Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Crime in O'Keefe Country

Left Coast Crime is my favorite mystery writers' conference. This could be just because of timing: At Bouchercon 2009, as a newly-minted author of fiction, I got to participate in a round-robin speed dating event, presenting my book 12 times in minute-and-a-half spurts to twelve tables of potential readers. I attended panels, which I enjoyed very much but otherwise, frankly, the throngs of strangers intimidated me. I felt like a dope doing so but wound up spending a lot of time alone in my room working on my next book. A few months later, at last year's Left Coast, knowing better what to expect, I was able to participate more fully and finally found last month's LCC most collegial and lots of fun.

Location may also have something to do with my preference. Bouchercon 2009 took place in Indianapolis, a town my lawyer calls Indian-No-Place. Though I revere it as the birthplace of a literary god--Kurt Vonnegut, it seemed unwelcoming. (That could have been me, I admit.) LCC, in LA last year and in Santa Fe this, was, by contrast friendly and warm.

A HUGE benefit of LCC being in Santa Fe was a chance to visit the home and studio of Georgia O’Keefe in Abiquiu, to see the landscape that inspired her, and to see her works in the O’Keefe Museum. She claimed that her paintings were not abstract, but accurate renderings of the places around her, which seemed disingenuous until I saw what she saw; thrilling visions of Mother Earth dressed for the high desert. My photos of New Mexico that accompany this post in no way capture the striking nature of that terrain, any more than seeing a photo of the Empire State Building reproduces the effect of standing on Fifth Avenue next to it and looking up.

O’Keefe’s paintings impressed me before, but my appreciation for them quadrupled after seeing them in the context of her chosen environment.

Annamaria Alfieri

No comments:

Post a Comment