Monday, November 21, 2011

A Never-Say-Die Mystery Writer

What, you might ask, does  Italian mystery writer Andrea Camilleri have to do with a blog called “Unretiring”?
Apparently, Camilleri himself is unretiring, having written about 20 books since plunging into mystery writing at age 69. (He's now 86)

“He’s an example of what you can do,”  said Peter Rozovsky,  a copy editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer on one of my last days at work. Foolishly thinking I might have some leisure time on my hands, I’d dropped by Rozovsky’s desk to get a list of his favorite mystery writers, since he writes the blog

Camilleri’s protagonist, the workaholic Inspector Salvo Montalbano, is totally at loose ends when it comes to free time, which is why, I’m guessing, Camilleri himself can’t stop working either.
Here’s an insight into Camilleri’s dilemma – and that of so many of us fearful of leaving longtime careers– from his book,  “The Wings of the Sphinx”:
The Sicilian police inspector Montalbano, is debating with himself over his ability to enjoy a few days off:

“Yes, he could take advantage of them to –"
“To do what? Montalbano One suddenly asked. Would you please tell me exactly what you know how to do other than your job? You eat, shit, sleep, read a few novels, and every now and then you go to the movies. And that’s it. You don’t like to travel, you don’t go in for sports, you have no hobbies, and when you come right down to it, you don’t even have any friends with whom to spend a few hours."
“What is this bullshit, anyway? Montalbano Two intervened polemically. He goes for longer swims than an Olympic champion and you’re telling me he doesn’t go in for sports?"
“Swimming doesn’t count. What counts are genuine, serious interests, the kind that enrich and give meaning to a man’s life."
“Oh, yeah? Give me one example of these ‘interests’! Gardening? Collecting stamps?"

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