...write the darndest things.
A salute to those chroniclers of all things Chicano at La Bloga
--Manuel Ramos, Rudy Garcia, and Daniel Ramos-- for their continued support of Marta Acosta’s and my books.
And second, big congratulations to Shari Caudron
for the great interview on NPR Sunday Weekend Edition
. Shari is a fellow author from the Lighthouse Writers Workshop
. She was interviewed for her newest book Who Are You People?
where she discusses the growing trend for Americans to search for new communities that seem a little outside society’s boundaries.
Learn about Barbie collectors, Mayberry fans, and Furries.
And now, back to our regular programming.
This week at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop I taught a mystery-writing class to middle and high school kids. The class broke into age groups and I took the 11-13 year olds, ten girls and one boy. We started an exercise where we examined a photo with crime-scene tape in front of a house. We were given a list of clues. Peanut butter on a doorknob. A black glove. Barking dogs in the middle of the night. A footprint.
Expecting a mystery from Encyclopedia Brown--something to do with stolen marbles, a broken vase, etc.,--this is the scenario the kids surprised me with. A rich 45 y.o. dad had been stabbed to death by the jealous boyfriend of the dad’s 28 y.o. ex-wife. “Blood everywhere,” one of the girls said. “I want him cut open. It has to be a real tragedy.” Plus, the 18 y.o. daughter (from a previous marriage) was stealing money from the dad, which was a red herring detail (as was the peanut butter on the doorknob). The footprint was from a size ten and a half high-heel shoe which the boyfriend wore because he was a cross-dresser. The boyfriend dumped the clothes and the knife in a dumpster and washed up. (These kids were familiar with CSI.) But for some reason the boyfriend kept the high-heels (The girls insisted that he really liked these shoes.) and the police found carpet fibers and blood on the soles. Mystery solved. Case closed.
A gruesome murder. Lies. Cross dressing. Embezzlement from a loved one. “This was fun,” another of my girl students said. “I like writing mysteries.”