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Friday Fare: 11/30/18

My stomach was in knots earlier this week when the Mystery Writers of America (MWA) stepped in a proverbial cowflop by naming Linda Fairstein as the 2019 Grand Master for the Edgar Awards (the award was rescinded on Thursday morning).  In the mystery world, Fairstein is known for her New York Times bestselling novels, but Fairstein also “oversaw the prosecution of the Central Park Five — teenage boys wrongly convicted of a 1989 rape that shocked and divided New Yorkers.”  (Click on this link for NYTimes’s overview of the MWA/Fairstein issue.)  Before I go further, I should include a disclaimer – the thoughts I express here are my own, but here they are … Tuesday’s original announcement was greeted with a certain amount of salty language from me, because although I did not *know* who Fairstein was until the backlash started, a Google search told me plenty of what I needed to know about her career prior to becoming a writer.  In the criticism that followed from the L.A. Times and from writers of color / mystery writers in general on social media, the narrative that emerged was that although MWA and the mystery community have made strides with diversity, we have a LOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG way to go as evidenced by the short-sighted and painful pick our industry made for the Edgar Awards.  Or, as novelist Kellye Garrett put it: “They have work to do, especially when it comes to inclusivity and embracing writers from marginalized communities.”  This was painful to watch.  This was embarrassing. The mystery community needs to do better.

***

This isn’t the first time that I’ve heard this claim, but here’s an article that supports the hypothesis that playing Tetris is therapeutic.

Two words: Coffee nap.  (My reaction: SIGN ME UP.)

I had the good fortune to meet Gillian Flynn in March when she was one of the keynote speakers for Murder & Mayhem – Chicago.  Flynn is funny and lovely (not to mention … talented as hell).  This piece from New York Times Magazine was an enjoyable read.

***

Listening: My children love Christmas carols.  I do not.  But it’s fun to listen to hear my eldest child’s unabashed joy when he hears this song:

Reading: I read two books over the Thanksgiving holiday and they couldn’t have been more different from each other, but both of them were stellar in their own ways.  First up was “Marilla of Green Gables” by Sarah McCoy.  McCoy could have been flirting with some serious sacrilege here … basically, she’s taken the character of Marilla Cuthbert (immortalized by L.M. Montgomery in her “Anne of Green Gables” series) and she envisions what Marilla’s life was like growing up in Avonlea.  There are some great parallels between how Montgomery structured her original “Anne” book and McCoy’s modern version, but man … McCoy writes beautifully.  I’m going to go out on a limb here – the world is a better place with McCoy’s book in it.  This isn’t some travesty of Scarlett proportions, this is a damn fine entry into the AOGG canon.

The second book I read was recommended to me by my good friend Kathleen.  Erica Spindler’s “The Other Girl.”  DAMN. This is a thriller published in 2017 and it’s one of those books that I slammed down in a night (and on a school night!).  Good characters, taut pacing, a book that this aspiring writer can learn from.

Writing Life:  2018 had a game-changer for my productivity and the secret behind it is a cheap calendar from the dollar store.  Seriously, I tear pages out of said calendar, set deadlines, and then carry that piece of paper around with me …

I’ll explain more about the cryptic notes on this image later in life, but basically – my 10+ years as a proposal manager has taught me something about taking gargantuan tasks and biting them into smaller pieces so I can actually get sh*t done.  In this case, I had a multi-phased “project” with a December 3rd deadline.  And don’t get me wrong – I’m still struggling with a couple pieces of my “proposal,” but I should be able to hit the deadline with some elbow room to spare.  (HOORAY FOR THOSE BRIEF GLIMMERS OF ORGANIZATION IN MY LIFE.)

– Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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