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tv   In Depth In Depth with Walter Mosley  CSPAN  April 1, 2018 12:00pm-3:04pm EDT

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his whole view of himself, his world her potentials ha changed. he came back to southern texas and realize he could no locker live there because of what he learned, and he and thousands of other southern black people from texas, louisiana, have moved to los angeles. and what we do is the follow him as a kind of an unofficial detective, but what he does is he reveals what life was like in parts of los angeles that hadn't been talked about. >> host: how did you get the name sunny was writing a story, a voice was speaking first person, and it was talking about this party he was living and trying to raise money no pay his rein and then talked about a woman he was in love with named etta may but she loved another guy named mouse, and then mouse
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comes in, and mouse looks at the person who is talking, who we haven't seen yet and says, easy, how you doing? and that was -- where he came from. >> what voice is he supposed to represent? >> guest: who? easy? ease it's being. what he represents is how the african-american voice is one of the voices and the choir of america. >> host: did you set out to use him as a vehicle for social commentary? >> guest: well, you know, any good novel, they have to be like a great novel -- doesn't have to be a very good novel but any good novel that talks about any character, has to talk about how that character is anchored in the society and the culture and the politics. if you don't do that, then it's not -- you don't have a real
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character. so, it seems to me that everybody does that. what is different is that not a lot of people are doing it with black male heroes, and in doing it in black male heroes, it becomes a very strong cultural and social commentary, not necessarily because that was my intention, but it's because i was the only person doing it for quite a while. >> host: one review of your book writes this but easy rawlins, for once a black man's feeling being express in a detective literary form. >> guest: that's true. it's the traditional form and it's the black character, and i'm not trying to take anything away from either of those things, because otherwise the people that i'm representing would be misrepresented. that's one thing i don't want to do. >> host: did you aim to set out to create easy rawlins as a
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series? not necessarily. however, i had written another book called gone fish, also with easy and mouse but they wore younger, coming of age in the swampland. and i sent it out and publishers said it's a wonderful book but it's not commercial because this is back in the late '80s -- white people don't read about black people, black men don't -- black women don't like black men and black men don't read. they were wrong but the fact they were saying it made it true because the wouldn't publish my book. then i wrote devil in a blue dress, and the publisher said this is great, black detective. then they said we don't want to just buy one book, we'll by two. so the decision was made by the publisher it would be a series.
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>> in you describe easy rawlins as a gun in one pocket and a short fuse in the other. >> guest: that's -- i think a lot of our heroes that are on battlefronts and i think race in america is one of the battle funs, has to be willing to explode into violence and to defend themselves, but how they make decisions on whether or not to do it, and also to try to control that temper, that's the point. in moby dick, the cook is throwing off the side and sharks in this feeding frenzy and the chef starts to lecture them and says, angels are just sharks that have learned to control their appetite. trying to the the sharks they don't have to be what they are. i think that's what you have with your character also.
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easy rawlins. >> host: when does devil in a blue dress take place. >> guest: 1948 in los angeles, and is -- it's an amazing event for change. los angeles back then was population 240,000, maybe 300,000. 100,000 people a year are going to move into los angeles or southern california from then until now. then part of that was always these black people from southern texas and louisiana, and so what you see is this amazing amount of change, more than anyplace else in the country. the city is billing, the ideas are building, the culture is building, the relation between the races is building. it was a wonderful time. >> host: and easy rawlins, world war ii veteran. what story are you trying to tell by making easy recall wince a world war ii veteran. >> guest: world war 2 was an
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amazing change for black people in america. it was for everybody. but for black people it's different. for instance -- one of my father's stories was that he left to go to the war, late '42-'43 with 100 people he knew, and they were together pretty much through, maybe ten of twelve of them died, not from violence or disease or an accident. when he got back to texas, almost everyone he knew in fifth ward in houston, texas, was dead already. and he realized he was safer in the largest war in the history of the human race than he would have been at home in his bed, and that is the thing that moved it. >> host: so, when easy rawlins returns and makes his way from texas to los angeles, how is he
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treated in texas and how is he treated in los angeles? >> guest: well, racism was institutionalized in the south. all of the south. in different states but still institutionalized, and so for one thing, there were no jobs he could get. whatever he learn in the war, whatever his talents were, he wasn't going to get those jobs in texas or louisiana or alabama or tennessee or mississippi or anywhere else. wasn't going to get them. this is the biggest problem. i can't make a decent living. i can't own anything that can't be taken away from me. and so that is the biggest problem. but, you know, still, in los angeles, you have an extraordinarily racist police department, and the police are going stop you if you're in the car with a white woman, definitely stop you. they can do pretty much anything they want to him and he represents something that people -- that certain people want to hold done and they're
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afraid of also. but there's a lot move opportunity in inside of that. >> host: in los angeles. i job you want. almost any job you want, you can get. nobody iser going to take you were property based on race. never have a sign saying whites only. things that were very different. >> host: you talk about his migration from texas to los angeles. this represents part of the great migration that is happening in our country. why did you want to make that part of the story? >> guest: because i'm from los angeles, and the people in l.a., the black people in l.a., one of the most important streets, central avenue, where all of the major music of america either started there or moved through there, that these people's stories had not been told. there's a giant part of los angeles history that had been left fallow, nobody was
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going to talk about it or write about it. you don't exist unless you exist in fiction. people like nonfiction but don't pick up history books and say i want to learn something today. it's better to talk about it in story. >> host: you write income devil in a blue dress, all of them and john and half the people in the crowded room had migrated from houston after the bar and some before that. california was like heaven for the southern negro you could eat fruit off at the trees and get a job that you do retire. life was still hard in l.a. and you still found yourself on the bottom. what were race relations like you talked about it a little bit. >> guest: i think that there were -- problematic race relations with the police, and also in the subconscious and unconscious of america, there was a notion for very long time that the best thing to be was
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white, whatever that means. the best thing to be was to be inculcated with this european culture. there was something like -- you were better, even if you didn't work hard, you were better because of what you were, not what you knew. i think that -- so if you were very smart, if you were chicano or black or asian, people would look down on you and make assumptions about what you could do and couldn't do. if you did better than you should be able to do, there was anger and resentment. that was a lot to go through. and it was hard. it's still hard today but it was hard then for people to see what they were looking at without putting something on it that wasn't true. >> host: how was it for black men versus black women? >> guest: well, you know,
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listen. there's no verses. no verses between black men and black women. i think black men -- people are more afraid of black men, more afraid of their anger, and more afraid of what has happened to them. the responses, women -- at least people think is usually not violent. when something has been done bad to them, but men it is. so black men have been kept out of the hero category. that's one thing i feel. even in the greatest black literature in america, of the 20th century, the black characters were less heroes and more protagonists, people that richard wright or ralph ellison wrote about, almost anybody. you didn't have a person that you said i want to be that guy, i want that guy to protect me. >> host: youite not industry becomes the next plantation. what did you mean by that. >> guest: sunny don't remember writing that.
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it is 28 years ago, but i think that people -- when i hear it, i feel like i know that, well, yes, it's your labor being spent to make somebody else rich. the interesting thing is that i think it was more true in the '40s and '50s that people of color suffered from working hard but -- and not making enough. today in america, everybody suffers from it. as wealth moves towards a very small group of people, that own everything, they don't care what color you are, what gender you are, they're going to take advantage of you no matter what. i think that america is responding. a lot of people are responding, making a mistake in think can it must be these other people who are not white, must be their fault it happened. but it's not, of course. it's the fault of capitalism, and unchecked capitalism. >> easy rawlins owns a home and his home is very important to
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him. what are you saying with this concept of ownership? it's not just in the easy rawlins series. in fearless jones, narrated by a character, small business owner with a book store in l.a. in the 1950s. this concept of ownership. who has it and who doesn't and why is it important. >> guest: i think that if go back to the beginning of america, a citizen had to be a property owner. there's a political connection. there's an investment, a literally investment in the nation that you have citizenship with, and i think that it's been true that if you're not a property owner, then you're a might, and if you're a migrant you're not that important. maybe you can't vote, maybe people don't pay attention to you. maybe people will just kind of jerrymander you out of existence. but to own property, especially for easy to own property that can't be taken away from him, that this is my land, most
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people before the war are rural. so that land means something. whether or not you're raising cattle or growing cotton, it means something. and just the fact he has his little plot right here, that makes me a citizen. >> host: this is a mystery novel, crimes are committed, and easy rawlins has thoughts on the justice system. you wrote this: i thought it was wrong for a man to be murdered. in a more perfect world i felt the kill sheer be brought to justice but didn't believe there was justice for negroes. i thought there might be justice for a black man if he had money to grease it. money is not a sure bet but the close toast god i've even in this world. >> guest: i wrote that and i thought it then and i think it now. i think that most people in america -- i think when i wrote this book and then at the period when his book came out, a lot of people thought, there is
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justice, and justice is not based on how much money you have or who represents you or how popular you are, but now when people look at it, they think, yay, if i don't have money, i'm not going to get a fair shake. if i don't have money and i'm black, i'm really not going gate fair shake. think that's -- it's just a truism that black people in america have known ever since we have been here because we came hear here as property, but as time has again on, many, many more people have begun to understand it. first they only understood in the appreciation of our music and culture, like me blues, certain elements of jazz and rhythm and blues, but as time has again on, it's entered into literature and into general knowledge. >> host: that's part of the motivation to write this book, is to talk but the justice system and did you choose the form of a mystery novel because of that as well?
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>> guest: i chose a form because i like mysteries and i read a lot of them and i liked raymond chandler and ross mcdonald, et cetera, and once i started writing about it, the justice system appeared. it's not like it was my goal to write it out and i think anybody reading my books would be able to make different decisions on things that have happened. you'll say, i think this is right or i think this is wrong. as a fix writer, i'm never trying to tell you what you should think. i'll tell you what easy rawlins things or raymond alexander thinks. i'll tell you what the police who is stopping him think but i'm not telling you what you should think iwand on youtube a book review of one of the easy rawlins books, and the woman guying the book review suggested to her audience, you really need to read the whole series. and could mr. mosley -- from
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beginning to end. otherwise if you pick up one book, you don't know how easy rawlins knows etta may or mouse or mama jo and she said could there be an index? could he have an index for how he nose these people. >> guest: sunny like you said it. it means that, like, somebody that says -- they see a book and want to read it. you say you have to read all 14 of them. oh, my god, i have to read 14 book? i barely have time to read one. that's one thing. another thing is each book -- you may not know the event that led up to easy's relationship to mouse, however, you do know how he knows mouse hour he feeled about him, how mouse feels about easy, you know that because i'm writing a novel, nat chapter. >> host: you continue on with devil in a blue dress and you obviously focused on easy
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rawlins in l.a. but your latest book, down the river, on to the sea, takes flays new york with a former black nypd investigator as your protagonist. what inspired you to write this story and this city where you are today in new york. well. >> guest: well, there was a political spark that started know write these -- this story. i'm thinking about black men specifically, eddie conway in baltimore, maryland, or -- the people -- the pan miami are -- man people are protesting but who was killed in san diego and new orleans. i'm thinking about all -- a response to oppression, and in a community that is usual usually
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not talked about. a guy walking down the street and this employs stop him, push him up against the wall and search him and question him closely and let him go and he walks two blocks and two more policemen stop him and as angry as this guy gets -- just walk down the street. he has to make sure that he never expresses that anger, because if he expresses the anger, then something bad is going to happen to him. i you add to that guy, he becomes a journalist or political activist, anybody who makes a movement, anybody who does that, they get a target on their back and on their front and on both sides. there's a target. and they're very likely to be hurt. so, what i wanted to do is create a detective who was a policeman and even though he was black, he was policeman and he is not going to feel sensitive about this man who killed two policemen and is on death row. not going to feel good but that.
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as he investigate the guys case and sees what happens, he proves to himself, beyond a shadow of a doubt, this guy probably killed them, but they were definitely trying to kill him it and was as far as he can tell, self-defense. and then what happens when you know that and what kind of decision does you make? that's what i wanted to do with this book. >> host: what inspired you -- you talk about mamu, remained our viewer -- >> guest: a political active just, journalist in philadelphia who the employs say got into a gun battle with them. he says he didn't. a policeman or two died and he was sentenced to death. now, you have to -- for me, like, if you kill somebody, then you should pay, with whatever the law has to say, that's what you have to do.
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but if there are seven waiting circumstance -- extenuating circumstances we have to see them. it's true of him but true for a lot of people here. anybody watching this thing in new orleans, when you see somebody on top of somebody, his knee holding him down and then shooting him you think, well, there's something wrong with this picture. a policeman should never be doing that. never. and if it does happen, then you have to wonder what everybody else is going to be think and can feeling and how they'll respond. and that's what the novel addresses. >> host: did you speak to mamua. >> guest: no. >> host: how due you then grab from the story or any story you try to incorporate into your write. >> guest: that story is our
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story am guy being interviewed, lift in public housing two different gangs but a policeman came and start bringing the childrenning to so the children of the gangs could at least play footballing to maybe slowly work stuff out. one of the guys was asked, he said, children were playing, what do you think about this? he says it's amazing to me the police are happening. eye. used to the police, they grab me, put me in handcuffs, beat me, throw me in jail. that's my relationship whiff -- with the police is that's what that guy said but this is a general emergency and not just among black people, among chicanos and all the different people and among poor white people in america, that the police become people who are trying to force you to fit inside an order that may not be conducive to your life and your lifestyle, and because of that,
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you have to write about it. so down the river, even though it's about these black characters, is about kind of like america, and understanding that america and goes back to the issue about how much money you have and who is protecting you and who is taking care of you and who feels you are an enemy. >> host: your next book is john woman, due out in september. what is it about? >> guest: it's a novel about a guy who is a historian but a historian in his soul. he starts when he was a kid, growing up, kills a guy. self-delvings but kill -- self defense but kills a guy, and completely recreates himself so who he was, doesn't have the same name, doesn't have the same birth certification, but he does become -- he becomes what he has
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done. he becomes a deconstructionist historian, and it's following him through this path of how he sees himself, how the see this world around him, how he teaches and he discovers things about himself. in one thing he discovers is he is a sociopath and that has helped him in america become successful, and one of the thing is believe, i believe that there's something wrong with you, if you're a sociopath of any sort, you're probably be more successful in america than if you weren't. oo how do. >> host: how do publishers respond to a book that is not easy rawlins. >> guest: -- all these books
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i've written and when i want to give him that book can, i say no. they -- i'll publish that book and then a mystery and then i went to have another book and they go, no, no, no, only mysteries from now on. so i go to another publisher. it's gone on forever. >> host: you have written a lot of books, as you said do the characters in your book reflect anymore your life? >> guest: hmm. that's a hard question to answer. obviously it must in some way. i don't write about myself. i don't write about people i know. don't write about my mother and father but i write about worlded that are experiences. so, in a way, -- but mostly no. >> host: who is raymond alexander and how did you come up with the idea of his character, also known as mouse? >> guest: mouse is interesting character for me.
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when i was a kid my father had a friend who was just as crazy as mouse, and he made his living doing a lot of thing but one was hijacking liquor trucks. he would get a whole bunch of cases of whiskey and bring a case to my father and say hold this for me for a week and i'll come by and pick it up. one night some people come over and say, i've get in whys ask here and the drink it and maybe another party would happen. so when he guy came back there would only be nine or ten bottled left. he said, how much you eye me, roy -- how much you ome, roy, and my father would pay. that guy was in a crap game in a barber shop and got in a fight and said you owe me a nickel. the guy said i paid everything. the said you owe me a nickel, you going to pay me right now. so he guy says, no, and he kills him, shot him in the barber shop.
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he was arrested and went to prison and spent the rest of his life there. i know what -- i was too young to remember this guy but i never knew him. don't remember him. i don't think about him but the story sparked mouse for me. mouse is very different character. but it comes from that story. >> host: the theme you tube review of your book, the woman asked if you would make a book about raymond alexander, maybe write a book or two about him. >> guest: you know, as. >> host: as the protagonist. >> guest: raiment aid pure sociopath. john is not a pure sociopath. he belongs inside the system for most of the things he does. and he just -- certain set of circumstances happen, he's going to go way outside the box. but only then. mouse lives outside the box.
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and if you're a sociopath living outside the becomes, it's not interesting because you'll know what he is going to do. i've never had a story pop up in my head about raymond all by himself. >> host: who is jackson blue, who is he based on? >> guest: he has a lot of my characteristics in him. him and paris mitten. they're very smart, really like the sedes den tear pursuits, readings, thinking, and jackson blue is brilliant, knows everything about computers before computers know them themselves. and -- so many things not written about black men but this guy is a genius. he can do anything. also really a coward. he is afraid of his own shadow
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and his shadow goes a great distance but he is completely frightened of it, and i like that also because not everybody has to be big and strong and courageous. he is small and scrawny and afraid of anything, and i also like that character. especially because he is also a genius. >> host: a computer genius. you were a computer programmer. >> guest: yes. not a computer genius but i was programmer and i liked kind of giving him that problem. >> host: i think in one book, easy rawlins says about jackson blue, only kept -- bookshelves in his home and only kept books he was going to read twice. do you have that same philosophy. >> guest: yeah. it's kind of a waste. you look at your bookshelf and 12 books on the top that you haven't looked at them for 12 years. and they're not doing anything
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on the shelf but you know that if you give them to a used book store or to a library or put them outside in a box, people will pick them up and read them and that's what books are for to be read. not just to sit there on shelf. >> host: why is that important? >> guest: reading. >> guest: well, i think that reading is important because it's the closest thing that we have to active thinking. i love music, i love film and movies and stuff like that but those things are much more passive as a rule. but when you're reading, you're actually creating the images that you're reading about, and the thoughts and the ideas and the systems of thought, and so when you're reading like that, your mind is getting exercise that it doesn't get doing anything else, other than working and learning -- and work from experience, or being educated by somebody close to
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you, like your parents or a boss who is concerned about you. >> host: was there a message that you're sending about education the importance of reading in your book? because easy rawlins realize needs to read more, and the says to his son who wants to drop out and he said you need to read to me every day and explain it in your words. jackson blue is a reader. >> guest: there's no competing with jackson. i if you read you won't be jackson blue. if you didn't start off like him, you won't end like him. it's an interesting thing to talk about and to support that the mind is a really important sphere, and that we have to pay attention to that mind and there are only certain ways to do it. and it's this -- so much talking about special especially black
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men in america, they're brutish, primal, sexual, but all these things i'm happy about, but also i like reading, the history of the world, the history of the world is interesting to me. i've always known in my life really intelligent black men who could read and discuss and play with ideas, with other people. that's really important. i think everybody should be writing about it, not just me. it's not the only thing i think and i don't -- someone says in order to be a writer you have to read. i'm not sure that's true. the greatest novelists in he lineage of the west is homer. he was blind and ill literal. -- illiterate but knew how to tell a story and telling a story
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is more important as a writer than reading other story that people write. that doesn't mean that reading isn't important. just means it may not make you a writer. >> host: what about you what read? you wrote in blind fought that they librarian and easy rawlins -- he comes into the librarian and she is reading catcher in the rye and she has a scowl on her face and he asked her do you like the snook she said, i do but i can't imagine some latino kid reading this book. how do they relate. >> it's true. >> host: he is whining but ohio -- about his life. he says. >> guest: i don't understand why anybody would kill himself with all this money, big house, and -- and that is a notion. but you know, i think that -- i don't have any limit on what you
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should read because what you like and what you don't like, who knows what it is. it's not defined by your gender or race or class. none of that. you might -- just love reading charles dickens or the idiot or -- okay, fine. but you should read what you love to read. and. i you open a book and you go, wow, this story draws me in, then read it. if it's a come pick book, fine -- comic book, final. if it's george eliot, fine. don't care. >> host: another character that is in through the series of easy rawlins is etta may. who is she? >> guest: etta may is that woman who has the strength and the weakness that black women have had to carry since they got dragged over here.
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children that they can't keep or control, men that okay -- they can't keep or troll. lives they have to holding to whether they are control what is around them or not. a strength that defines the world around them. this is not all black women, of course, but etta may is that ideal woman, and which is why both mouse and easy love her and why she loves both of them. the problem is that she loves mouse more, and she is more of a problem. -- he is more of a problem than easy would ever be but you can't help who you love. >> host: and mama jo. >> guest: she is the kind of mystical and spiritual moment that a lot of of us have and create because there's -- without it, we become less, because the society defines us as less, but if i believe i can reach a place that you can't
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understand, that gives me ground. it is like owning property. because i understand something about the world you couldn't possibly understand. and whether that's true or not doesn't matter. >> guest: after devil in a blue dress you wrote, a red death. the jacket says readerred will file easy deep into the political, legal and moral tar pits of los angeles in the early pie 5s when red baiting and blacklisting were -- what their political and legal tar pits of the time. >> guest: my mother was jewish, and born jewish, and her family had come here. around 1908, 1909, 1910. for it new york and then
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los angeles. these people were people who understood the plight of black people in america because they had almost the exact same experience in europe. lived in ghettos in europe. he war excluded from society in general, but a lot of them because of that were communists and they were part of the revolution, they were behind the revolution, the revolution didn't like them but they were a big part of creating it and one of the characters is a guy who is living in los angeles who decided to give secrets that america has to everybody. and because of that, he was being run down. it wasn't somebody who -- it was somebody who actually had done what he thought was right.
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the government thought it was wrong. it was against the law, and easy got very involved in what was happening with that guy and his daughter. >> host: so, what is red baiting? what is happening at this time in our country and in l.a.? >> guest: well, you know, that's the thing. if you were -- we hated the russians and the late '30s and then as soon as stalin realized that hitler didn't really like him, we made a deal with them and they became or allies and a lot of people supported russia and russia's really heroic battle against germany. but then as the '50s came, they -- those same people became a great target. so anybody who had been a socialist, who had belongs to a group, maybe had been friend with somebody who might have one day done it, were really oppressed by mccarthy and by almost everyone.
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and those people were the first, i think, so-called white americans who began to understand how you could be singled out, tortured, arrested, imprinted, kept from having jobs -- imprinted, kept from having jobs for something you believed in. >> host: how is this impacting african-americans. >> guest: less and less. fame now ones like paul rob son, i think harry belafonte had some problems. if you -- the house on unamerican activities wouldn't call in a janitor who had the communist manifesto in his pocket because they didn't get any political currency, so a lot of us were, uh-huh, right, you can say whatever you want because nobody was listening but if you had an important job, an important position, if you -- if
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what you said impacted many americans, had any kind of actual tyler or political impact -- cultural or political impact, your were treated poorly. most people, it went right over them. >> host: were race relations shifting this point? in the early '50s. >> guest: the think about america and shifting race relations, they're always shifting but they never, like, get solved. it's shifting, it's shift, shift, but still, you have people wandering around saying, i'm white, even though it doesn't make sense to say, you're white. in europe, there were no white people. there were britainons and ten different races there, the druids druids and the celts and goes on and on. the scots. and there's spanish and there's
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the greeks and the scandinavians. the scandinavians didn't think they were the same race as the greenings. -- greeks. they new they weren't. even the greeks and romans didn't think they were the same race but the dime america and wanted to kill the indians because they own the land, it was theirs and they need to get rid of. the, and they enslaved black people to build the land. so because they had so-called red people to slaughterer and so-called black people to do a lot of the worst kind of labor, they needed a race so they said, we're white. that is the only way it makes sense. even the -- if you have blue eyes or grown eyes or brown eyes or what kind of hair, what kind of body shape, people are different. they're different physically but so what? so i think that's for me is what
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is most important. but these so-called white people say, well, we're a race, we have a common history and a common language. of course, not true. these people over here are something else or something less, and that unconsciously stays with you, and that stays with life. and so it's like impossible to get better as long as you're saying, that's a black person and that's a white person. both of those things are not true. nicer no truly black people no truly white people. there's just various shades, as we relate to each other. so, to say that things are shifting or changing, yeah, things get better, people make laws, we get a president, but still, underneath it, there's a problem that can always, as was the case with the jews in europe, fall backward into
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choose iwant to invite our viewers to call in and join news this conversation. walter mosley or special guest here on her foe uns speedway central, 202-748-8200. mountain some pacific, 202-748-8201 as we make our way through most of the 50 books that mr. mosley has written, fiction, and also some nonfiction as well. so we'd love for you to join news this conversation on this sunday afternoon. i ask the question because -- but if race relationses shaping and easy writes he has seen more black men of authority, black cops. >> guest: i think that he is seeing it, but also at the same time he is recognizing what you have to give up in order to move into that level of authority.
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easy is a guy -- he does favors for people in his community. there's nobody telling him who you can do favors for or how you can do favors. he makes every decision with -- but what he is doing on a case-by-case level. that's it. and he can do what is right, and i think that he also recognizes that people have power, which he likes, they have to give up some of their choice. and that becomes the thing for him. it's the thing for me. why i say, well, yeah, things shift, but because we still believe in the basic untruth of it, they never get solved. >> host: the backdrop of the book is the church. >> guest: uh-huh. >> host: during this time what role -- even today issue guess -- what role does the church and the preacher flay
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black americans' lives? in the entire world, the more oppressed you are, the more religion takes up primary role in your life because you need an absolute form of organization to hope for a better time in this world or beyond it and you also need people who will organize around you, so everybody will eat, everybody will get food and this is a hopeful. doesn't always happen. so in the black community, we were so shoving to, so tightly so segregated, that the church was really one of the only ways to be organized. we didn't have political organization because you had no representation outside of the community. so the church becomes one of the strongest forms of us being able to take care of ourselves, and to find consolation. >> host: how did it influence
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your life? were your parents religious. >> guest: no. my parents -- it was so funny. day wanted to. one time we really discussed religion because we hoped it was true but decided it wasn't, but at the same time my parents both work for theboard of education in los angeles, and thy sent know a private baptist school, cost nine dollars a week to go there, which was a lot of money then, and they sent me to this baptist school but a is was all black kids and all black teachers and taught african-american history in the '50s and wanted -- they liked me. the best thing about -- the most important think for a child in education it is that you're loved. site funny because you think, dade the learn their mag market or english but first they felt part of something. the public schools in los angeles didn't so they sent know a private school. >> host: what impact on you? you think it impacted who you
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are today. >> guest: i'm sured did but i don't know how. >> host: in your career. >> guest: i'm sure it did but i don't know howment honestly. was never religious. i never believed in anything. we would read the bible verses and good over the toe the church now and then. i loved it. but -- and i don't know. the biggest impact is by your parents, and that happened, and then my childhood friend, i'm sure that was very important, but there's some things -- i always tell people that a novel is bigger than if you head and if you can thick about the perimeter of the entire novel, then it's not a novel, and i think that's true about life. there are many things that have impacted me and changed me and made me who i am and it's difficult for me to know what those things are. >> host: another aspect of the book, and it carries over
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throughout the easy rawlins series is alcoholickism and he is struggling with it and a lot of the characters struggle with addiction. you wrote in later books, liquor shines when the light hits it. reminiscent of a precious thing like jewels and gold. whiskey is a living thing capable of any emotion you are. and whiskey is solace that holds you tighter than most lovers can. >> guest: it's true. a lot of people will agree withthat. don't have to be black in america to think i need to self-medicate. i was really, like -- i drank so much -- when i was young, 16 to 21. so i almost died twice. and i quit for 40 years. started again but i quit for 40 years. and -- i thought, god, i don't want to die. i was like that. even writing their. i just like it but i knew it was such a danger because of what it
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can do is it can destroy you and it has the potential to destroy you. also has -- i think my father drank every day, and i'm absolutely sure that because he drank, there are people he didn't kill. i'm absolutely sure of that. >> host: why do you say that. >> guest: he was enraged am very proud man, very successful in anything. he could do almost anything and very social. people -- a good leader. but he was a black man in america in the 507s, '60s, '7 associations '40s, '30s, and all of that time he was treat ited as less, talked down to pushed aside, for people who weren't as good as he was. people who live like that, they're angry. a lot. >> host: and alcoholism -- maybe not alcoholism but alcohol -- >> guest: but to go see this goo
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who he knows is going to give him trouble and he has drink and the guy talks to and my mother laughs. if -- my father laughs. when he got home, just to blow off steam and i think that's true for so many people in america, for so many drugs and the issue is how we live our life. the way our lives are organized, -- not the way human beings should live. the whole idea of -- wake up every day at a certain time and go off to work and mymy kid goes somewhere far away to be educated and he work really hard. don't make quite enough money to assure a good life, but i make enough money to get from day to day to day. this is not the kind of way that people should live. >> host: how should they live. >> guest: i think you live in a society where you create enough that everybody has a little
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something, that the future is assured, that all the maintenance, protections are there. some people have more, some people will work harder, some people will build a second story on their house, but i think that the idea that we are -- tennessee earn dale earnhardt ernie -- tennessee earnie ford had that song, i owe my soul to the company store. you really -- you're just deeper in debt every day, you're a little deeper in debt. that's what he says also in the song, another day older and deeper in debt. and that is that's a problem that lot of people have. people drink alcohol, smoke dope, do opioids, it dulls the pain. >> host: why did you quit? >> guest: why did did i quit i drinking?
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it kept on almost doing. put my arm threw through a plate-glass window,. >> host: why did you start. >> guest: i knew i wasn't going to do it anymore so i could -- because i do like drinking. i don't want to be drinking every day and drinking myself into oblivion. >> host: you wrote in a nonfix book, twelve steps toward political revelation, about addition and relates to political oppression and consumerism. >> guest: i did. i think that -- that book, i'm trying to say, the system tells us these are the realities if you're alive. and this is how you should be. this is how you should be at work, how you should be in school in relationships, how you should be to your better, but i think there's whole other set of rules that we need to have and to satisfy.
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i haven't read that become in a while so i don't remember the steps but i do know that there's a system out there that doesn't really care about us in general, and we have to understand that and we have to control that system. >> host: what the system? >> guest: it ends up being people with the most power. it ends up being the people who pay the politicians, give them the money to be in a situation of control. like, i remember once i donated -- i think it was lot of money, like $10,000, something to senatorial candidate, and i -- somebody asked me to and i said, okay, i'll do it. so then i came -- he same person came do me and said, we're having lunch with the candidate. i said, who is we? he said ten people who gave the $10,000. and so they're going to have
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lunch and they're going to be able to talk to this person. and i thought, i went and we talked, and i realized, wow, what would i get if i gave 1 machine thousand decide or gave a million dollars in but my power should be no more than my vote. that is the ideal america mitchell power is my vote. your power is your vote. but if you have, like, $100,000, and if you're a corpora very rich person, that $100,000 doesn't mean anything. just give it. and -- but that person knows, when i need re-election, i have -- as long as the people who vote but i'm going to come back to the person who gave me the hundred thousand dollars. don't -- i'm not saying anything new here. this is the problem with america, where people confuse democracy with capitalism. two different systems, both fine, but they need to be separate.
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money shouldn't enter into my government. they should take money from me but they shouldn't -- in order -- like through tax but not me donating or helping or letting them use my airplane or whatever die or the job i give them after they get voted out. >> host: well, there's a lot more to go through with your books and a lot more topics to bring up as well but let's listen to what our viewers have to simple say. steve in richmond, virginia good, afternoon. >> caller: hi. good afternoon. >> guest: hello. >> caller: mr. mosley, i have been waiting for almost all of your novels to say el hello to you. i had this wonderful opportunity to listen to you on the care and talk to you is -- have you gave much effort to getting into other writing styles, whether somebody like the gentleman
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named turtle, who does alternate history, or things of that nature, ore even thing that are more into science fiction? >> guest: i've written -- >> caller: hear your comment off the air. >> guest: i've written 14 book of science fiction. i've wherein at least ten literary novels, probably 24 mysteries, five or six book of nonfiction. i'm working now with a fellow mystery writer named gary phillips, trying to develop a western series. see if anybody in holy wants -- hollywood wants to buy it. i've written in almost every genre that i want to write in. i haven't written a romance novel but i don't really want to. so, yeah, but i think if you look at the different books, there's a lot of science
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fiction. one is called "47", about a slave on a plantation in the 1840s who meets this alien and who forms a bond with this guy, called john, and how his life goes forward. >> host: we're going to talk about some of those scientific books and here are some of them for the viewer, always outnumbered, always outgunned. future land in 2001, and 2005, you said he published 47, the wave, also in 2005. and in 2009 you wrote the long fall, and in 2015, inside a silver box, and as we talk about, this is not science fix but your new book, down the river, unto the sea, published this year. >> guest: yep. >> host: let's hear from eugene
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what state are you in? >> caller: good afternoon. thank you rare me? >> host: we can, go ahead. >> caller: okay. yes, thank you very much. i got to tell you, mr. mosley, and greta, thank you. you know for so many years i've had some of your books and you have always been an inspirational person to me because i always wanted to write a book and we share the same last name so when i look at your books on the shelves, it was just inspiring so much, and then i got to say that although fictional, the truth is really coming out in what your putting out and saying through all of your novels. it's tight. and the most important thing that, like really inspired me, is when my father, who is a marine, received the congressional gold medal and gave me a base by which to write
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something which i felt was of great substance and i've been going at it ever expense have to tell you, feel like i'm moving towards the downstroke with the end notes and the bibliography. i just want to thank you for your issue operation all these years -- your inspiration all these years. >> guest: well, thank you very much. and also i'd like to say that maybe you don't need this now but a while ago, a lot of times people ask me -- you're not but people ask me, how die write a novel? and -- how do i write a novel in and out maybe an hour's worth of talking that could explain that but usually i don't have an thundershower explain it -- an thundershower explain it. i wrote a book, this year you write your northwesterly and that book is everything i know about writing novels and the think you say about truth and fiction, i think there's actually more truth in fiction than there is in nonfiction because in nonfiction, you keep editing things out.
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you talk about a real event but keep editing things out and people only talk about one side of the story who then plight be six or seven different sides if appreciate that. think it's a big challenge to write nonfiction but it's really hard. >> host: vicky in paris, california. >> caller: hi, hello. a pleasure to talk to you, mr. mosley. i love your books because it brings back my childhood of living and visiting my sister during the summer in l.a., in this early '60s, late '60s. have you thought about making a movie out of black buddy and getting a black director, spike lee, john singleton, something like that. >> guest: you know, i would love to make more movies about easy
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rawlins. it's not an easy thing to do. no pun intended. i tried. i keep trying, doing television shows or films, and i get to a certain point and then it doesn't work. i figured there's a nine-month window with "black panther" having been made of talking about a black male hero in film so i'll try again with easy. i won't start with black betty, but that would be good and ava would be great, by the by. >> host: how did devil in a blue dress get made into a movie? >> guest: a lot of people were interested. i met a woman who started in the business named donna gilatti. donna knew the right moves to make and at the same time, carl franklin was looking for me and we gotting to and the film got
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made it and was such a great film. all these greatact ors, don cheadle, jennifer behles, it was really a picket moment. just looking for another perfect moment. >> host: disyou -- did you have a role in making the movie. >> guest: i wrote and executive produced, always outnumbered, always outgunned which we did for hbo. but not when i -- i was an associate producer, carl franco called me up and said, what do you think about is? i learned to say, yes, carl, that sound good, because he was going do it anyway. >> host: the caller mentioned black betty, white butterfly, they -- at the center of these two becomes are black women. what is happening at this time with black women and their
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sexuality and has that changed? >> guest: you know, black sexuality is -- has always been a dominant moment in our lives and also been really, really hidden. i think that black women have often experienced the fact their sexuality has been taken from them in the general culture. you see harris -- blonde people, and you're going, what is that? and appreciating beauty is appreciating beauty based on some other culture some other place. which by the by most white women didn't fit either. but at least you could pretend. i think that black women have always had the weigh of the community on their shoulders. to talk about sexuality, children, they were responsible for children. they were responsible for a kind
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of life that the rest of -- that keep easy to rest of america in the '50s and '60s. and of course, in my work -- black women have a prominent role but i never say that i'm speaking for them. the great thing about literature in the 'ofs through the '8 associations black literature was dominated by black women, alex walker, tony morrison, at the mcmillan and many others. gloria nailer. and they really controlled literature for a long time. black men did in the '40s and '50s and then the black women took over and now we're trying to figure out how to share i. >> host: you write, in white butterfly, easy rawlins said i
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was on the war path for women and the men i knew are, too sunny don't remember what i was writing but. >> host: easy rawlins talks about not learning to respect women. >> guest: i think that is -- a big thing -- in the community, was there were armed camps between men and women, and men were angry at women because they -- women seemed to be asking them to do things in a way that was humiliating them, and women were angry at men because they didn't seem to stand up for what the women needed to keep home and hearing hearthing to but at the same time great love and understanding that you have a guy who is -- it's better if i'm not home because at least you'll get public assistance. i'm with you, i can't get a job,
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but you can't get public assistance, i leave and you can. in most of the conflicts, mose people don't hate each oomph it's groups of people that great angry and very -- people listen to them and note reality. >> host: what are you trying to say in these easy rawlins books about marriage? the black community. >> guest: i don't know. i don't have a comment. marriage is an interesting institution and has not really evolved with the rest of our cultures. before world war i, knowledge doubled every century, all the way back. worldworld war i, it doubled ant
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getting faster, knowledge doubles every ten months, i think. so this is why everything we do is almost obsolete before we get halfway into it now we're doing something else. the way we can work. i used to drive taxi and had a medallion but that doesn't work because uber-came uber came in and took over. robotics take over lane -- labor. i think marriage in america in general doesn't have the same place that it did a century ago. and so -- but it's hard to change that notion. it's hard to cheng it. it's hard for black people but it's hard for everybody i. wouldn't never say that i'm trying to comment on the institution of marriage because before i finish the sentence it will have changed. >> host: let's hear from james in philadelphia.
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good afternoon, james. >> caller: yes, good afternoon. mr. mosley, i want to -- i met you at temple university, i think around 2009, 2010, when you were on a panel, and you actually signed a book for me actually, futureland, and my comment is that i don't know if there's any other writer like you and the thing about your writing the ease you move how to genres. the first caller asked about you writing science fix but and i've read many of your science fix books. i've read the wave and been just enjoying you cross-town to oblivion series, which is short stories. particularly stepping stone in and the gift of fire. i love those two books. those two short stories. and the other thing -- comment
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i'd like to make texas easy rawlins books -- mouse to me -- i often wonder with mouse, because he has -- how would mouse deal with some other fictional characters. i'd like to see if mouse in -- maybe you can get together with astatines and see how mouse would deal with hawk, very interesting. i think hawk is a bad man but i think mouse would give him a run for his money. but i just want to say, i'm a great admirer of yours and i think you're -- in my mind, today, maybe the best fiction writer, writing today. >> guest: thank you so much. appreciate that. i'll keep that with me. i love to write in genres and create characters that have a strong place the world. hawk does certainly. but that is the thing that you want. and i want to write about heroes because i know that there's so
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many heroes coming out of our community, and those heroes need to be heard and they need be paid attention to. >> host: here is a facebook comment: i believe you once said that while you can't write a decent poem to save your life, you continue to write poems and read the poetry of others because it informs your fix -- fiction write snag i think understanding poetry is one of the basic requirements for writing fiction. that poetry does everything. it does metaphor, it does condensation, music, you choosing the right word that says the thing you mean. it brings things together in a form that is abstract but feels real. poetry is the most important thing that we writers need to
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know and understand. >> host: why? >> guest: it's the original -- like the original language. if there was one language for everybody that started in the beginning, it would be poetry, because that's the way we understand the world and the way we express the world. we see material but we're thinking something that is beyond that material. then we bring those two thingsing to. the pedestrian and. >> host: another facebook comment: i have a question that it would like you to ask. were you encouraged to write a nonfix book by your publisher, a friend or was it your idea? >> guest: almost everything is my idea. the only thing i get encouraged to write is another easy rawlins novel. after that nobodien courages me to do anything. >> host: were you born with easy rawlins. >> guest: no. but i can't only rite write easy
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rawlins. >> host: tell our viewers bass black betty. >> guest: a book about a woman who was living a really hard life and was really hard set in that life. beset in that life. and i was thinking from the begin i was going to write a story about a woman whose life was harder and harder and more difficult and then she would die at the end. it and would be kind of a tragedy. but ill -- i realized that somebody who loves so much and and so connected to her world, death would be a relief, and that her survival is more tragic than her death and that was the whole purpose of me writing that book. one of the most successful easy rawlins' novel. i'm liking the new ones.
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charcoal joe. >> host: why? >> guest: well, you got to more of on insight into mouse. easy, rather than work with mouse to do something, work with fearless jones from another series, and it was just so -- it was really -- you really began to understand what it would be like if you had an extraordinarily successful black man, whether he's a criminal or not. most extraordinarily successful people have some crimes in their closet and you see how hard his life is, and easy being involved with this guy, you also see how powerful easy is. easy find out how powerful he is, which he never really knew. >> host: explain that evolution. >> guest: well, at one point, he is talking to charcoal joe, and
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he is saying, have you always been trying to lie to me to mistreat me, to try to get me killed? and joseph says, no, i would never mess with you. you me most dangerous man in licensees says, what are you talking about? he said i'm talking about your friends, christmas black, red bird, mouse, these are the most dangerous many now i know of. they're dangerous men and they're all behind you. easy socialability in his world gives him power which is an interesting thing. some people wield great power but they -- the aren't successful in their capitalistic endeavor. >> host: you write at the beginning of black betty, on the first page, writing is -- it's 1961.
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the world was changing and the black man in america was able to be a man the first anytime a hundred years. ... you could, you could study for a ph. at harvard if you were black, but they would never give you a ph.d.. there was always, you know, something being held back, something being held away. and in the '60s, the opportunity was there. i think that the problem is, is that it was still harder to achieve your goals. and your goals had to be smaller, you know? and you had to, you know, act in a certain way. it's like madam coury. they -- curie. they asked her to give back one of her nobel prizes because, you
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know, she was having an affair. why should i give it back? all you guys have affairs. i'm keeping minow bell prize. -- my nobel prize. but there was an expectation on her that still hold people down and back, you know? because even the fact of just saying it means it's something different, right? >> host: clarence in davis, california, you're next. >> caller: walter, it's clarence major, how are you? >> guest: oh, hi, clarence, how you doing? what's going on? >> caller: thanks for the good word about poetry, and congratulations on your new novel. [laughter] i wanted to ask you if you could talk a little bit about your writing habits, you know, maybe do you write in the morning or in the afternoon or, you know, at night? or, you know, what are your writing habits? >> guest: okay. i can do that. thanks a lot, clarence. nice to talk to you.
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i write -- i see drugs, like when i -- i see creation, like when i say the creation in your head is your conscious mind. i think creation comes from a practice not unlike psychoanalysis. i mean to say you spend every day, me every day two to three hours writing. that writing is, you know, like free association. things are coming up, i'm writing them, i'm writing. i'm putting them in order in the story, but i'm writing them. and then the next morning i write and and the next morning i write. that 22, 21 hours in between those times of writing, all of this stuff is happening in parts of my head that i have no awareness of. but when i get up that next day, there are new things there. new things have come to the surface and i say, oh, okay, i'll write this and i'll write this and i'll write that. and i've written almost every day for the last 28 years.
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every once in a while if i'm sick or if i have to get up at 3:00 and get on an airplane, i don't do it. every other time i wake up in the morning, i write for probably three hours, sometimes only two. but it's just every day, every day, every day. and i find that every day that i write is a day that i get deeper into my understanding of that larger story that i'm trying to tell. >> host: when you're not writing, how are you collecting your thoughts, your stories? >> guest: i just, i don't worry about them. when i'm not writing, it's happening in the back of my head. like -- and it's hard to explain. so everybody i talk to about it i say, look, just give it 100 days. start writing today and every day from now for the next 100 days write for just an hour, maybe an hour and a half every day, just write. and you will see that the way that you think and the way that you're organizing and the way that plots come together get better and better and better. and it happens over the years too. >> host: you write in your books
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when you're describing different characters, you describe their personal features and how that reflects their personality. do you study people? >> guest: not on purpose. i don't like -- it's not like you're making those -- you see, the idea -- and really it's not an argument, but it's an argument i'm making. to say, well, to you people is kind of a thing about consciousness. are you consciously -- so it's like you already have the structure you need, you just need to fill in, you know, the data, you know? oh, 5-11 or 7-2 or 3-1 or a red or a blue or a pink or a sky or the smallness or the floor. but it's not that. it's that you see all these things and you experience all these things as they're kind of floating around in your head. and you write for, let's say,
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three hours, and the stuff that you've written kind of reaches out to these things that are in your head that you haven't really thought about. you might have noticed them, but you didn't study them, you just noticed. and, you know, what whiskey looks like when light's shining through it. it's not something i studied, oh, i can translate that into this. it translated in the back of my mind, and then when i start writing, it came out. >> host: tom in culpepper, virginia. >> caller: hello, mr. mosley. me and my family are great fans of yours. i wanted to ask a question. i heard that you were thinking about doing a series. do you think you can see denzel washington and -- [inaudible] continuing the series of violence? >> guest: no. that's such a good question because i can see it, and so i
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did ask them, and they said, no. so it's not happening. >> host: why? what was the reason? >> guest: they just said no. [laughter] you know? >> host: you can see it. why can you see it? >> guest: well, because really right now they've aged the right amount. so if i did, for instance, charcoal joe, mouse and easy would be the same age that denzel and donald would be. so i would love that. but they have their own careers, they're doing over things. you know, denzel's been doing all of these plays and doing some very interesting movies. i really like his most recent film. and don is the same thick, you know, produce -- same thing, producing, acting, moving further out into the world. so, you know, that's something they did, and they did it, now they're moving on. i don't have, i don't hold anything against them for doing it, and, you know, i think i might go back to the beginning
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for easy anyway to try to make a film right now start again from the beginning with devil in a blue dress and build from there. so i'll need, you know, younger actors. >> host: so this vision, what are you describing here? one movie that covers the series? >> guest: oh, no. one movie that will just be devil. and, you know, it's almost 30 years ago now. it was 25 years ago, and, you know, so we could do a remake of it by this point. and i think that that would be a good thing, you know? so that's what i'm thinking right now. we'll see if i can make my thoughts into reality. >> host: let's hear from audrey who's in richmond, virginia. >> caller: hello? >> host: hi, audrey, you're on the air. >> guest: you're on the air. [laughter] >> caller: hello. mr. mosley -- >> guest: hi. >> caller: -- first, i'd like to say, like everyone else has said, i'm a great fan. and i'm particularly happy about your are comments you made earlier about readers and how
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important reading is, because i think i may have in common with you a great love of just reading stories. i'm not a writer at all. my question for you though about your stories is about a character of yours called leonid mcgill. and i was just wondering what made you write him and how he involved. he seemed -- he evolved. he seems sort of a distillation of some of the other characters. how did he come about? >> guest: well, you know, actually a guy, a publisher of mystery works and the owner of a bookstore, otto pensler, he came to me and said i'm doing a collection of short stories. this one's about dangerous women. and i said, okay. and i started writing this story. i had the title first called karma, and it was about a young woman who was trying to get revenge against an older private detective who had framed her father for something, and he got
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killed. you don't know that at first, but she's trying to frame the father -- frame leonid mcgill, what he becomes, for something he'd done to her father 20 years before. and she almost succeeds in destroying him, but she doesn't. she dies because parking lot of the thing is -- part of the thing is she kills herself, and she's going to blame leonid for her death. but it doesn't happen. and leonid realizes that his whole life he's been doing the wrong thing and that he now has to turn his life around and start to do the right thing. the interesting thing about leonid, he's a current, he's today. so he doesn't run into the same kind of troubles that easy rollins or fearless jones will run into. and so it's, it's a different view because the relationships of black people to the world is very different than it was, you know, in the '30s and the '40s, '50s and '60s.
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and i really enjoy writing about current stories. i'm writing, actually, i'm writing a short story, if you call "the heart of darkness" a short story -- also for otto, because he wants to publish one of mine. and it's also going to be about leonid. >> host: wayne in texas city. [inaudible] can you hear me? >> guest: yep. >> caller: oh, okay. you are a new discovery for me. i'm really enjoying watching you -- [inaudible] i'm probably -- [inaudible] >> guest: i'm not sure. >> caller: oh -- [inaudible] benjamin was a jewish plantation owner at bell chase plan talkings in new orleans, and he was a member of -- plantation in
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norse, and he was a member of -- [inaudible] secretary of war, secretary of state and attorney general of the confederacy under -- >> guest: sorry. like, i do know him, but i guess i lost the name. all right, yeah, go on. [inaudible] anyway, you're probably also familiar with salacious -- [inaudible] >> guest: you know, i'm -- me and names is a very troubled thing, you know? i didn't know i knew about benjamin until i went back to my studying of the civil war. so maybe i am, but why don't you tell me. >> caller: okay. it's a black jew from ethiopia. they were moved to the -- >> guest: oh, yeah, sure. okay. yeah, yeah, yeah. >> caller: okay. so here you've got a black plantation owner outside new orleans as a member of the
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confederate cabinet, and he goes to an auction in new orleans and buys a black slave, unknown to him. and the -- [inaudible] from ethiopia. so now you've got a black jewish plantation owner, unknown to him he owns a black jewish slave -- [inaudible] escape from slavery. anyway, just an idea i wanted to share with you. >> guest: i like that. i like that story. >> host: how much research do you do for your books in history and papers, the newspapers, etc. >> guest: i'll tell you a story about the first time i was asked that question and how sad it made me. [laughter] i was making devil in a blue dress, and jennifer beals called me and said i want to have dinner with you, i want to ask you some questions. and, you know, i love jennifer
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beals. and she asked me that same question, how much research, you know, do you do, and how do you do the research, because i want to research my character. and i really tried to figure out how i could lie, but in the end, i couldn't. i just said i don't research, you know? when i finish writing a book, i'll go through it to make sure the things aren't wrong, like in 47 i wanted to make sure that the cotton gin already existed when i'm writing the story, and it did. but as a rule, you know, function is more -- fiction is more today about character than it is about things. you know? i'm not trying to educate people about things, i'm trying to talk about how people emotionally deal in that cultural and technological world they find themselves. >> host: yeah. and i want to read part of six easy pieces before you respond, maybe explain sort of the premise of six easy pieces. there's still oppression. this is now the early '60s in
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l.a., etta may, one of the female characters, responds to easy's comment that perhaps a young, talented black musician could make it just like louie armstrong did. and she responds, for every one of armstrong, you've got a string of black boys' graves going around the block. you know how the streets eat up our men, especially if they've got dreams. >> guest: yeah. but that's true. i mean, this is true for everybody, if you're born in poverty, everything militates against you succeeding. and if you accept that militant attitude toward your advance, then you'll survive. but if you have dreams that aim beyond that, so much more will be against you than it is against, you know -- there's already a lot against people having dreams, but it's so much
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more that a lot of people die from it. you know, and in all kinds of ways, i mean, even people who are, like, at the pinnacle of success. fats waller was on tour going around the country on a train. he had a diabetic attack, and the hospital wouldn't take him, so he died. he was 39 years old, you know? this is, you know, you get killed, you know, by all kinds of things. sometimes somebody shoots you, burns you, lynch you, sometimes they just close the door in your face. >> host: what's the emotion that you're getting at? you're just talking about -- you write about emotions. >> guest: yeah. well, the emotion is the -- i think it could be a lot of different things, but for me it's the heroism of the character, the person who's going to, tries to get beyond where he is or where she is to make it to a better place for themselves which is going to help a whole bunch of other people. and it's going to help them no matter what, whether they succeed or don't succeed, the fact in trying gets them there.
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>> host: let's take robert who's in philadelphia. robert, go ahead. >> caller: hello, mr. mosley. >> guest: hello. >> caller: hello. i have been an admirer of yours for a number of years. i am a struggling fiction writer, and as a retired social worker, i find fiction an incredible release especially since i had to immerse myself into -- intimately -- into the struggles of other people for a number of years. and i see that very much in your work. but as a writer, i fine that reading is as much important if not more important than writing. so i was wondering what you read and what authors have been most influential to you. >> guest: well, you know, it's such a -- that's always such an
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interesting question, you know? i always start off by saying that, you know, if you have this young black woman who says, you know, who do you read. first, she says, well, phyllis wheatley because people usually don't know who she is, then they say zora neale hurston because they do know, then she says alice walker, maya angelou,ny morrison -- tony morrison, but the reason they tell you all those writers is because they want you to think of their work in relation to this great work over here. but, you know, the truth is that woman, when she was a child, it was nancy drew that most influenced her. because when you're a child, reading is an amazing thing. it's real in your brain. you're completely transported into the world of fiction. it's, there are no more words being printed, they're actually images and things happening. that same girl reading "beloved," you know, would
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either kill herself or her mother because "beloved" is a tough story for a child. so the same thing's true for me. i think it started off reading comic books, and then later on it was reading people like donald goens and langston hughes, old books like robert louis stevenson. so it's not so much the writers or, you know, anything real that they were telling me, it was me enjoying the adventure of the book. and then when i grew older, i loved the idea of telling the same kind of stories that, you know, in different ways that so much transported me. so i think that that's the way that i would say that reading has at least impacted if not influenced how i write. >> host: well, we're going to pick up on that point here in a little bit, but we're about a little over the halfway mark here in our conversation on this sunday afternoon, so we're going
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to take a short break. so hang on the line if you've dialed in, keep dialing in with your questions or comments for walter mosley. we're going to take a short break. when we come back, we'll come back to your conversations, and want to show you -- as we go to this break -- the trailer from "devil in a blue dress," 1995, directed by carl franklin. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪ >> hi, easy. >> l.a. was a world of sunshine at his shadows. >> hey there, how you doing, baby? >> black and white. >> we got no work here. >> sorry, fella. >> my name's not fella, my name is ezekiel rollins. >> kind of what you do. >> i'm looking for somebody. >> she been gone two weeks. see, that man has a predilection for the company of negroes.
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>> he thought he knew how to play the game. >> any of y'all seen a white girl by the name of dahlia, something like that? >> my name is daphne. you can't get none of that tonight. >> until he stepped into a world -- >> why don't you tell me about your friend. >> -- where there are no rules. >> why you arresting me? >> what is going on? >> she's not going to be waking up, ezekiel. >> he's looking for a woman no one wants found. >> was there anyone with you, a young lady named daphne monet, perhaps? >> the chief of police, close personal frend of mine. -- friend of mine. >> and getting in deeper than he ever expected. >> this is daphne monet. you're looking for me. i don't know if i should think of you as a friend or as a private dick. >> surrounded by lies. >> you can trust me, mr. rollins. i am an ex-mayor and, luckily for you, a friend of the negro.
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>> and seduced by a killer. >> easy rollins is searching. >> not very smart talking about the business. >> too much going on for me to give a damn about what you think is smart. >> to be true. >> don't lie to me! start my car, keep it hot, i'm coming out. >> get her. >> no! >> we going to the police. >> yeah, why don't you scream, huh? >> no! >> from the academy award-winning producers of philadelphia and the silence of the lambs, academy award winner denzel washington, "devil in a blue dress." a carl franklin film. >> a look now at some of the books being published this week. south carolina republican senator tim scott and congressman trey gowdy detail their friendship and time in congress in "unified." in "eunice," eileen mcnamara discusses the life of eunice
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kennedy shriver. the trump white house shares ronald kessler's interviews with president trump and members of his administration. timothy snyder reports on the rise of authoritarianism around the world in "the road to unfreedom." and in the neuroscientist who lost her mind, barbara lipska recalls her experiences surviving brain cancer. also being published this week, hunting "el chapo" chronicles dea special agent andrew ohio began's eight-year hunt -- hogan's eight year hunt to count the mexican drug kingpin. "to the promised land." and in "insane," alicia roth recounts mental illness. and how technology is displacing jobs in "the war on normal people." look for these titles in bookstores this coming week and watch for many of the authors in the near future on booktv on
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c-span2. >> i'm going to read to you from "all quiet on the western front" by eric maria -- [inaudible] i'm doing this because this is the book that, or when i was asked to find something to read, this is the book that had the mood that i feel not only about us here in new york, but people all over the world for all kinds of reasons. i hope it comes clear from the small passage. gradually, a few of us are allowed to get up. and i am given crutches to hobble around on, but i don't make much use of them. i can't bear albert's gaze as i move about the room, his eyes always follow me with such a strange look. so i sometimes escape to the corridor. there i can move about more freely. on the next floor below are the abdominal and spine cases, head wounds and double amputations. on the right side of the wing are the jaw wounds, wounds in
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the joints, wounds in the kidneys, wounds in the testicles, wounds in the intestines. here a man realizes for the first time in how many places a man can get hit. two fellows die of tetanus. their skin turns pale, their limbs stiffen. at last only their eyes live stubbornly. many of the wounded have their shattered limbs hanging free in the air from a gallows. underneath the wound a basin is placed into which drips the pus. every two or three hours the vessel is emptied. other men lie with heavy weights. i see intestine wounds. the surgeon's clerk shows me x-ray photographs of completely smashed hipbones, knees and shoulders. a man cannot realize that above such shattered bodies there are still human faces in which life goes its daily round, and this is only one hospital, one single station. there are hundreds of thousands in germany, hundreds of thousands in france, hundreds of thousands in russia. how senseless is everything that
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can ever be written, done or thought when such things are possible. it must all be lies and of no account when the culture of a thousand years could not prevent the stream of blood being bored out, these torture chambers in their hundreds of thousands. a hospital alone shows what war is. i'm a young man, 20 years old, yet i know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, infatwows superficiality. i see how people's are set against one another and in silence unknowingly, foolishly, obediently slave one another. i see that the keenest brains of the world invent weapons and words to make it get more refined and enduring. and all men of my age here and over there throughout the whole world see these things, all my generation is experiencing these things with me. what would our fathers do if suddenly we stood up and came before them and profferedded our bill? what do they expect of us if a
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time ever comes when the war is over? through the years our business has been killing. it was our first calling in life. our knowledge of life is limited to death. what will happen afterwards? and what shall come out of us. [applause] >> host: and we are back with walter mosley for our special "in depth" fiction edition, talking to him about his writings. nearly 50 books that he has done with function. a reminder to all of you that you can join in on the conversation. eastern, central part of the country, if you live there, 202-748-8200. mountain/pacific, 202-748-8201. we will get back to more of those phone calls. we were just listening to, the viewers were just listening to you reading from "all quiet on the western front." that's one of your favorite books, i understand.
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>> guest: that's a great novel, and it's a novel in which you understand war from the pedestrian point of view, the foot soldier's point of view. it's a gorgeous novel. there's a place in the middle where he's been in a terrible war, there's been gas, people are getting killed, all this death. and then he goes home for, like, a furlough for, like, five days or six days and how crazy that is. and he comes back out again. but also one of the main characters of the novel is a guy who, you know, everybody else is dying, starving, influenza. he goes out, and he comes back with, you know, an arm full of cheese and another arm full of wine and two or three women, you know? like, that's his experience. and really a lot that influences my understanding. >> host: some of the other favorite books that you told us before we sat down today, "the fire next time." "their eyes were watching god," zora neale hurston.
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and -- >> guest: breath eyes memory. why those books? >> guest: they're all really beautiful. she has such an incredible, lyrical voice. zora neale hurston was writing at a time where women had no end of difficulty, you know, coming out, being important. i mean, in america in pwomen were considered kind of second class. and black america was even worse. but, you know, she's a beautiful writer. and james baldwin, i mean, his understanding of the passion that underlies the politics, you know, not only of being black, but being black and gay in america, it's just gorgeous. just a gorgeous writer. >> host: some others, "the simple stories" -- >> guest: langston hughes, yeah. >> host: lord of light and four quartets. why those? >> guest: t.s. eliot, he's not my favorite guy politically, but his writing especially in "the
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four quartets" is just gorgeous. he's a poet, and the poetry is absolutely beautiful. "lord of light," i mentioned, you know, when you asked me because it's a speculative fiction novel. it's not really fantasy or science fiction, but speculative fiction. and he's a great writer. just word after word after word you just, he just pulls you right in in a way that i think is just amazing. >> host: and your favorite sci-fi books, "the city and the stars"? >> guest: hothouse. i mean, really, he understood things about plants when he wrote that book, putting it like a billion years in the future. but he understood things about planets that people didn't really start getting to until decades after he wrote the book about the life of plants, it's just amazing; how they think,
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how they move, how they respond, you know? because we just thought, well, plants are plants. they just grow, they're kind of like a fungus. but, no, they actually have an interesting and different kind of intelligence. >> host: did those books inspire your science fiction writing? >> guest: every science fiction book i ever read influenced it starting with danny dunn until i was, like, 10. >> host: why did you -- how and why did you decide you wanted to write science fiction? >> guest: well, you know, it's interesting. science fiction is so important. you look at minute like jules verne, he defined the following century with his inventions in his novels that later became real, you know, the submarine, rockets to the moon, all kinds of stuff. you know? and when i would look at things like, for instance, "star wars," the original, '77, like, there are no black people in "star
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wars." i don't think there are any people who don't have blue eyes in "star wars." it's like, you know, like a racist dream. [laughter] there's only going to be one kind of people. and so i think it's very important if i'm going to imagine myself, i have to imagine myself in the future. and i have to imagine other people in the future. is so i get that. i mean, gene rodden berry knew it with "star trek," but the idea of creating a future that reflects the political, social and technological advance that i see following me in that direction. >> host: and, again, let's go through some of those science fiction books that you've written. "always outnumbered" -- >> guest: no, that's not science fiction. >> host: future land, excuse me. what is your favorite science fiction book that you've written? >> guest: that i've written? you know, i think it's probably the most recent which was
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"inside the silver box," in which i was able to imagine the entire universe that was subsumed inside of one great machine that had a moral response to its creators that was, they were wrong. and so the machine withdraws and comes to earth. and so, you know, you have these two characters, a black man and a white woman, who kind of unite with this machine to try to protect the universe from this, these aliens that the machine hates. m it was so much fun, you know, to write that and to, you know, to imbue people who seem to be kind of, you know, maybe hopeless or powerless, but to give them more power than anybody else could imagine. >> host: almost all of the science fiction books feature sort of this unifying consciousness. the blue light, god mind, the second fire, the universal mind,
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the co-mind, the wave. where does this come from? >> guest: i don't know, actually. i like writing about that stuff. i wonder if other people know, you know? because it's not an idea, you know, that i have, it's understanding -- you know, another thing that i do in books is that, you know, most -- a lot of the science fiction like in movies and stuff in america there's an invasive, alien force. it could be anything from a werewolf to invaders from mars, but they're the evil ones. they're coming, and they're trying to take over innocent humanity. i usually flip that on its head, that humanity is really the dangerous thing, and it's trying to wipe out these incredibly beautiful alien minds that don't really understand why humans hate them, you know? i like, i like doing that more. >> host: you touched on this a little bit, but most of -- many
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of the books pose the questions are humans unique and valuable or insignificant in the face of the larger universe. >> guest: yeah. and it's usually all of that. that the universe houses forms and bodies and intelligences that humans, we just don't get it. we don't understand. we think, you know, we think still, like children do, that everything surrounds us, that everything, you know, circles around us. either it's better than us or it's less than us or it hates us. and really it's nothing like that. it's that if we can accept more, larger, deeper, different, then we can go to those places. >> host: then we evolve? >> guest: change, at any rate. >> host: and what does that evolution look like then? >> guest: well, you know, it depends, you know, it depends on
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what's real and what's not. do -- usually, often in my books one person decides that they want to help the alien exodus. let's say there's an exodus to earth. they want to help that exodus. and that one person making that one decision might actually save the potential for humanity in the future. and, you know, listen, when i say it, i think, wow, there's a political message there, but i was never thinking it when i was writing it. >> host: the books often end with a cataclysm that has destroyed or is set to destroy most of humanity, merge, future lands, steppingstone. is merge and future land the survivors -- and in merge and future land the survivors are predominantly non-white. what are you writing here? what are you talking about? >> guest: there's one thing, i
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know in future land at the end of the book, i hope -- you can still buy the book, it's a good book, but at the end of the book this one group of people create a virus that's supposed to kill all people of color. like, it has, you know, different aspects. so only, quote, white people survive. but one of my heroes -- there are many heroes in the book -- one of the heroes alters the virus just slightly, and what happens is it kills everybody who's not at least one-eighth black. and, but it turns out that there's all these white people, so-called white people, who survive because a lot of them are one-eighth black, they just don't know it. that was kind of fun to saw, oh, so -- to say, oh, me surviving means that i have to recognize i'm part of the people i was trying to kill. >> host: let's go back to calls. elaine's been waiting in florida.
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elaine, welcome to the conversation. >> caller: oh, thank you, greta, for facilitating this most-appreciated and outstanding program. and thank you especially, mr. mosley, for sharing your art, humor and be expertise -- and expertise on this most uplifting easter sunday program. your words are truly a godsend. i really enjoyed -- >> guest: well, thank you. >> caller: you're welcome. i'd like to flip the switch a little bit to my most recent read, "down the river unto the sea." i found that doing -- i found that very enlightening. i love the way you weave the character's name into the story, billy makepeace. i found that so humorous. called up pictures of an elegant
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elder that eluded wisdom. i love the way you stimulate my vocabulary. i could go on and on about -- [laughter] that book. but i wanted to ask about this quote, because it was deep. and the main character, the fallen police officer -- i forgot his name. it was, i was on a long list of the library for the book, and i forgot to -- >> guest: you mean joe king oliver? >> caller: oh, oliver, yeah, king, king oliver. >> guest: yeah, yeah, yeah. >> caller: he said i like the rules. following them proves to me that i'm a civilized man. and, boy, did that get me thinking. i live in the inner city of st. louis. you been here, i've seen you.
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>> guest: uh-huh. >> caller: and i follow the rules too. that was such a powerful statement. it wrapped up everything to me. what were you trying -- i hope i'm on the right track. were you trying that in order for us to live and to be proud of this colored experience we have to embrace those rules and stand for those rules, but we must hold those rules accountable? am i on the right track? >> guest: no, i think you're absolutely on the right track. one of the things is, is that he's following the rules, and he's following the rules of, you know, for the police department, you know? and for order in new york, but he's -- he slowly discovers that not all the police are following the rules, that he finds himself
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alone and that in following the rules, he's going to be breaking the rules. that if he follows the rules -- which he's always done, he's always going to be breaking another set of unspoken rules. >> host: jennifer in oak larntiond california, you're next. oakland, california, you're next. >> guest: hi, greta and mr. mosley. i love c-span. i watch it especially on the "in depth." and today my question is kind of a trivial question, but i love that lapel pin. i'm just wondering if it has any significance, and i love your work, okay? [laughter] >> guest: well, that's fine. listen, my pin is part of my work, it's just, you know, another part of it. [laughter] >> caller: okay. >> guest: it doesn't have significance other than the fact that i love -- i saw it, like, actually it was in an airport. and i saw it, and i went, wow, i love that pin. i never see people wearing
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pinnings. i'm going to buy this and i did. and, you know, it's this dalmation. i think it's great. i don't own a dalmation, i'm not thinking about dalmations, but i do love the pin, and thank you. >> caller: thank you for all -- >> host: and your ring. >> guest: and my -- thank you. my ring is another thing. it's ashanti from ghana. 200 years old. a king's ring and very small among king's rings. i saw it and id said you've got to get me, right? a collector of african antiquities had it in the puck building in new york. >> host: let's go to teresa in fairburn, georgia. >> caller: hello. thank you so much for accepting my call. i first want to say to mr. mosley that i love you. i had to say it. [laughter] and there it is. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: i also love your writing.
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when i'm reading your books, i always feel like i'm right there with the characters. and i love that about your books. the question that i have is could you or would you offer suggestions or advice for developing dialogue? for characters? >> guest: sure. i have that. i mean, you should probably look at my book, "this year you write your novel," because i talk about that, and i'll say some things that i'll say now. one of the things that i find about writing, writing in general and writing dialogue specifically is when we write, that's one experience. it's one way that we do things. we write, and it's just, you know, we put the words down. those words aren't necessarily reflective of our oral experience. but, so when i've finished writing a section of a novel or even the whole novel, at some point i sit down and i read the
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whole thing into a tape recorder. i just read everything. and when you read dialogue out loud, you go, oh, wow, nobody would really talk like this. or that's great. or i need to flip that around or make it shorter. a lot of the critique that you can make of the writing you can do by yourself just by reading it out loud. >> host: anita, oak grove. anita, what state are you in? >> guest: i'm in missouri. >> host: go ahead, anita. >> caller: hello, mr. mosley. i can't tell you how important this is for me to be speaking to you. i'm almost nervous. but thank you so much for the spins you bring, first of all. that's the coolest thing. [laughter] my dad had that, and i remember him specifically saying this is my stingy brim, i always remember that. [laughter] so i see you, but i wanted to say that as a black woman who's
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been writing all my life for some reason or another, i can't -- and i see that you're going to put out this book for writing, but everyone's saying you need to get an agent if you're going to be published, you need to self-publish. how do you get that down on the paper and get it to someone? how does that happen, you know? i know that every time i write something on facebook or to my friends they say you need to write a book, you need to write a book. well, i've felt this since i was 10 years old. so now i'm kind of, like, looking at how do i switch this up? because i don't see that many black women writers anymore. i see a few. i see a few. and then as a boomer, you know, people are beginning to think that the life that we had in the '70s and '80s and '90s are now insignificant, they want to move on. and that's what i know, so that's what i write about. ..
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a lot of different ways to go about it. you can look up self-publication, i think the aalbc, aalbc, one organization at that time helps with self-publishing. another thing is if you read a book and you like that book and you think that your writing is somewhat like what that book was, you can call the publisher, get to the editor, and who represents that writer, what agent represents them and call that agent. and tell the agent, i i think i've written something that is like this other book you have represented and how can i get it
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to you? they'll usually say, give us a chapter and i've taken courses in writing classes and you meet other theme who are trying to do the same thing, and the teaches often have that kind of information. might not need the class put you do need to meet those people. so there are a variety of ways to do this. >> host: what about writing conferences? ronald rushing on facebook says he met you and you were -- i met walter mosley, and what featured in a nice photo with him. it was wonderful. tony morrison was there and i had the pleasure of meeting the great gwendolyn brooks and other famous writer. >> guest: the cop friends are good. you go to -- conferences are good. you go to different panels and meet people and pick up things you might not even know you're
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learning at that time. there's a great writers happening, not -- actually across the street from where we are at thrillerfest next to grand central station, where they teach you how to pitch to agents, have agents there to talk. to it's every summer, called thrillerfest, one word, thrillerfest, really good thing to do to and they share a another of information use we covered the black writers conference in march and that is airing next weekend on booktv at 1:30 p.m. eastern time on saturday. willy next is in waco, texas. hi, willy. >> caller: good afternoon. >> guest: hello. >> caller: mr. mosley, happy easter to you and the young
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commentator that's working with you. i watched booktv often on weekends. never have called in to c-span before out of years and yore of watching, but today as i was watching c-span and your program come up, i was fascinated and run to my phone and i was determined to talk to you. my question to you is, again, happy to -- for beg of you and i feel so blessed today and the day that is the day to god rose from the grave, but my question is, what do you do for recreational things, like fishing, going to the flea market on the weekended, hunt
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rabbits, working in the flower bed, and that's my question. >> host: okay, i willy. >> guest: i live in new york no flower beds or rabbits either, but i draw. i really enjoy drawing. i'm ready bad at it but have been doing it 50 years and it's a copied of a relief. i like -- a kind of a relief. i like being in the streets with people and doing things go to events a lot. last night i went to a play which was a lot of fun, called "king." tonight is its last night am friend of mine was in the play and i enjoyed that. and -- put one of the interesting things is the thing i love doing the most is writing. i love it. and so anything that has to do with writing writing and me wrid other people write, i'm really doing that a lot.
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>> host: what about cooking? do you like to cook? you write about it? my father cooked every day when i was a okay, and i cook every day now. but it's like something that you do, that you have to do. it's like drinking water. it's really good if you're dying of thirst but you drink water every day anyway. so it's not so much that i enjoy it. it's something i do issue like to cook for myself. love how foods work and work everywhere. love the maces with great food, new york, san francisco, new orleans, and that's -- i love good food. >> host: easy rawlins prides himself on being able to put a meal on a table five minute after the people in the room or hungry. >> guest: you hear people say i'm a gourmet cook and only cook once every month. i have a special thing all over the place, and i'm like, i open the refrigerator, and there should be something in there i
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can make a meal out of and that might be as different as anything i've ever cock -- cooked above. that's the housewives relationship to cooking. my job is to feed these people, not to aggrandize myself as a cook mitchell job is to make sure you're eating to has to be good for you and something you like enough to eat. >> host: darryl in cleveland, ohio. >> caller: hello. such an honor to speak to you identifies today, and i've been on dedicated fan of c-span for over 20 years now. mr. moseley, you are -- the voice of the voiceless. when i saw the movie, always outnumbered and always outdone, i damn near cried because you're spoking to the heart of so many people that just don't -- no one listened to us, and i think
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about the movie, angela's ashes, and how he wrote about the irish and their plight but i want to say god bless you and keep doing what you do when i think of you, i think of sanya sanchez and tony morrison and norm mailer and carlos santana. i saw him on an interview and he said he feels that miles davis was -- the vessel for miles space john coltrane, and i see that you are a vessel, too, for so many young writers that you give us inspiration. i'm an artist myself, and, yes, i love to cook to but i like to grill, and it brings me such pleasure to see people enjoy the food i put together. knocking pasta pans and doing a
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mealing to ask seeing their response. on one occasion i saw where alice marker was on booktv and one lady called and was in tears and said, you gave me a hug. i was hooked on drugs, and now i'm a counselor for this community service place, and the woman started crying, and the host starts to cut her off and alice says, no, no, let her finish speaking. and she says, honey, when you hug me, youing he me like my grandmother would. and you gave my inspiration to get up off thank you ground and star walking like a real woman. she said i was doing some bad things in the streets, and alice walker immediately said to her you tears are the window washer's the soul. mr. mosley, your writings are the window washers to her hearts. thank you so much for what you have done over the years?
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thank you issue appreciate. >> host: for those what haven't read always outnumbered, always outgunned, tell us about the story. >> guest: i will but first i want to say one thing to him and to anyone listening. one day -- i moon i know most of the people he listed. not everyone but almost everybody i met. one of them i know pretty well is sonya sanchez, and i was walking across the street again in grand central station with her one day, 10,000 people there is, she is 4'11" or something and some guy, very tall young black man in a uniform, 6-something and he sees her and says, miss sanchez, and she says, yes, dear? and she -- brother? she takes him by his hand, and he starts talking about his sister and his sister -- she was pregnant and was with a guy and the guy disappeared and joan ya said, does she want to have
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that baby? he said, i think she does, and she wrote down her phone number and says, here's my phone number. i'm getting on the train now and will be in philadelphia tonight. by 11:00ment you have their call me and we'll talk. that's that thing that i so respect. sonya is so extraordinary, such a wonderful individual. she is there in the world for the people, and her poetry is there in the world for the people, which is -- it's just a wonderful thing. you have great poets, like ts eliot but the yates wrote about what the irish experience, and write about what is real, you exhort more from that. >> host: what was your -- what were you thinking when that caller was comparing you and -- >> guest: wonderful. hard to think that stuff about
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yourself because you're going of the a life in a pedestrian kind of way, and you know your flaws other people don't know them, be and you're like, i'm not this or that but it's something i try to do and my work tries to do, and i know it's true, for sonya and other people. >> host: how too do you that always outnumber -- >> guest: it's about an ex-con who committed a terrible crime, he spent 27 years in prison. now he is out and is trying to be better because a young boy, who is also committed a terrible crime, figures this out, he finds his killed -- this kid and the kid knows that he knows if he wants to help this kid become a better person, he has to become a better person himself, and it's about that life. it's really close to the streets. it's really close to the bone. it's really impoverished.
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its not like some little kid who is going to become the prince or king or millionaire. it's somebody trying to live day to day. >> the main character. >> guest: socrates fortlaw. he is struggling to be a better person, and to overcome what -- huh -- his own nature, which is pretty violent and angry. his own guilt for the things he has done. he learns in order to be a better person, help this kid be a better person, i have to be a better person, but in order to help my community become better, i have to forgive myself. >> host: jb in toledo, highway. >> caller: thank you for taking my call and thanks for the innovative brian lamb.
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what does he think of george gm james, and, two, does he think the tragic 9/11 tragedy deserves examination? and does it merit writing about, and, three, why is there a 100 year limit on george w. bush's library there in texas? thank you very minute for taking the call. >> guest: hmm. i don't know the answers to some of those questions. i think that the central -- the question, which opens itself up for kind of a general interpretation, is about 9/11, and that i find -- i think that most events that happen in the
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world deserve self-examination. meaning to say, like, well, what is my part in the world in general? how do my actions, my taxes, my representation, my people, my gender, how do all of those things inform what is happening in the world? because we -- politics in a broad sense vilifies people, and certainly there are people who deserve to be vilified, and fought against, and struggling again, but it's always more important for me to figure out, okay, after i've come to those conclusions, the war on terrorism or whatever, how is my everyday action contributing to the pain in the world today? and if i am able to assuage that
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pain, can i make a better world? sometimes you have to fight and you have to kill and blow up things-but doing that won't make a better world. might make one safer in some place, might achieve revenge in some ways, but in the end, what we have to do is make a better world which is helping rather than hurting. >> host: olivia in california. welcome to the conversation. >> caller: hello. >> host: hi. >> caller: i have to thank mr. mosley for years ago when i was working as a librarian and i can even remember which one of the easiest books it was but -- the easy books it was bus carried mouse out of the hospital and i was so distressed, wondered what happens to the characters so i wrote him a letter, as i do to a lot of authors, but he wrote
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back and said, have patience, so i waited and he did write about easy and mouse again. i appreciate that. what i said wanted to talk about was always outnumbered and outgunned. people ask moore the recommendation and i recommend socrates. two great american philosophers of the 20th century, one white man, john wooden, and other was sock could trees and i tell people -- sock extra tease -- socrates and i want to thank you for everything you have rein, especially those characters who struck me to such an extent. thank you. >> guest: i do want to say to you theirs a third socrates
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collection that follows socrates and i appreciate your comment. >> host: why did you decide that mouse could -- or leave the question out there that mouse could be dead. >> guest: i don't remember why i thought that. just -- i'm writing -- like i said, almost kind of like freestyle. i'm just writing and writing, and mouse gets shot. i never thought he was dead, but -- and etta may takeses him out of the hospital and take him to mama jo. if number can raise something from the dead, it's mama jo, and she does. there was just a moment, you see, mouse was so powerful inside the books, had to get rid of him for a while. so easy could stand on his own and i could figure him out on his own, without mouse as the crutch, and that worked for me. >> host: following that book, easy is trying to figure out
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whether he is alive or dead. why is that important to the character? >> guest: one, makes -- it allows mouse to be there for the audience, but at the same time, it's easy making decisions and understanding who he is, outside of the negative space of mouse. >> host: greta in mt. very non, indiana issue think it is. >> caller: yes, that's correct. thank you for booktv. i want to thank mr. mosley for being to gracious and articulate in his interview. first heard of mr. mosley as a mystery writer, from bill clinton, a number of years ago in an interview, maybe early days of his presidency. and i was curious and immediately went out and checked out devil in the blue dress, so
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did they give you boost in your recognition as an author and a writer? are there other well-known people who cherish you as one of their favorite writers? >> guest: well, there arlet of people who like my writing. some of them are well-known. i've given books to all kinds of people, on all over the spectrum between clinton and orrin hatch, but i think the impact -- he did have a big impact on my career it and was like the news people. so, whenever i would go somewhere and somebody would ask people -- a newspaper, magazine, television show, would you like to talk to walter mosley. oh, yeah, he's the one that clinton liked, and i'll talk to them and people around the world
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did that. i'm not sure how many booked it sold, probably denzel washington sold more books, but regardless of that, i think the political and journalistic world paid more attention to me because of clinton. >> host: which of the books has sold he most? >> guest: i have no idea. probably devil in a blue dress, i would imagine. i can think of anything that would have sold more than that but could be another book. i don't know. a lot of those books. >> host: we'll go to linda next, spokane, washington. >> caller: hi. thank you for taking my call. i've been enjoying the program and i appreciate this opportunity. i work in a small indy book store, and i love talking about your books with customers. i love your writing, primarily because you're able to talk about a lot of different kinds of communities that some of us are obviously not a part of, and
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you help us understand people that are, but you also at the same time manage to write about the human condition and it covers everyone. so we can all relate to it as well. i could go on and on but i want to ask you, you maybed a couple -- you mentioned a couple of times where your ideas come from, from your sleep sometimes. i get same thing from my little bit of writing i do. i see advice that says, write for yourself, not for the reader, and i just wondered if you could comment about that and if there's a balance you find inure own writing, or if you lean one way or the other. >> guest: okay. first i want to thank you for working in an indy book store and for keeping indy book stores alive. really important for literature because big gigantic become stores are good to have, amazon
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is go to have, but -- is good to have but has to be that personal relationship, you going to the book store and talking to somebody about books they like and books you like. that's really important. i'll just tell you, when people ask me who is your audience, i tell them this. i had a favorite cousin named alberta jackson, older than i was and used to baby-sit and the was wonderful woman and i loved her. she made great hamburgers and she would hug me while we are watching monster movies and i imagine i'm in a train, and i'm talking to alberta, and she says, well, whats that it friend of yours, that mouse, what is he doing. >> host: i say he's. i would say he's in all kinds of trouble and tell her the story. the audience is somebody sitting behind us, overhearing the conversation of me talking to alberta.
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that's how i figure it. i imagine the best possible light to illuminate my story, is alberta, and nibblings who hears it. >> host: who are you talking to in little scarlet when you write about the riots of. this is easy rawlins with the white principal of the school he works at, explaining to her about the riots and you write the: if come from down in fifth ward or harlem, every soul you come upon has been thenned and beaten and jailed. i you have kid, they will be beaten and no matter how far back you remember there's a beat there waiting for you, and so when you see some man stopped by at the cops and some poor mother crying for releases, it speaks to to you. you have been there before. and it's hot and you're broke
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and the people have been doing this to you because of your skin for more than your mother's mother can remember. >> guest: yeah, well, yeah. that's exactly what i -- i think the anger of the riots -- i was writing about the riots and remember them quite well. i was in los angeles -- the original ones in '65 and i remember it so well, and i remember the experience, and it's so funny because so many other people just didn't understand because they didn't understand the lives of the people. they didn't understand what was going on in those people's lives and said, why are you writing in everything -- why are you rioting, agency is fine? everything was not fine, that's not enough reason to riot but nothing bass ever find. people had been lynched, burn, slaved, beaten and killed, and people were excluded from all kind of jobs and all kinds of
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institutions and all kinds of spaces. in father told me when he was in fifth ward and fats wallinger would come to tax, or houston, the first five nights on for a white audience and only on the last night, that a black audience could come and hear fats waller, and i said, god, dad, that's terrible. he says it was but it didn't matter because every night those first five nights after he finished playing for the white people, he would come down to some juke joint in fifth ward and play for us all night long. but just even the fact that you have to do that, you know, it makes you happy and it makes you angry, and everybody was angry, and that was something -- part of writing this book was to kind of extricate that anger. >> host: did thorites change anything. >> guest: changed a lot. back then, nobody was really
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aware of the anger of black people because they weren't in anybody's life, ever. but after riots happened, somebody would say, well, does everybody down there feel like this? yeah, most people down here, 90% of them feel like this and there's another 10% who are really mad. and so that caused the country to think, we have to change. brought about a lot of change. not enough change but brought about a lot and a lot of things get different in america. helping people, opening doors that had been closed. a lot had happened. people say it war terrible and stupid to burn done your own neighborhood but it made a big difference in america. >> host: you have the influence of martin luther king. >> guest: he came to los angeles after the riots, only kenneth
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haun came to talk to him and he left the next day and on them way out a reporter says, well, what do you think that los angeles can do to make things better? and king said, with the representatives you have? there's nothing you can do, and he just left. this is a man who had been fighting for equal rights in mississippi and alabama but los angeles, he said, just threw up his hands, i'm leavingy what are your thoughts as we approach the 50th anniversary of this assassination? next week, april 4th. this week coming up. >> guest: you know, martin luther king said a great thing once to a friend of mine, they were talking and and king said,
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you know, as i look at the news and i see what is happening in the world, i think that we may be trying to integrate ourselves into a burning house. and my friend said, well, so, if that's the case, what should we do? and he said, we are going to have to become firemen. and i -- that's -- whether it's the 50th anniversary or the 51st or the 37th or the 129th, the-his understanding of the duty that we, all americans, have is really a very special thing. >> host: albert in chicago. >> caller: al about the chicago. >> guest: that's right. >> host: that's you. >> caller: hello, hello. can you hear me? >> guest: yes. >> host: we can.
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>> caller: well -- >> host: go ahead, albert. >> caller: my comment is i'm on the station with -- on easter day and my comment is -- i didn't know he was a humanitarian. how did he become a humanitarian? we supposed to help each other. i like that part and i'm trying to be a writer. >> guest: well, okay. when you say he, you mean martin luther king or talking about me? i was a little confused there about that. >> host: were you talking about mr. mosley? >> caller: mr. mosley. sound like a humanitarian. >> guest: i certainly am. i'm a humanitarian but i exist in a certain place. i exist like what i feel is a long lineage of black males who i want to celebrate and to the the rest of the world wonderful and great these black men and are have been. as far as being a writer, that's
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great. be a writer. the only thing that you have to do to be a writer is get up and write every day for a couple of hours. do that for a year and then look back what you wrote and then figure out where you're going. >> host: how did you start? you were a computer programmer. when did you decide to be a writer full-time. >> guest: one thing i keep saying, i started writing across the street from where we're sitting right now. i was in the old mobile oil building, computer programmer issue ways working on the weekends, and i had been writing this program and this language called rpg and was tired of it and i decided to write a sentence and i wrote a sentence that was on hot sticky days in southern louisiana, the fire ants swarmed. now, i knew that was good line. i read a lot of books and thought that would be a good line of a first back, and i knew it was fix because i'd never been to louisiana and never seen a fire ant so i was making it up. i aid i'm going to try to be a
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writer and i finally made it. >> host: who inspired you? >> guest: no one. i really -- honestly, i could say everyone -- when i was a kid -- when i did that i was 34 years old. before i was 34, ier in thought about being a writer. when i was a kid my father was the greatest story-tellerment i lord hem bus he was my father but we would have parties and there would be 20 people and my father would tell stories and everybody would be laughing or moved or whatever. think that, again, unconsciously, my father said, this is who you should be. you should cook and tell a good story. >> host: dana in corns, mississippi. >> caller: hello. >> guest: hi. >> caller: hi. i would like to know, have you ever thought about any of you writings ever going to playwrights, i like the theater,
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broadway, like august wilson had several of his write examinatios and -- writhings and so forth in the theater. >> guest: i've written a couple of plays. they've been produced. i wrote a play called the fall of heaven. it's -- get produced in six or seven different cities. cincinnati, and st. louis, and chicago. and, people like them. it's kind of a difficult world. i write plays but the plays i go to and see and the plays are write are very different. right now i'm work on trying to create a musical for devil in a blue dress. i've written a book, which is a play, and my friend, a very talented musician and actor, is
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working on the lyrics and the comp kissingy do you -- the composition. >> host: do you have other time frame. >> as soon as possible. hopefully we'll do a couple of readings of it this summer. >> host: great. robert in nashville, tennessee. >> caller: good. hello. my name is robert rivers, and i'm from nashville, tennessee, area. originally, although i'm 73 years old, i was home from greenville, mississippi, in '40s, '50s, '60s, a great literary center for the delta area, pretty well-nope, hodding carter in my years was the owner of the delta democrat times which was a noted progressive
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newspaper in the south. i've read a couple of mr. mosley's books, i have the last days of gray, and the long fall, and enjoyed them both quite a bit. great collector of books. i just can't get rid of them. but i'm inclined towards the interracial relationships of the last decades, particularly because of my history being from mississippi. i was just wondering, as a writer becomes extremely well-known and apparently influential, does mr. mosley still like that there is a responsibility, major or minor,
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for writers to present themselves into the sociopolitical events? do they feel -- does he feel that just besides their individual writings and the influence they would have, that personally it is positive or negative to inject their personal feelings outside of their writings, into these events, particularly the way it is right now. thank you. >> guest: i -- it's an interesting question. i'm like very politically active the way writers would be, and i'm not rung for office and i'm not even supporting anybody running for office because i know better, but i'm -- i try to
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comment on things and -- but two things to say. number one, i would never tell another writer what they should or shouldn't do, how they should tike or not, injection themes or not. writers have to do what they can do. and if they come to a place that i respect, great. if they don't, great. they're writer. i was on a internet television show recently, six months ago, a little more. and there were like four journalists and me or five, and i don't understand how that got done but all talking and abe e everybody is talking about fake news and they're mad and said we have to convince people that fake news is just a made-up term and we're real journalists and saying real things, and i was nowing and listening and at one pound i said, you know, but you have to understand, i'm a black
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man in america. i i've been listening to fake news for 400 years. and so if there's any legacy that trump leaves behind him, it is that there is fake news, and i'm right there with that. i'm not sure if it's against him but i'm sure it exists. >> host: define what it meandrous. >> guest: walter cronkite for years talking about vietnam as if it's a sensible war we're winning and we're there for a good reason' and the vietnamese are threat to the united states and one day he comes on and says, i've been saying this stuff for years, but it's not true. and it's not real. and we're not winning. and they may not even be our enemies, and the people were supporting are dictators and it was nice to hear a moment of real news after years and years and years of lies, basically. >> host: christmas black is one
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of the characters who is a soldier, fought in vietnam, other wars as well, but is he that voice, that is so -- what voice is he? >> guest: i think that christmas is an interesting character because the comes from, like, a military family, a black military family that goes all the way back to the revolution, the american revolution, and they have been fighting and they've been part of the army and they've done all this stuff, and he has come -- he is at the very end of that and has kind floundered, saying the thing we're so proud of is the sin we have committed. and he doesn't even know how to deal with it. and it's a wonderful moment to have somebody say, i've been wrong. and it's the hardest thing to say. i've been wrong. i've thought this, i've said
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this, i've done this, but i've been wrong. >> host: he fought in vietnam and comes back. what's the differs between christmas black and an african-american who fought for the united states in vietnam and somebody like easy rawlins who fought in world war ii and has come back. easy talks about feeling peyton rottic fight -- patriotic fighting in world war 2. >> guest: i have a friend who is a wonderful guy, and the '60s the head of the panthers in baltimore, and he has done a lot. when he went to vietnam , he -- when you ask him, when you against it? he said eni went through thought
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i was john wayne. wonderful for a black man to think he was john wayne and he is fighting for liberty, and i think he was disabuses of this notion while he was there and came back and his politics came up and he joined the panthers, et cetera. then became a libraryon and now a publisher. and i think that a lot of people, especially young men, want to believe in what they're doing, in wartime, and they're fighting -- the want to believe that the anger inside of them, which is kind of natural, has a reason and a purpose and a patriotism. but often find out, it's not true. that's true for mark in all quiet on the western front, true for a lot of germans in world war ii. i think it's true for a lot of
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russians, also, and understand wore 2. and -- in world war ii. i income every war there's a moment where you may feel like, wow, this is wrong. made a snake, -- mistake. the revolutionary war, not. in the civil war, many sides made a lot of mistakes. >> host: muhammad ali shaped your think about the vietnam war. >> guest: that was so interesting and wonderful but ali. i think that indeed he was the greatest. i'm not sure about the ring. i'm not sure if he ever really bet kenny norton or not, but i think that his ability, his physical genius, which all
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really great sports people have, his physical genius morphed into kind of a social political genius. i think in the beginning him joining the nation of islam was part of that. when we stood in front of anybody who would listen, a lot of college students, a lot of people in the nation of islam, and other people, and he said, look, i'm not going vietnam because no viet cong ever called me nigger. really. it's poetry. i know like he always did his little poetry stuff but that was more poetry than all the rhyming stuff he did. it's so true. i'm going to go kill somebody who doesn't have anything against me? for the people who have everything against me?
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and really as kid -- i'm not -- i know now that he helped form my thinking but i don't think i knew it then. i think it was everywhere, in the atmosphere. >> host: you were how old? >> guest: probably -- when that happened -- when was he -- i was probably 14, 15. >> host: you were talking the way muhammad ali was talking about the war. didn't realize it was him. >> guest: i one thinking it was him. if people would say are you going i would say, no, there's two reasons, first, i don't want to get hurt. i don't want to get shot or killed or anything, and second, i don't have anything against those people. why would i want to go shoot some guy in vietnam? what sense does that snake so far away i can't imagine it. and of course he is the one who told me that. >> host: patrick, you're on the air with walter mosley. >> caller: yes, thank you for
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taking my callment mr. mosley, i want to thank you for the earlier comment you made on reading. that is the closest thing to active mind. take that as a new quote for my life. i have two questions. you have written about a lot of characters and i want to ask how do those characters compare to what happened 20 years ago and what is happening today? and then the other question i have is, how would you describe what privilege? and can black people develop black privilege? because abraham lincoln said at one time that privilege comes with power, and that almost every man can withstand adversity but if you want to test the character of a man, give him power. i just need to hear your input
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on that. and also, tell you today that you have just changed my life. you mentioned you were a computer programmer. i'm an engineer, and i've always thought about writing, but i never took interest in the political or literary readings, but after listening to you, for some reason, i don't watch this station that often. something pushed me to listen to you today. so i want to thank you. may god bless you and keep on going. with what you're doing. >> host: all right, patrick. >> guest: well, the first thing about what happened 20 years ago and today, i don't think there's a lot of difference. i think that the -- see the way i look at the world them germans, lament world war ii but the americans are happy but it but the americans lament the vietnamese war because it was mistake, and, boy, the war in
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iraq is really a mistake. we begin to think this. i kind of forgot the second question. >> host: white privilege. >> guest: it's interesting thing. white privilege is different at different time am time when people in america would say i'm free, white, and over 21 and that meant they could do anything. i'm free, white, and over 21, i can do anything. that was then. today white privilege is a long ago, far away, dream, that a lot of white people are really -- so-called white people are really unhappy about. they thick used to be in control. used to have everything. i used to be able to work hard and do this and do that and retire and take care of my kids and everything was fine and that has been taken away, and it's crew. but we never had it really, but so-called white america had it.
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so white privilege has become more of a fantasy or long ago memory than a reality. there's rich privilege, that's for sure. there's rich privilege, but i think that's all there is to it. that the rich have privilege and everybody else kind of thinks wistfully but the past they might have had it at some item and would like to have it again. make america great. >> host: is it capitalism that created it and may have destroyed it? >> guest: i think that -- both. i think that early ocurrents of capitalism, where you want land, we'll just kill all the natives on the land and then its your. you want to build great farms and plantations and houses and
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roads? we'll just take a whole bunch of slaves and just make them do it, and you don't have to pay them. they have nothing but you have everything. and i think that's the early parts of it. that's when it got built. and now you have today where more and more of the wealth is in the hands of the very few, and wealth -- people think. we is him limitless but it's not. it's base opened labor and labor is finite wealth is finite. so if the acknowledge income of every person in the world is, let's say -- should be $80,000, that means everybody in the world should have $80,000 this year, but if a person has $100,000 or $200,000 or a billion dollars or $200 billion, those dollars have become out of the pockets of all the $80,000 people and the more and more that wealth combines in the middle and aggregates there, then the poor and poorer
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everybody else is and their wealth reflects this. in chinese, it's a little bit more worse tharp it is here, but here no one has enough money. >> host: would our history be different if we lived -- if we had a different institution, socialism. >> guest: i'm not sure that socialism -- it would be good to say there's capitalism and social jim. don't think that's true. i think we have to be aware of the system of wealth. as soon as you have abstract forms like money, banks, interest, you have capitalism. it doesn't matter if is called socialist, i.e. china other, monarchy, it doesn't matter, as soon as you have printed money, and somebody is making profit by moving that money around, not
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things but money, then you have capitalism. the think is we have to by aware of the systems we work in and have to control it in such a way that not all of the wealth is siphoned out of our pocket. that's the thing. and it's certainly not black people taking it from white people and not white people take it from black people and this he institution and we have to have more control over. >> host: shawn in hawaii. >> caller: very irrue do it explanation. i do not have to ask a deep question. i'll be cas. if you had one last meal to eat, what would it be and how did
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drinking influence your writing before -- while you drank and now that you don't drink. thank you. >> guest: what would i eat? >> host: your last meal. >> guest: my last meal? it would be blue crab gumbo no question. my god, with sausage and thyme leaves and fried oak okra. i would love that. the other question was -- >> host: i'm blanking, too. we don't have him on the line anymore. maybe it will come to us. >> guest: hmm. >> host: let's go to john and then -- here in new york. do you have it? >> guest: no. >> host: john go ahead. >> caller: good morning, mr. mosley, pleasure to have you in my house today. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: thank you very much. i got interested -- introduced
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to you through blue lying. do light. love that book. said that back into be -- when i read it, i read it again signs finished it and read that book several times since. because is was so enlightening to me because it transcended race and everything. you used those to describe your characters, but i always said that book should be translated into every other language in the world. it gave me such perspective and it's to bring peopling to and enlighten met he very much and i thank you for taking my question, sir. >> guest: thank you. thank you very much. if there's any book that's my favorite book, it is blue life, and i saw that because it's the only book i've written that i read again. i just sit down and say, oh,
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okay, i and i enjoy reading it. why i wrote it was that i'm not in any way a religious or spiritual person. i'm not. i just am not. loo like to i would like to be but i'm not. i believe in a materialistic, pragmatic universe, with one exception. believe in the soul. i believe in the notion of the soul. i feel like i have one if feel like souths, personality, identity, transcends my corporeal existence and i wanted to write about it without confusion about religious, so in writing blue light -- a moment in the book where a person is walking back and forth, considering who he is inside, what his essence is, and i think i got there in that walking back
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and forth. i wrote the whole book in order to write that. writing the planets and the lying hitting the earth and how it transforms people into superior but not necessarily better parts of themselves. so thank you. that's why i wrote it. i still love it. >> host: the second part of that caller's question because about drinking and how it influences your writing while you were drinking and influenced your writing now that you don't drink. >> guest: i do drink again. i. >> guest: i did drink and -- i did drink and i didn't write back then so didn't matter. then i didn't drink and for most of the time didn't write and then i started writing, and i was just writing and i wasn't drinking. now i still -- my writing and my drinking stay very far apart. i'll never -- if i drink, i'm not going to be write. >> host: why is that?
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>> guest: i get foggy, not more specific. i know a lot of writers who seem to be held in emotionally somewhat, drinking, and it frees them to express. a lot of poets say that. never been my experience. >> host: kent neglect in richmond, virginia. >> hello, mr. mosley. enjoy your writing but one thing it did for me, helped me connect with my father's generation. i'm a baby beamer boomer and -- baby-boomer and i started looking at the janitors in the school and my father's generation differently. how were you able to connect with that generation then write stories about them? i just saw them as older people. >> guest: that wasn't my experience. my experience was when i was a kid, i was born in '52ment when i was a kid who couldn't addition wouldn't let me go
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outside by myself. i was around my relatives and my relatives were so like interesting. told wild stories about fifth ward, houston, texas, and world war ii, and about trouble -- i remember my father telling me they had gone down to galveston in ha big old car, four guy, and we are pearing all night but now it's the next morning, driving back, three of the guys are sleeping you can't see them and one guy is driving and another guy drives in front, like in a car, and then another car comes up right behind them and the guy driving says, i think we got trouble. and sure enough the guy in the front, hits his brakes brakes ao they had to stop and the other car jumps and both guys come out of the front car and back car with guns and then all four doors fly open and all of the guys in the car come out with their guns. it's texas, everybody had a gun and the other guy's got scared and jumped in their cars and drove off. the kind of stories they told me. and they held their aspirations
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this, dreams, their humor and those were the story is wanted to tell. >> host: white weren't you allowed to go outside by yourself. >> guest: three years old. you'd be dead or five or seven. you could go outside a little bit but every ten minutes, walter, where are you? i'm here, dad. come back in here and then i'd listen to more stories. >> host: what about your mom? what impact did she have on you. >> guest: my mother is a very interesting case. she loved me really deeply but she kind of had a psychologyol thing where she couldn't express affection. it was really kind of interesting. she was incredibly smart, and she went to hunter high school -- she graduated hunter high school when he somewhats either late 15 or 16 and graduated hunter college when she was 20. really smart and she was really, really independent. she was in los angeles, married to a guy who is one of the richest guys in los angeles hat
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that time named novak, and she was with him and then she took a job because she was socialist and took a job in a school because she had to dethe right thing met my father. ... >> how did she your mother and your father influence your thought on not seeing color,
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because you say white? >> the idea that -- that somebody -- it's a made -- the notion of the color lines was -- was a colonization tactic. black people in slaves, we are the white people. it's ridiculous. it's so silly. not one of us is the same color. like, are you black, yes, but obviously, what kind of sense does that make, makes sense only in the insanity of the asylum that i'm living in. it's like it doesn't make sense and -- and i don't know if my parents gave me that or not, i mean, they certainly weren't
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worried about it. and it's segregated as it is, mostly segregated by class. when it comes to where you work, everybody works together. you can't say, i'm not working with that mexican, that means you will find somewhere to work. they didn't have time to say, i can pick and choose among my laborers. >> what's next for you, walter mosley? >> i have my book coming out. john woman, i'm excited about that. that's going to be really good. i just -- as i -- i was at the public theater snowfall john singleton series, a guy named tommy is running it. he told me last night he wrote the episode i wrote. i'm excited about that and will
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be out soon. i will try devil in a blue dress as musical. i'm trying to make it as a movie and, you know, and working -- i'm working in a lot of different things all at once, i'm writing a book which is fun and i'm writing the -- the next installment on how to write novel on calling it the structure of revelation. >> thank you for your -- our conversation. >> thank you very much. great to be here. >> by the way, if you did not see all of today's conversation, we will be reairing the entire thing at midnight tonight and also reair next weekend, you can go to booktv.org to see this conversation and also all of the interviews that we have done in our special in-depth fiction edition. thank you all for watching.
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>> in 1979 c-span was created by public service by television companies and today we bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country, c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> and today more programs from the recent virginia festival of the book, first up, authors discuss the stereotypes and reality of life in appalachia. [inaudible conversations]

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