And in the end
the love you take
is equal to
These powerful words
from the Beatles
Their last statement, on their final album, Abbey Road.
Let it Be was released later, but recorded earlier.
Abbey Road, their final thoughts. Life and music and politics and love. Kinda like the final thoughts of a bunch of authors I know.
And what a beautiful, complex set of songs the Beatles left for us in Abbey Road. From the whimsical Octopus's Garden to the dark, atonal Because, and the long medley that begins with You Never Give Me Your Money and climaxes at The End, with wild tangents along the way, growing, evolving, escalating toward those final words, the words that sum it all up, that boil it down to the essential truth: "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."
Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
When I was in college, in music school, I used to skip my sight-singing & ear-training class and hide in the campus music library where I listened to Abbey Road, over and over and over again. Upon receiving my D in the class, my instructor asked me why I rarely showed up. I told him what I'd been doing. He stared into space for a moment, then nodded. "I can see that," he said. "You picked good teachers."
The Beatles were diverse, ever-changing, impossible to categorize, and full of surprises.
When I look at the seven-year life of Murderati I can't help but think about the music of The Beatles. Billed as a site where mystery-thriller authors marketed their books and shared stories about their adventures in publishing, Murderati grew into something more, a collection of diverse voices sharing their opinions on everything under the stars. Filled with surprises, Murderati was diverse, ever-changing and impossible to categorize. Exactly the kind of organization/disorganization I can relate to. And, like The Beatles, the members of Murderati are deliciously talented. I've sat amazed and overwhelmed by the insightful discussion I've read here. The dialogue and dialectic. It's the Algonquin Round Table of the mystery sect, and I feel fortunate and honored to have had a spot in the room.
I'm lucky I got in when I did, to have a few years to write my 111 blogs. A number, by the way, that has always been magical for me. Three ones. It has become a tradition in my family to wish each other "Happy Anniversary!" each time we see the clock change to 1:11. It began with my wife and I after we took a romantic trip to Santa Fe and spent an evening at Ten Thousand Waves in a hot tub under the stars. The number on the door to our private room was 111. The "Happy Anniversary" was our little ritual and it spread to the kids when the kids came 'round.
So, it's seems symbolic that my final blog for Murderati is 111.
I've always loved the fact that Murderati was a living thing, a place where artists moved into and out of. Authors came and went, but their words remained. It's refreshing to know that the words will always be there, archived, for us to reference years into the future. Murderati remains as a testament to our time, to the world of publishing as it was. It's a fascinating freeze-frame of the state of our art as things moved into the digital age. The excitement and fear of this moment are captured in our postings. Murderati exists as an historical reference to one of the greatest times of change ever experienced in the world of publishing.
I'm glad a number of past authors have come by to say goodbye. These are the folks who were here before and during my time, and I've missed their voices on the blog. It feels like a family reunion.
I only feel sorry that the site can't continue as it has these past seven years, so that current readers of the blog could experience the joy of becoming Murderati bloggers themselves. It seems unfair to them, most of all.
I will miss this place.
But it doesn't have to be so serious and sad. Even The Beatles, with their heavy message at the end, let us know that the final word, after the final word, was something else entirely.
Fourteen seconds after the end of The End comes the strike of a chord and the start of a silly little ditty called Her Majesty. A slap-happy, tongue-in-cheek drinking song that ends on the upbeat of an incomplete measure and reminds us that The Beatles, as deep and inventive as they were, simply wanted to have fun.
Because, if you're not having fun, what's the point?
I hope you've all had fun here. I have. I hope you've allowed yourself the opportunity to be silly and whimsical. I certainly have. Sometimes humor offers the greatest insight. After all, it's the flip-side of tragedy, and no one knows that better than the authors and readers of the mystery-thriller community.
Now, if you'll excuse me, the yellow submarine has arrived, and there's room for one more.
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(Remember to pop by this weekend for postings by past-Murderati authors)
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Oh, and if you're going to attend the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC this weekend, I'll be moderating a panel called "Crime Fiction: Secrets and Spies" with Philip Kerr, Eric Van Lustbader and Tom Epperson on Sunday at 12:30. And I'll be signing at the Book Soup booth, also on Sunday, at 3:00 pm. Hope to see you there!