Thursday, September 4, 2008

Would the real ... by guest blogger Steve Head

I’ve been asked to solve a LaDeDa Books mystery. Given my extensive history as a reader of mysteries this should not be difficult. The problem is this mystery involves my identity. And how does anyone honestly respond to that one?

I could recite a series of facts although an unnamed governmental agency has indicated some portions may need to be redacted with their chisel edge Sharpie. Not very informative or fun to look at.

Who am I? A starving writer and an overfed bureaucrat. A frequent flirter, reluctant lover, committed bachelor, serial divorcé. A rolling stone that’s never stayed at a job or kept the same address for more than 5 years. And I’ve got a couple 5 year pins with chips of obscure gem stones and a collection of unusable personal check stock to prove it.

While I was not raised by gypsies there were 3 moves and 2 states during my first 12 years. I think this instilled an early and deep sense of relativism that people who grew up in one place rarely get to experience. The fertile lands of the Midwest offset by the sagebrush covered, mineral rich, and water deprived hills and valleys of Wyoming. Happy social Lutherans versus the rugged individualism of cowboys and real-life Indians. What is normal? Is there even such a thing as ‘normal’? Such a question opens a host of possibilities that can be very freeing, or lead to a neurotic search for any sort of absolute.

My residences have been evenly balanced between Midwestern and Western states. My love of the West is one of the reasons I’m drawn to authors like Tony Hillerman, Craig Johnson, James Crumley, Rick Bass, and Ed Abbey. And why I want to check out C.J. Box. My love of the Midwest has more to do with the cycle of seasons than stories and authors, although there is no shortage of either. A good start would be “A Different Plain” edited by Ladette Randolph.

Besides books my interests include film, although the independent and foreign variety are more to my liking than Hollywood blockbusters and re-makes. A lifelong appreciation of art has led to becoming a “maker” through drawings and paintings.

My personal motto for several years has been, “Expect to be lied to!” This narrative is like most stories, a pinch of truth and a dash of the false. What better way to champion my motto than to confess lying to you.

I do not appear at LaDeDa with set regularity but you might catch me there one of these days. But watch out, I might flirt, draw your likeness, or tell you a lie.

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