So I'm dropping in (out of nowhere), with no apologies for (how many) months of no-show? :-)
Can I say that my thoughts have been with you all? Like my Crime Sistahs and, I'm sure, with many of you, the last few months have been packed with changes. I spent the summer in France (yes, it was fantastic), working on my newest manuscript (yes, I made progress, but no it's not done), and now I'm preparing to attend Bouchercon '08. I'll arrive in Baltimore on Thursday and stay through Sunday. On Saturday. I'll on a panel about amateur detectives, "Keeping It Real." (The title speaks for itself, don't you think?)
But the real reason I finally decided to post today after this embarrassingly long silence was to bring notice to a particularly marvelous, insightful and spot-on column that's appearing in the Baltimore Sun online. Fellow Bouchercon attendee Austin Camacho writes about black detectives. His topic: Black Ain’t Nothing But a Detective’s Color. He writes: "His topic: Black Ain’t Nothing But a Detective’s Color. Camacho writes:
"It’s not about race. It’s about the characters. It’s about the mystery.”
Camacho writes a hardboiled series, featuring detective Hannibal Jones, set in Washington DC. In this column, he notes how commentators always want to call Jones a "black detective, as if that were its own genre." He goes on to state, "If my work must fall into a subgenre, let it just be hardboiled detective fiction."
Thus Camacho touches upon an issue that continues to face many of us: If you are of the darker genus, then your work is often categorized first by your ethnicity, and then by, belatedly, by its literary genre. Thus, we have romance, then we have "black romance;" we have mysteries, then we have "black mysteries," etc.
Camacho then goes on to write what amounts to a fantastic tutorial on the nuances of noir and hardboiled detective stories. I loved it and hardily recommend it. And when I see Camacho this weekend, I'm going to let him know it.
I hope to also see some of you this weekend. If you're in the area, then please don't hesitate to walk up and say hello.
In the meantime, take care and God bless.
(This is not my regular column day (that's Friday) and I want to thank my Crime Sistah for letting me put my two-cents in on her day.)
Tuesday, October 07, 2008