On A Collision Course With Words

On the radio: Live-Streaming a NYC station playing Willie Nelson’s version of Hoagy Carmichael’s,”The Nearness of You.”

Hi, y’all! Been a long time I’ve blogged, and I’m thrilled and grateful to be part of a stellar group of talented authors on this platform of LADIES OF MYSTERY. I’ll do my genuine best to be a good egg . . . but I can’t promise I’ll always play nice with the other kids. If some of you know me from the SinC boards, I kinda have a big mouth. Not intentionally mind you, but, well . . . I think I’m just naturally antagonistic. And naturally a big mouth. Shy writers, don’t go–I’m really nice, honest. I’ll just save that why-I’m-a-big-mouth post for another time (Teaser–it’s why and how I began writing to start with).

I’ve always thought words were incredible, powerful tools. Onomatopoeias (words that spell out sounds–remember the series Batman? “POW”! “CRASH!” “ZAP!”? That.), And, according to family members, I was reading by three, and I remember spelling my first big word when I was four: “Freedom.” When I discovered the dictionary at 12–my fault for telling my Granny I was bored, what could I do?–I found out homophones, synonyms, antonyms, and pseudonyms were ugly cousins to one another. How cool to know ew, ewe, you, yew, yoo, whew, and hue are close enough to pass, but only just. Now I see why the English language is so hard to master. Once done, it’s wonderful to unearth the mysteries behind why it’s still the most widely accepted language spoken on the planet.

Before I wrote or read, I talked. And sang. A LOT. I never shut up–and gee, big surprise, that got me in trouble more often than not. When I wasn’t in trouble and other kids weren’t around, I’d either sing or talked to imaginary friends in whatever words or worlds my fictitious playmates and I dreamed up. Sometimes the play was fun, sometimes I sang to the radio to my pretend audiences, or sometimes I was bored and moved onto my dolls, Play-Doh, or Hanna-Barbera cartoons on TV. Or my radio set to WABC in the middle of the night (yeah, I never shut up then sometimes, too). There, I’d pull the cartoon characters from the storyboards and craft fan-fiction stories and games before that became a thing. Oh, if I could go back in time . . . Rocky & Bullwinkle Tag Team Casper and Wendy! Underdog vs. Might Mouse. Tom & Jerry Meet Heckle & Jeckle. The killing I’d’ve made, too . . . but I digress.

But I discovered words were so strong, so impressionable, so damned fun, so I used them often. And sarcasm, too, when I learned what that meant. Putting those words to paper in book report form when I was a kid, not so much, and I refused to do it. It was easier to give oral reports on the books than written ones–this way, I could act out my favorite characters in the stories I devoured. Whether it was a great story a spelling test–I don’t have to tell you I almost always aced those–a vocabulary quiz, or something involving ways to express myself, I was, as report cards home oft said, never at a loss for words to do this. Couple in being born and raised in 1960s-1980s NYC, and, well . . . Big Mouth, par excellence 🙂.

So how does this relate to writing? And writing mysteries?

Two ways.

The first–my mother, her desire to be a nurse, was an avid fan of crime shows with a medical twist, Ellery Queen, Michael Crichton, and Robin Cook. She turned me onto my first mystery, an I Can Read story titled The Case of the Cat’s Meow, and later, The Hardy Boys Mysteries. The Cat’s Meow book I have to this day, ready for when my first grandchild is old enough to discover new universes and boundless imaginations books hold.

The second way came when my father’s death, in a collision with a NYC Transit uptown-bound A train in 1991, marred the birth of his first grandchild by his oldest child–me–that same year. His unexpected end is still listed in the NYPD rosters as a cold case/unsolved homicide to this day.

So I suppose in all rights, mystery writing found me.

Although I wrote plenty in journalism since my teens, I didn’t ever think I’d write a book, much less I’d want to. Now I’ve three series plans in blueprints, and several books within said blueprints in varied states of progress. But past events, not excluding my move to a speck of town called Page AZ from gigantic Gotham on a lie discovered after the parties involved died, prompted wonderings how could a mystery work. Peppering in tales from my past, people who knew my parents still living to share their stories, and strangers who remembered little me when I was four and spelling “Freedom” for them, all began to weave a tale in my thoughts.

In writing, I hope to never stop asking why or have my curiosity’s thirst ever quenched. I hope my cast of zany characters never stops asking why I’m as zany as they are. Most of all, I deeply hope to inspire a lonely, bored, or imaginative kid–or said kids at heart–to be transported into the stories as I’d been at their age, and still am today, fostering a love for words I vow to never let die.

Until next month . . . dew the best yew ewe were born two due.

Stay Awesome!
~ Missye