Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Sad Day

In a twelve-month span that has featured the loss of personal favorites, heroes, and/or friends James Crumley, Donald Westlake, William Tapply, and Michael Crichton, Monday offered a truly devastating blow.

Robert B. Parker died at age 77 in Cambridge, Mass. According to the Boston Globe’s obituary, Mr. Parker apparently had a heart attack while at his writing desk.

“It’s a way to live. The rest is just confusion,” Mr. Parker eloquently wrote in his 1982 novel CEREMONY. I feature those lines in the epigraph of my first novel CUT SHOT. I remember exactly where I was when I read those lines. In El Paso, in 1993, sitting in a dentist’s office, awaiting an appointment. I was a grad student trying, I told my professor, to “bring Philip Marlowe to the world of professional sports.” I was halfway through the first of would be 11 drafts of CUT SHOT.

I remember being 24, reading Mr. Parker’s words, and thinking, That’s it. That’s what I’ve been trying to do with this book. Mr. Parker’s line resonated immediately. There is no better way to describe what we try do in this genre. Turn chaos into calm. Offer readers assurance that no matter how unpredictable the world is, evil will not rule.

It’s a way to live.

The rest is just confusion.

More than eloquent lines in a wonderful novel. More than insights into, Spenser, a timeless American hero. These are the words of a brilliant intellectual, and, for me, guideposts into all that I do and why I choose do it.


Ann Elle Altman said...

Wow, you know an author was truly great when you remember exactly where you were when you read the line. We all can hope our words are that powerful. It's sad he died.


Donis Casey said...

He died the perfect author death, at the computer. If only he'd waited another 20 or so years.