I do, I like to look straight at them, smile, and reply “I murder people.” I usually give them a moment to squirm before I add, “Fictionally. I write mysteries.”
I did the same kind of thing in high school. See, I went to a classical school. It was technically public, but specialized — no athletics, an emphasis on academics, cultural arts, and foreign languages. But before the school was transformed into a classical school, it was an alternative school. So whenever people asked what school I went to, I’d just offer the first part of the name and leave off the label “classical.” I could see the struggle on their faces as they attempted to reconcile the image of me with the concept of a delinquent. (more…)