The Genre Closet

About noir/detective fiction (and genre in general, and the question of what is literary):

I went through a period when Walter Mosley was practically all I was reading.

Maybe that's an exaggeration, but I was a huge fan. I even have a picture, circa 2004, where I'm standing next to him at a post-reading book signing, beaming. Part of me thinks I should be ashamed to admit that, (it's the conditioning), but after the Denis Johnson reading, well, "I just don't give a shit."*

And anyway, the larger part of me feels ashamed for worrying about that stuff. Genre or no, (and he's vocal about not liking to be pigeonholed), Mosley's great at what he does. His books still mean something to me. The effect they had on me was literary, I know that. I think his books defy genre.

I had two pet rats, I got them when I was maybe 19. I named them Mouse & Mosley. (Mouse is the name of one of Mosley's characters, in the Easy Rawlins series.) Mouse was one of my favorite pets, ever. She used to sleep in the crook of my arm when I was reading. They're both long dead now.

I admire Ray Bradbury, too. There, I said it. Take that.

I don't write genre, but I sure don't look down my nose at those who do it well. And I think that doing it well means that you still manage to speak to the literary "heart," somehow. Know what I mean?

PS---Look, I found it! I look like I'm 12. (I was 21, in my first year of college.) Why do I always make that goofy picture face?

*Hope the profanity doesn't throw you off, it's actually a reference to the Denis Johnson reading.

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