RARA-AVIS: Re: He's Not Really a Mad Dog; He Just Plays One in People Magazine

From: Dave Zeltserman ( dave@hardluckstories.com)
Date: 14 May 2008

Kevin, I'm sorry, I can't resist commenting on your note about schtick and fake personas, and I know it's been a few years since we met, and while you're maybe not the best looking guy in the world, you're certainly not the stonecold mean muthafucka you're trying to look like in your photo on your blog at:


Myself, on the other hand, as my wife and most of my friends would probably attest, am usually mildly peevish....

--Dave "Mildly-Peeved Dog" Zeltserman

...also can't resist sharing a little bit of good news I got yesterday--French rights for Small Crimes is going to Rivages, which I'm being told has a superb crime list.

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Kevin Burton Smith <kvnsmith@...> wrote:
> Vicki wrote:
> > Dave is really a sweetheart, as are 99.9% of the noir writers I've
> > met,
> > including Ellroy, but don't tell any of them that I let out the news!
> That was something that some of you may have missed in my recent post
> about Ellroy.
> I KNOW a lot of his persona IS an act, schtick he trots out because it
> sells books. I mean, he calls himself Mad Dog, greets crowds by
> calling them perverts and pansies, and regales his fans and the press
> regularly with stories of his murdered mother and tales of his life as
> a second story man, breaking into apartments to sniff young girls'
> panties. He's playing a character in public. In real, one-on-one life,
> I have no doubt he's a much nicer, less cartoonish person. He couldn't
> do the work he has done if he wasn't.
> He may even be a sweetheart.
> But you're right, Vicki -- he'd probably have us killed for saying it.
> * * * *
> I've always been fascinated by the cult of (occasionally faked)
> personality that some writers indulge in. And occasionally irritated,
> particularly when the disciples take it too seriously, or the floor
> show gets too silly or strident.
> Some of it seems harmless enough, but some of it veers uneasily
> between comic and tragedy. Ross Macdonald posing in a private eye
> fedora on the back of his paperbacks in the eighties or Grafton beside
> a VW Bug, Spillane being photographed with guns, or Hemingway
> selectively pumping up his "war" experience -- it all seems somehow of
> a piece. And then there are other authors who chose not to hock their
> lives and simply let their writing speak for itself, a prime example
> being Chandler who actually WAS a war hero.
> Yeah, yeah, yeah... Hammett and Joe Gores were real life private eyes,
> and Wambaugh was a real cop. We know, we know. And any number of self-
> proclaimed (and occasionally real) fuck-ups regularly cough up noir.
> But that's ultimately just trivia -- fun to know but so what?
> Ultimately, if they weren't good writers, who would give a damn?
> And I've had more than a few run-ins myself with alleged hard-boiled
> writers more obsessed with their "street cred" than actually writing a
> coherent sentence. But the world's closets are filled with unsold
> copies of self-published books written by people who write "what they
> know."
> As though what's in a novel's author bio would ever matter more than
> what's on the actual pages.
> * * * *
> Hey, maybe Ed should start calling himself "Sleeping Dog," then he and
> Mildly Peeved and Mad can go on tour as the Amazing Crime-Writing Dog
> Brothers! I envision a multi-coloured school bus.
> Kevin
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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