A while back I realized I hadn’t posted on my blog for quite a long time. The reason? One of the most valid I’ve encountered to date: Life just got in the way. It’s sad to say that unexpected life events can really throw a kink into those activities at which we work so hard to find the time in which to participate . One barely has time to breathe, let alone to write or paint or whatever that is that provides or adds satisfaction to our lives. For the past four years, I searched for small chunks of time to write my next mystery. As I finished Treasure Among the Shadows and sent it off to Camel Press, I began the search for more time in order to write the next one, The Mariachi Murder. This one was more difficult, as the words were trapped in my head and I was also trying to fill every spare moment doing the things I needed to do to survive. I was finally able to finalize it and send it off – certainly an occasion which would have called for a drink (if I was a drinker.)
I am an artist, I paint and carve and participate in an annual traditional market in Santa Fe. This is my livelihood and I need time and energy to prepare enough items to make this show worthwhile. I am also a writer, and that profession sometimes takes a back burner to my art, as one provides a greater income than the other. I’ll let you take a guess at which one, since as you know, not every one of us has been able to write the Stephen King or J.K. Rowling blockbusters.
During this long hiatus from my own life, in which I was still able to earn a living with my art, I must say that it now all seems like a dream. After a year-long battle with terminal cancer, my brother Jimmy passed away four years ago this month. I used an event during his treatment for a character in Deadly Deception. Three years later, another brother, Ricardo, also developed cancer, and it was my task (and honor) to care for him also. He passed away at the end of April. One of the characters in my first mystery, Shadows Among the Ruins, was based on this brother. (All the information about growing and harvesting pot came from him.) I am a fond believer that there are “characters” who live around us, and my two brothers were both as interesting as they were unique. I can’t say how many times I’ve read the phrase, “write what you know”, but if you don’t know enough about anything in particular to draw on , then “write who you know.” There is always something memorable about these characters — something they’ve said, something they’ve done, how they look and how they act. In fact, their entire lives are fodder for my writing. I have been privy to their marriages, relationships, breakups, and most everything else they have experienced. When I wrote my memoir, “Tortilla Chronicles”, some years ago. It was my siblings who provided so many of the memories I had either forgotten or was unaware of. They put together the pieces that eventually filled in the puzzle of my childhood.
We started off as four brothers and three sisters. Now there remain only one sister, one brother and myself, and I treasure each one of my siblings for the love and laughter they have provided, along with a few chapters for my books. My hope is that I can continue to fertilize my writing with remembrances of these wonderful characters.