The Talmud says words have power, that words exist on the same level as guns and rockets and the disappointment in your lover’s glance that cuts your heart out.
I was taught that as a kid (not the disappointment in the lover’s glance part, maybe, but certainly the rest). Now that I need it, of course, that quote has disappeared off the face of the Earth. Even the all-powerful Google can’t find it, though it offered instead a rabbi (in Texas, no less) who points out that the Hebrew word for words is d’varim while the word for bees is d’vorim. “Words,” he says, “can sting like bees as they rip into the very flesh of our souls.”
And this, my children, is an example of two things: one, why I don’t spend much time in shul anymore (reaching, guy, reaching…) and two, why Google is just like real life, because in both cases, you never get exactly what you expect but you do get a whole lot of comical distractions that keep your mind off whatever it was you originally wanted until you can’t remember what it was and realize it’s too late to keep looking for it anyway, give up in exhaustion and get a sandwich. Or a glass of wine. Or two.
To boil it down: Life=throwing idiotic distractions at you instead of whatever it is you really want (since we never get it, ‘what we want’ remains the most stubborn of fantasies).
Which brings me to my books.
I’ve written several comic romances, a couple darker stories and now I’m writing thrillers. But in my mind, all of them are satirical mysteries. I’m writing about my own time, specifically the late 90’s to present, an era spanning the dotcom bubble, the real estate bubble, 9/11, globalization, the Shock Doctrine, tsunamis, nuclear meltdowns, internet dating, Facebook, Twitter, the rise of religious fundamentalism at home and abroad, TMZ, ‘reality’ television, ignoring the beast of OIL while we argue over whether the government should mandate more-efficient lightbulbs…look at that list and tell me anybody could write about it straight. Not if they’re paying attention…so that’s the satire part.
The mystery is because I resist that tendency of stories to wrap things up. My stories all have endings but most of the endings are beginnings. Which makes me an optimist (another reason I can only approach this world satirically) and a skeptic. There are things in this world beyond facts, Horatio. The meaning and the payoff come in ways that can’t be quantified like gems on a scale. Meaning is elusive, gossamer, changing and transforming as we stupidly try to fix it in amber. Every moment worth living has a little mystery in it and that’s where fiction beats reality hands-down, because it has the freedom to dwell in that realm.
Blah blah. Anyway, a bad introduction is better than none because now, at least, it’s over and we can get down to cases. On to the next mystery. And buy my books—buy two copies of each, they’re cheap (If words really have power, I’ll be rich tomorrow).