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Showing posts from September, 2009

Feero, Feral, and Me

A few weeks back, writer and editor Lyman Feero hit me up to write a story for a new venture he had cookin' called The Feral Pages. Never one to turn down a submission invite, I said sure.

Problem was, I had nothing.

When I had four weeks to come up with something, it was no big deal. Three weeks left, and I was fine. At two weeks, I began to sweat. When this weekend rolled around, and I realized I only had four days to get my ass in gear, I started thinking maybe I wasn't gonna come through. Skipping deadlines, even deadlines set by friends, is the height of writerly bad form, and I didn't much relish the thought of missing this one, but every story I sketched out sucked, and the ones I'd started never seemed to cross the finish line. My head was too full of book-thoughts; short stories just wouldn't come.

I got nervous. I tossed. I turned. And somewhere along the way, I got to wondering what that scratching in my walls was all about.

The result of that wondering is a…

"Papa," or "Why I Write Crime"

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Photo courtesy Stephanie MacDerment
The other day, I was poking around my cousin Steph's blog, and came across the picture above. She'd taken it at the Syracuse PD tent at the New York State Fair. Seeing it rocked me back, because the scrawny young man receiving his Police Academy diploma is my grandfather.
My grandfather (Papa, to us grandkids, because nobody, butnobody, called him Grandpa) was a great many things. A decent man. A stern disciplinarian. A fierce competitor. A consummate storyteller.
But most of all, my Papa was a cop.
A damn good one, by all accounts. Papa rose through the ranks of the Syracuse PD from beat cop all the way to Deputy Chief, and despite everything he'd seen along the way, the man still never locked his doors at night. "If they want to get in, they'll get in," he'd say. "No point having them break a window to do it."
I remember clear as day the joy of riding with him in his Caddy (he always said when he made it, he was …