Re: RARA-AVIS: Walter Mosley

From: Ed Lynskey (
Date: 31 Jul 2002

Thanks for the great report, Carrie. Enjoyed it!

Ed Lynskey

--- Carrie Pruett <> wrote:
> I went to see Walter Mosley last night at Borders - what a
> cool guy. He is
> a very entertaining reader - read from his new book "Bad Boy
> Brawly Brown" -
> and an interesting speaker. He had a great rapport with the
> audience and
> although it was quite a large crowd he made the event feel
> intimate. I have
> been reading several of his books in the past week and I
> enjoyed them
> although I don't think that he'll ever be one of my favorites.
> Still, I'd
> encourage anybody who has a chance to hear him read to go for
> it (although I
> think he said that this was the last stop of his tour).
> Questions he addressed -
> he's from LA originally, although he hasn't lived there since
> the 1970s! I
> found that interesting, I don't know where he lives now. I
> assume somewhere
> on the east coast since he was ending his tour in Virginia but
> he didn't
> volunteer the information and it seemed rude to ask. He
> enjoyed the movie
> of "Devil in a Blue Dress," and there are various film and TV
> projects he
> may be involved with in the future, but it's hard to tell how
> those things
> go and it's not a priority for him. If Mosley had been in
> charge of the
> film, he would have made it differently but, he added, that's
> not to say his
> version would be better. He likes Denzel Washington but
> thinks he is "too
> expensive" and in any case he thinks that Don Cheadle's Mouse
> was the "great
> performance" in the movie (much applause on this point).
> Mosley has written mysteries, sci-fi, and literary fiction,
> but he doesn't
> really think about genre when he writes. He just writes the
> stories that he
> wants to tell. He considers his "genre" to be writing about
> black male
> heroes. He was a computer programmer before he was a writer,
> and he used to
> get up at 5 in the morning and write for 3 hours before going
> to work. Now
> he still writes for 3 hours every day, and he finds he can't
> be productive
> if he tries to write more than that (one awed audience member
> kept asking
> what he does for the rest of the day, but most of us thought
> that was funny,
> esp. those who have tried their hand at writing). His first
> book was "Gone
> Fishing" but he couldn't sell it because of the stereotype
> that "white
> people don't read about black people, black women don't read
> about black
> men, and black men don't read." He hopes that his success has
> helped to
> dispel these stereotypes.
> Someone asked about other writers he liked, I'm afraid I
> didn't hear most of
> his responses, though I did catch Gary Phillips' name. He
> didn't mention
> any "classic" mystery writers that I recognized and in fact he
> said that
> when he started writing the "color" themed titles he wasn't
> aware that John
> D. MacDonald had already done this. In fact, Mosley didn't
> intend to start
> this theme with his own books. His first published book was
> "Devil in a
> Blue Dress" then he wrote "A Red Death", which was a reference
> to Edgar
> Allan Poe. It was only with the next book that his editor
> asked him what
> the "color" would be in the title and Mosley realized that the
> editor was
> expecting another color, so he has continued with that theme.
> Addressing the relationship between Easy and Mouse, Mosley
> said that HE
> would not be friends with Mouse, and if Mouse lived next door,
> he (Mosley)
> would move out and not leave a forwarding address. However,
> Easy uses Mouse
> to "back him up" the same way that the powerful men Easy
> confronts have the
> police and other institutions. Easy doesn't think that Mouse
> is the most
> amoral or evil person in the books, Mouse is just more honest
> and accepting
> about the code that he lives by.
> I got my copy of "Brawly Brown" signed and in the great
> tradition of having
> something intelligent to say to an author, I blurted out "I
> like your
> glasses." He was wearing these very vivid multicolored
> glasses with
> sparkles in the frames. He said, "Thanks" (sincerely, I
> think) then added
> "they are cheap and they break easily, you can buy them in any
> bookstore."
> carrie
> -
> Pictures of perfection, as you know,
> make me sick and wicked - Jane Austen


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