One that got away…the elusive Walter Mosley
Easy Rawlins is very near and dear to my heart. If he was real I would be in love. Instead I must admire him from afar, through the written word. The man I have the biggest crush on exists only on the page and in my mind’s eye. He is the protagonist of the acclaimed Easy Rawlins series created by noted author Walter Mosley.
I discovered Mosley by accident. I was visiting friends a few years back and I was hungry for something to read, something fun. We got on the topic of books and I mentioned my desire. Mosley was suggested with the added endorsement of Bill Clinton considering Mosley a favorite. That night I looked Mosley up in Novelist (how I miss that database) and discovered the Easy Rawlins series. The next day I got the first book, Devil in a Blue Dress. I read practically the whole book in one sitting. I loved it. I then went on to the third and fourth and within a matter of time I had read the entire series practically in one long sitting and I was hooked. There were so many things that I liked about Easy Rawlins: he was smart but not arrogant, he made mistakes, he was human, he had tremendous humility that he wore like a well fitting suit, and lastly he aged in each installment.
Mosley uses the backdrop of an historical milieu, sometimes using significant events like the Watts Riot to set a story. Mosley’s writing is top notch, graceful and powerful. His sentences often warrant a second look. His secondary characters are well thought out and purposeful.
There is tragedy and humor to the East Rawlins series. They often make me cry.
When I started doing programming, in the back of mind I thought how wonderful it would be to have Walter Mosley come speak at the library. I fantasized about what the night would be like. I seriously wanted to meet Walter Mosley and tell him how much of a fan I was of Easy Rawlins. So in this frame of mind I fired off a letter to Walter Mosley, then two and three, all of them passionately inviting him to come speak at the library. His publicist tried to let me down gently, but I would not give up. After many months and many more letters I did finally give up, putting my school girl crush on Easy Rawlins to rest. I thanked his publicists (there were two or three) for their help and I put the idea of Walter Mosley coming to speak at the library away.
Then last year I was strolling the aisles of the Book Expo at the Javits Center and as luck would have it, I came across the Little Brown & Co. booth and right in front was promotion for the 10th installment of the Easy Rawlins series Blonde Faith. I can’t tell you how excited I was. I gently inquired about having Walter Mosley come to the library. The reception of the request was warm but they would have to check with the author first. I requested business cards and went on my way.
Once back at the library the work began, I composed an email to Walter Mosley’s publicist and waited a week. No response. I re-sent the email with a new email on top. This time a response. It went this way back and forth for a about a month, maybe two. I finally was able to secure a date and with that my heart raced with joy. Getting a solid date of NOV 20 2007 erased the feeling of inadequacy that accompanied my previous attempt to get Walter Mosley to come to the library. Now I was elated and proud. But all the work that went into getting Walter Mosley to come to the library and the great feeling of joy I felt was for naught. In September I was notified by his publicists that Mr. Mosley would not be coming to the library after all. I was frustrated and extremely disappointed and there was nothing I could do about it.
Yesterday was Christmas Eve. I finished Blonde Faith, the 10th installment of the Easy Rawlins series. I happened to be on the train and there it was: the last page, then the last paragraph and finally the last sentence. I shut the book, looked up and thought to myself what a great book it was and how much I love Easy Rawlins.