I recently gave a seminar on memoir at a public library in Talladega, Alabama. To emphasize the importance of place in all good storytelling, I asked the audience to write a paragraph describing a room they remembered from childhood.
In the shadowy world of the mystery novel, nothing is ever quite what it appears to be, including the nature of justice itself. The justice on the surface of detective stories is earth-bound and human-centered.
Living in Alabama, I encounter a lot of intuitive spelling. I am no spelling snob. In fact, a roadside sign for “Bowled Peanuts” can brighten my whole day, as can a hand-painted billboard exhorting me to “Give Your Loved One A Missage For Christmas.” Never, though, have I taken so much pleasure from a spelling exception as the sign at a local health food store. “WE NOW HAVE ST.