|Sammy's Swoopy Skatepath?|
The person behind this is also the person coordinating the Sammy Keyes party on October 4th in Washington state, where the documentary will premiere. This is his vision and since he has a doctorate in children's literature and has been enthused about Sammy since Hotel Thief came out in 1998, I think it's okay to trust him with explaining what regular readers here already know--Sammy Keyes matters!
Anyway, there'll be a little docu-team coming here in mid-August to get a bunch of footage, and in preparation for that Mark and I ventured into "Santa Martina" to get some possible inspiration-location photographs.
Is there a Senior Highrise?
A Heavenly Hotel?
A St. Mary's Church?
A swoopy sidewalk around the mall?
Or the basement in Snake Eyes?
What about the graveyard...is it as described in Night of Skulls?
Well, yes and no.
After our picture taking tour, what struck me most was how an author's imagination fills in space and creates a renovation of reality. Something sparks an image in the writer's mind, and then it builds from there. And when you revisit the original inspiration you find it's been dwarfed by the picture you've built around it.
The Heavenly Hotel, for example, was based on an old rundown hotel that had some faded pink trim. From that came the HEAVENLY with its pink neon sign and mirrored stairwells.
The point of the documentary is not primarily to document the places Sammy's world was fictionalized from, but rather to explore the contribution of the series. Genre fiction is often marginalized, and Sammy Keyes is considered genre fiction. A mystery series. And really, what can a mystery series contribute besides entertainment?
Recognition for the substance of Sammy Keyes has felt like a battle over the years. "Mystery series" seemed just too big a barrier for people in literature circles to see beyond.
Maybe it's because we've come to the end of the series that it can now be assessed as a whole body of work, not just "the next Sammy Keyes". Maybe this is an unexpected benefit of having reached the heart-wrenching end. I'm just grateful that someone has taken the lead on putting into words--and on film--why Sammy Keyes matters.
Because you know what? She does.
As always, thanks for checking in. Looking forward to seeing you in the comments!