Mosley at the 2007 Brooklyn Book Festival
|Born||Walter Ellis Mosley
January 12, 1952
Los Angeles, California
|Spouse(s)||Joy Kellman (1987â€“2001)|
I would have been completely brainwashed by this lopsided and racist view of the world if it weren't for my father. He was a deep thinker and an irrepressible problem solver. He was a Black Socrates, asking why and then spoiling ready-made replies.
I took up writing to escape the drudgery of that every day cubicle kind of war.
I've written a lot of really good books. Now we'll see if I can write any more good books. I mean there's a chance I won't, but I'm going to try.
Losing my parents really set me adrift in more ways than one. It's not just losing them. It's losing the possibility of family.
All of the philosophers I studied were white (with a few Eastern exceptions), and, for that matter, they were all male. Africa, the cradle of civilization, seemed to have no footing in the highest form of human thought.
My father's life was so decimated by his earliest experiences. His mother died when he was 7 years old, which he always said was the worst experience in his life. When he was 8, his father disappeared and he was on his own from the age of 8.
I'm almost completely without family and it's a very odd feeling in life. I have no children.
HBO and I have a deal to at least try to make a television series from the Leonid McGill stories. We're going to start with the first novel, 'The Long Fall.'
A lot of people… kind of make heroes that are separate from us, people who are, you know, like… John Wayne and Errol Flynn and, you know, Denzel Washington… people who are different, who are larger than life.
All writing is that structure of revelation. There's something you want to find out. If you know everything up front in the beginning, you really don't need to read further if there's nothing else to find out.
My father always taught by telling stories about his experiences. His lessons were about morality and art and what insects and birds and human beings had in common. He told me what it meant to be a man and to be a Black man. He taught me about love and responsibility, about beauty, and how to make gumbo.
I think that people don't know how to do anything anymore. My father was a janitor. He could take a car apart and put it back together. He could build a house in the back yard. Today, if you ask people what they know, they say, 'I know how to hire someone.'
I've always loved science fiction. I think the smartest writers are science fiction writers dealing with major things.
At one time if you were a black writer you had to be one of the best writers in the world to be published. You had to be great. Now you can be good. Mediocre. And that's good.
I don't ever know where I'm going. Because one of the wonderful things about writing, which is different than working in programming, you don't need to know. You could just write and discover where you're going. And it's a great deal of fun.
When I turned 59, I looked at that as the first day of my 60th year, so I've been 60 for the last 365 days, in my opinion. So I've been thinking all this year, I'm 60 – this is the time when I need to get some stuff done.
When you deal with a person who's experiencing dementia, you can see where they're struggling with knowledge. You can see what they forget completely, what they forget but they know what they once knew. You can tell how they're trying to remember.
My hero in comic books is Jack Kirby: 'Spider-Man,' 'Fantastic Four,' 'Captain America,' Marvel Comics. He was really the basis for Marvel Comics.
When I went to school, there were no Black philosophers, at least none that I was aware of, who were recognized by Western universities.
My father cared about the world he lived in, and so he admitted his confusion about his place in America because he didn't want me to make the same mistake in my life.
There's many things that I am. And all of those things come together at some point. If somebody wants to limit me, you know and they'll say, 'Well, this is Walter Mosley, the mystery writer.' I don't like that. Because I do many things.
We live in capitalism, and capitalism is defined by the production line, and the production line is defined by specificity. If you see yourself as an artist, which I do, then you can't be limited by that. You can't let somebody tell you, 'Well, you can only draw this kind of picture or write that kind of book.'