Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself

I’m a middle class white boy from Tempe, Arizona. A pretty nice guy by most accounts. I’ve never had a run-in with police (unless you count the watermelon incident). Never spent a night in jail. Never killed a man in Reno just to watch him die. Yet, I write crime fiction. And much of it is pretty violent stuff.

So why do I do it?

There is a strange, undeniable sense of fun in writing about bad people doing bad things. Maybe crime fiction allows the humble and law-abiding a chance to stretch our toes over the wrong sides of the tracks. It may also act as therapy against the daily frustrations of modern day living. Tempting as it may be, I can’t shoot the jerk who answers his cell phone in the middle of a movie theater (Although, in my opinion, such an action should be deemed a justifiable homicide). But in my fiction, that guy better turn his ringer off or he’ll get a double-tap to the back of the skull.

Often, I think crime fiction also allows writers to explore their own questions about the nature of violence.         

There was this kid I knew when I was a teenager. We weren’t close. He was just a friend of a friend. Being on the short side, he’d been bullied in grade school and Jr. high. Somewhere along the way, he decided he’d had enough.

Over the summer, the kid changed. He started getting into fights, drinking Jack Daniels, and smoking Marlboro cigarettes. He drove fast and had sex with girls who were walking advertisements for STDs. He became a tough guy.

In truth, I really didn’t like him. But I can’t deny having harbored a weird admiration for him. Even as a dumb-ass teenager, I sensed he was broken inside, a victim of low self-esteem. Yet he lived by his own rules and wouldn’t back down from anyone.

As the years passed and friends drifted away, I had all but forgotten about the guy. Then I saw his face on the news. Hikers had found his body in the desert, shot in the head along with his girlfriend. “A possible drug related homicide,” said the newscaster.

This kid was a middleclass white boy, like me, living in a neighborhood just like mine. So why him? Was it a choice? Could I have taken his path? Or was this kid born to die hard?

Occasionally my temper rears its ugly head. The world is full of horribly rude people who think only of themselves. They cut me off, or scream in my ear, or slam a door in my face, and sometimes I want nothing more than to introduce them to my fists.

Then I think of the tough guy in the desert and punch the keyboard instead.

13 thoughts on “Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself

  1. Guyot

    On a more serial note (get it?), I’d like to personally welcome MacLean to this site.

    For those of you who are like I used to be – going, “Who the hell’s this MacLean guy?” – let me tell you that he’s been lurking in the dark alleys of Internet noir fiction for a while.

    And Goddamn, the boy can write. I can’t wait for him to put together an entire novel, because his short fiction, well, let me tell you about it…

    I saw his name somewhere on the Net once, don’t remember where. I went to his little site and saw he had a short story pub’d on some fiction site. I read the story and was blown away.

    Then I read another, thinking anyone can get lucky and hit it out of the park on their first AB. But he did it again. And again.

    I’ve yet to read a MacLean story that didn’t completely impress me. He’s the real deal, to use a cliche no one’s ever heard before.

    On a related note, I’m excited about being part of this blog. I think it’s going to be the first multi-blogger site in the crime fiction community that has such a diverse group of scribes.

    Most cluster-blogs feature all the same type of authors blathering about the same type of crap. Well, here we have very different writers blathering about very different POV’s on things.

    Should be fun, and no without a little drama.

    And so (and this is for MacLean): “Let’s Get it on!”

  2. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Oh, Paul beat me to this one. I can see this is going to be a problem…

    Mike, it was great to hear more of your background and motivation for writing. I started catching up on your stories this weekend and Paul is dead on. I love them – talk about style! And it’s going to be really interesting blogging with you because we write along some of the same violent themes and I think we have the same visceral focus, but I’m coming at it from a completely different perspective. That would be – female.

    I can see how your writing is working out those day-to-day murderous impulses. 😉 As a woman, I sometimes write in order to be able to kill someone who deserves it, but much, much more often I write from the perspective of trying not to be killed. Which is of course, more a woman’s experience of the world.

    I like this polarity. It’s going to be fascinating.

    And again, Paul beat me to it – but what he said. I’m thrilled and honored to be part of the Murderati cast and can’t wait to see what comes of it.


  3. Louise Ure

    Mike, nice to meet an Arizona neighbor, although I can foresee an ASU/UofA rivalry popping up in some future blogs.

    And I can’t wait to read your work. You’ve got a dark mind, my friend, and that’s a good thing.

  4. pari noskin taichert

    Holy cow, I feel like little Miss Sunshine on this blog now.

    Mike,WELCOME!This is a great post; we get to learn about you and why you write what you write. We also get to see your lean prose in action and it’s incredibly moving.

    Thank you so much for joining us here at Murderati.

  5. JT Ellison

    Anyone who’s come in contact with me over the past few weeks knows I’ve been fairly shivering with excitement at our new line-up. WELCOME, MIKE, LOUISE, PAUL and ALEX.We are so happy to have you!

    And Mike — nicely said. I knew you were going to be a perfect Murderatii.

  6. Mike MacLean

    Hey guys,

    Thanks so much for the warm welcome. It’s one thing to get compliments from your wife or mom, but to get them from fellow writers puts a warm feeling in this dark, dark heart of mine.

    I’m really excited to be included with such a great bunch, and I am looking forward to the next year with you.

    Viva la Murderati!

  7. Elaine Flinn

    I’m late to the welcoming party for Mike – and everyone has already lauded (I love that word)you far better than my archaic mind could conjure -so just let me say – WELCOME MIKE!

    I very much enjoyed your post today – life is a series of forks in the road and I’m glad you’ve made such great turns. Especially here to Murderati. I recall Ian Rankin saying that crime writers are well adjusted people – we do our killing on paper…well, it was something like that.

    And I can’t wait to get you On The Bubble. Muhahaha.

  8. Aldo

    Mikeeeeeeeeeeeee,This is one talented dude. My hat is off to the genuses that have adopted Mike and I look forward to more of the word……

  9. G. T. Karber

    I just read your story, Luck and a Gun.

    Very, very nice.

    I was ticked at the end, though. Not at you, but you know, well, it’s your story, you know what I’m talking about.

  10. Bryon Quertermous

    As the publisher of stories by three of the Murderati contributors now, I can attest to the talent on this blog. Paul and Mike are both great guys and great writers and I’m happy to see them on board. JT, well JT just kicks ass as she always has.


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