Articles tagged "Jay Gatsby"

Library Penance

Caution: serving a community sentence in a library for a minor crime may lead to a career as a mystery writer! It happened to Lance Hawvermale. He shares his experience below and explains how libraries continue to inspire him today:

I once served mandatory community service in a library.

As a crime writer, I need a good run-in with the law as part of my backstory, even if the crime in question was victimless and endangered no one but myself. The judge explained that the infraction would not appear on my permanent record if I agreed to perform 20 hours of service to my fellow Americans… in the local library.

Yes, Your Honor. I was born in that briar patch.

Flashback: A boy with neo-hippie hair is too slow for the track team and too easily bored for wood shop, and so he seeks refuge in the school library. Immediately to his left sits Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes), and on his right is William Goldman (Marathon Man). In between them, the boy feels safe. Safe from bullies. Safe from chemistry class. Safe from the possibility of having to say hello to a real live girl. As that very boy, I can tell you that courage can be shoveled from library shelves. I stormed the Bastille from that poorly padded chair; I followed Poe to a woman in a premature tomb; I stood on the docks beside Jay Gatsby and admired a light on a distant shore. But while I read one chapter after the next, Bradbury kept pushing my hand from the books toward my own pen and paper. He told me to strip-mine metaphors from these pages and then to write about the ore I discovered. The school librarian, at least, thought I was cool.

Flash-forward: This year my novel FACE BLIND is released by Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press. readmoreremove

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