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Tuesday Watercooler


Elmore Leonard

Goodbye, Elmore Leonard.

Tonight’s musical selection is “Don’t Fence Me In” by David Byrne. I like the use of human faces in this video, which reminds me a little of the opening to Orange Is the New Black.

Writer Elmore Leonard has died. From The Guardian:

Although the death of the American writer Elmore Leonard – on Tuesday, aged 87, in Detroit, from complications from a recent stroke – is certainly a matter for sadness and regret, the writer would not want to be responsible for anyone speaking of the news “sadly” or “regretfully”.

One of his much-circulated 10 Rules for Successful Writing – in which he distilled the approach that brought him six decades of bestsellerdom – was that dialogue should never have any descriptive modifier. “‘Leonard is dead,’ they said,” is something like the way the news should be communicated, according to his stylistic strictures, which always emphasised simplicity. Another is “try to leave out the parts that readers skip”.

If there was a Leonard formula, it was remarkably efficient. The publication this year of the paperback edition of Raylan, his 45th novel, means that he achieved a 60-year publishing career that began with The Bounty Hunters in 1953. It was a literary longevity approached by only a few other novelists, including Agatha Christie and Georges Simenon.

In common with them, Leonard is generally classified as a crime or mystery writer, but he began and ended his career with stories more or less belonging to the genre of the western. He was strict about the definition of that form: stories set on the frontier of the American old west, such as The Bounty Hunters and its immediate successors. However, he retained many characteristics of the western – standoffs between law officials and bounty hunters, protagonists living on geographical and moral borders – when his books moved east and into a different genre.

It’s an open conversation in the comments. How are you today?

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and