Why We Don’t Write Crime Fiction

September 17th, 2004 · 2 Comments
by Booksquare

For a long time, we assumed we couldn’t write such things because we weren’t clever enough. This theory has not been laid to rest, but we now see it’s more than cleverness: it’s the fact that we failed miserably in our musical education. If only we had stuck out the piano lessons despite a lack of talent — it is notable that we possess a prodigious ability for self-deception (hence sticking with softball for so long because we enjoyed the fantasy world wherein we could hit and catch; reality was somewhat different, though we did possess the advantage of a tiny strike zone and had a relatively high on-base percentage), yet were able to discern just how awful we were when it came to music.

If we weren’t looking at the keys, we had no clue if we’d hit the right note or not. This apparently troubles those who can play without use of the visual sense. We won’t mention our inner soul singer except to note she caused us some problems as well.

It is always a joy to get to the root of your personal failures. Improvement comes from awareness, or so we’ve been lead to believe. We have long eschewed practice in favor of, well, fantasy when it comes to achieving goals. That is the joy of our profession: one doesn’t have to waste years learning when it is just as easy to build an entire lifestyle with your imagination. It’s just that certain types of fiction (you know who you are) demand a bit more rigor when it comes to facts. It’s one thing to fake the experience on a planet we’ve made up, it’s quite another to explain the intricacies of the violin when we didn’t last our first month of lessons.

  • Singing detectives: Inspector Morse likes his Wagner, Sherlock Holmes was a mean violinist and Philip Marlowe discussed pianists with police officers. Mike Ashman investigates the curious connection between crime and classical music

File Under: Square Pegs

2 responses so far ↓

  • David Thayer // Sep 17, 2004 at 1:36 pm

    I think ‘The Woman in White’ by Wilkie Collins is considered the first detective novel. 1851? 1841? His villain, the Count, recently appeared in Brimstone, a novel published in 2004. Big Opera fan. I prefer a little Curtis Mayfield with my Pelecanos. And the OJays. I’m a low culture type.

  • booksquare // Sep 18, 2004 at 10:22 am

    The funniest thing I ever wrote was while listening to a series of songs about lost loves and confronting absentee parents, etc. I think low culture is an excellent way to go. Plus, if you sing with the windows closed, does it really count as out of tune?

    The Woman in White was about 1859 (had to look it up as I had no clue) — I’ve always thought of it as much more modern. Weird how the mind makes such decisions.

    Love Curtis Mayfield — Superfly is a permanent iPod resident! And I wouldn’t think about cleaning the house without Sly Stone (he’s been my dusting and sweeping companion since childhood).