<![CDATA[Judith A. Yates: Criminologist &True Crime Author - Blog]]>Sat, 09 Dec 2017 04:33:11 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Why I don’t do “the holiday spirit”]]>Tue, 05 Dec 2017 04:42:47 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/why-i-dont-do-the-holiday-spiritPicture
In 2007, my grandmother lost her ferocious battle with time and succumbed in a haze of Alzheimer’s fog. I will never heal. This is why, like many others, I do not like the holidays.
“The Season” is forced upon us in euphemisms like “celebrate family and friends” and “give the gift they’ll love” and reminder after reminder that we are to celebrate with love and joy in our hearts while celebrating around the fireplace, waiting for Santa.  When I was younger I bought into it: the rush of the shopping mall, the twinkle of lights, the picking out the perfect tree and decorating it. After 2007, it is so difficult to be without my loved ones that I feel my heart breaking; now, that is no euphemism.
You ever grieve so badly that you were surely going to die: the pain in your heart overwhelms you so that your ears ring, you cannot focus, and you have no idea how you continue to breathe? The world moves around and over you and your feet are frozen to the ground. And for myself and so many others, from November 1 to January 2, this is how we feel when the “holidays are upon us.”
When I was a kid, my family had a tradition, “who can get to my grandparent’s house first on Christmas morning.” Family clusters showed up at 7:00 a.m. falling out in laughter because one of our households was already there, asking, “what took you so long?” Paper flying around the living room and the cat sneaking under the tree for one last climb. A cry of how happy someone was to get that gift, and usually a gag. (My uncle once gave my mother a ring she had coveted all year, but he froze it in a block of ice so she was forced to wait all day to wear it.) My grandmother, the glue in the middle of it all, was busying herself making coffee, cooking the meals, joining us in the pictures.
Now, I don’t celebrate. Our family has scattered to various states, and states of mind. And by the beginning of November it starts: a burst of tears over a memory (my grandmother loved driving to look at Christmas lights so I cry when I see decorated yards), the hole in my heart enlarging, and straining to hear the dead and buried come back if only just in spirit.
It helps to know I am not alone; no matter how long it’s been, there are people who dread the holiday ‘family time” because there is an empty seat at the table. It may be because of disease, or age, or even a murder or missing case.
Am I being morose? Should I keep my melancholy to myself? Maybe I should listen to the friends and family and magazine articles: “She would want you to go on and celebrate” or “do something special in/cherish her memory” but that doesn’t make me feel any better, not really ... a shabby band-aid.
I feel compelled to share my story because I know I am not the only one. As a crime writer I am so aware many families are missing a vital piece, so the holidays are just not so jolly or special anymore. We will never get over it, and sometimes we barely get through it. And we have a right to not celebrate the holidays. 

(the accompanying photo is the last photo taken of me with my grandmother)

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<![CDATA[Guns in the church? OMG!]]>Wed, 08 Nov 2017 15:03:08 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/guns-in-the-church-omg
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After the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a pastor of another church announced he would now preach while wearing a gun. What? OMG!
 
Pastor Jaime Chapa of El Faro Bible Church is quoted by the media as saying, "What happened in Sutherland will not ever happen in our church. There will be three armed persons at all times, at every service. Nobody needs to know who they are, but our church will be protected." (Source)
 
Pastor Chapa’s announcement came after November 5, 2017, when spree killer Devin Kelley walked into a rural church in Sutherland, Texas and opened fire, killing at least 26 people and injuring at least 20 others. Kelley’s history includes spousal and child abuse. “The abuses included hitting his then-wife with his hands and choking her, as well as striking and hitting his stepson ‘with a force likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm.’" (Source)
 
On November 6, Texas law enforcement officials told the media that the shooting was connected to a “domestic situation going on within [his extended] family.”
 
As a criminologist, I have always done some preaching myself, though not at a church pulpit. And this time I am preaching (yet again) “we need to be proactive, not reactive.”
 
Instead of arming ourselves to the teeth in a house of worship, why not arm the congregation with education about the cause of crime? (After all, some criminologists consider the first documented murder was Cain slewing Abel.) And this education needs to start with the most prevalent crime of all: domestic violence.
 
I suggest a sermon about domestic violence with mention of recognizing domestic abuse and where to seek help. This sermon could include a list of red flags, a list of safe places to go for help, while utilizing Biblical references. I’m suggesting that a church be pro-victim at all times: make educational literature available for the congregations, host guest speakers on domestic violence, offer fundraisers and volunteer opportunities for shelters.  Educate the congregation on domestic violence as an ongoing project.
 
We will never stop spree shooters, wife beaters, and child abusers. We can educate ourselves with the facts and share that information as a method of prevention. A gun on the hip can be replaced with a voice for the people, and the latter is much easier to carry.



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<![CDATA[The cases chose me]]>Wed, 27 Sep 2017 01:49:02 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/the-cases-choses-mePicture
This weekend I was asked, “Where do you get the ideas for your books?” How do I select a particular case to write about while bypassing others? The truth is, the case selects me.
There is no magic formula in deciding what case to write about, or what story to share. I don’t stand around in a big true crime author room with my peers to draw names out of a box, either. I don’t even look for the subject of my next book. I don’t even watch television! The case chooses me.
Some years ago I was asked by a cohort to write an article about a child killer who was asking for clemency. I was a freelance journalist writing true crime articles for an online news site. Because it had to be written in time for the clemency hearing, I cranked out the first article based on what the cohort told me. The victim’s family contacted me and told me what I wrote was not all true. So, I wrote a second article based on what the crime survivors told me. And Brad Maddox, the victim, just would not leave me alone. His smiling face kept popping out at me. I realized then, Brad deserves his story to be told.  Thus The Devil You Know came about.
When I taught a class called “Investigations,” I was new to Tennessee and upon my arrival I was always being asked about the serial killer Paul Reid, who struck in Nashville and was caught months later. I took the Reid case as it was a closed case (The perpetrator sat on death row) and used it in the class. My students were locating reams of paper on the case; tons of photos, pages of appeals … and nothing on the victims except their names were now “the victim of Paul Reid.” Several years later this still grated on my mind. Who were they? Who were their families? Why is it they had no identity except as “the victim of…”? The writing of When Nashville Bled began. Paul Reid’s victims now became more than “victim.” They became Sarah, Steve, Andrea, Ronald, Bert, Jose, Michelle, and Angie. And readers learn whom they were before Reid met them, and why Reid was exactly where he should have been: waiting to die for his crimes.
I took a break and concentrated on my freelance writing, and was working on an article about inmate pen pals: what they wrote on their profiles, why they were in prison, a serial rapist writing “loves to have fun” on his pen pal ad; a female inmate who writes, “I’m an old fashioned girl” is responsible for killing an officer in cold blood. And a wholesome, cutesy face showed up in the article and on my radar: her name is Leah Joy Ward and she is serving a life sentence.  (I don’t trust anyone who smiles in his or her mug shot.) But I dismissed it. I was busy. I had other things to do. I had no time for another book at the moment. Still…and so I started researching Ward’s case. I met people. I talked to investigators. And “She is Evil!” Madness and Murder in Memphis is now available through Wild Blue Press.

​My next project is now on the editing desk of Wild Blue Press. I actually did see this case in the news. And the little girl’s smile just captivated me, making me wonder: why? Why did she do it? But this little girl cannot answer that; she is dead.
And even as this little girl's story is about to become a book, yet another case is tapping me on the shoulder, begging to be told, although I have ignored it for some time now. Right out of Memphis and casually arriving in a discussion I was having with the District Attorney. Yet another case selects me.

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<![CDATA[Want to be an author?]]>Tue, 05 Sep 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/want-to-be-an-author
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<![CDATA[Revealing the mystery cover guest - True Crime: Case Files eZine Anniversary Issue]]>Thu, 29 Jun 2017 17:28:37 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/revealing-the-mystery-cover-guest-true-crime-case-files-ezine-anniversary-issuePicture
So who is the person who will be appearing on the cover Anniversary issue of True Crime: Case Files eZine?
 

I am so excited that True Crime: Case Files eZine is celebrating its one-year anniversary! It is a reminder how time just slips through so quickly… one day I was corresponding with Wayne Sanderson and Kelly Banaski about a professional eZine. The next we are releasing our one year anniversary issue.
 
For the first time the eZine will feature a full-page cover of someone who is not a criminal, not a crime victim. Our staff is honored and excited about the anniversary issue’s cover. Our past cover stories have varied. 
The premier issue cover features notorious criminals who appear in the eZine. It was also a tribute to Ann Rule. Issue two’s cover features history’s criminals along with “Our Hero.”

For the third issue we changed to a new format. We are the first TC magazine that includes audio, video, and subscriptions. Our cover features persons who have gone missing in the hopes of finding them.  And Summer 2017, the most recent issue, features criminal Bonnie Parker representing the headline story, “Our obsession with crime & criminals.”
 
So for Fall 2017 we had to have someone who represents investigative journalism, who is victim-oriented and unafraid to report the truth, an individual who has won awards for their integrity and professionalism.  The anniversary cover needs to feature an individual whose work includes covering the court system, human behavior, crime causation, corrections, and keeping our complicated society safe The cover story is an exclusive. So…who is it?
 

Here are some hints:
 
The individual’s first big story as an investigative journalist was uncovering corruption in a Sheriff’s department.
 
Has worked as a National Political Correspondent, investigative reporter, hosted a nightly newscast, and during 9/11 specialized in coverage of the war on terrorism.
 
One of their books covered a major United States case that made headlines across the world and continues to be debated, even years after the verdict.
 
Besides working as an investigative reporter and an author, the first year anniversary cover person also does some voice work. But can they sing?

The Fall 2017 issue of True Crime: Case Files eZine will be available HERE on September 1, 2017 and reveals our special guest.  I hope you enjoy it.

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<![CDATA[“Not so great” ideas: RVs for book tours]]>Wed, 12 Apr 2017 01:23:54 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/-not-so-great-ideas-rvs-for-book-tours
 
I began perusing RVs as a means to travel to my next book tour beginning this May. The initial idea was very exciting because I love buying a car: the haggling, the cat-mouse-cheese. But I did not know buying an RV is like buying a house, and buying a house has a space in hell between dental work and stubbed toes.
 
My life is simple. I want something small, not grand. I have educated myself on all the classes A-D (privately adding “Class Z” - the RVs you would expect a serial killer behind the wheel). Something I can afford, a sound investment that doesn’t mean I must sell 5.9 billion books to pay for (Those of you who are knowledgeable about RVs are saying, “Ha ha, little one! So thought we…”).
 
I stop at big, nice RV lots boasting a variety of sleek-looking, shining road warriors begging for exotic adventures. “I want a class C,” I explain to Mr(s). Salesperson. “I would consider a D.” Sounding as if I am talking to an implant clinician, I try not to giggle.
 
Salesperson asks, “What is your price range?” I don’t want to sound financially challenged, but I don’t want to sound filthy rich - a delicate balance (think “Grey Gardens,” chickens). Salesperson shows me a very cool RV. Wow! Everything I need. Nothing fancy, a warranty, nothing tres la-la, just a bed, a bathroom, a sound motor, and space to chill bottles of Coca-Cola. What a deal! And then I look at the price tag. “Why don’t I just buy a house?”
 
“Oh, you finance them like a house!” Salesperson says gleefully.
 
I don’t say what I am really thinking (which is a rarity): “Why don’t I just buy a new house?” or “For this I could buy a second house and just drag it behind my car.” Or my first response: “Why do these things cost so much! See how meth causes grandiose ideations!”
 
I casually ask for the least expensive RV on the lot. “Well, it’s rough,” says Salesperson, grimacing, like I just asked to drive a Class Z fresh off the trolling fields. But I learn the idea of “rough:” It could use some this-n-that, but nothing expensive. It’s older, but the engine is sound. It needs cosmetic adjustments on the outside, but it has a good heart. I realize I am looking at myself in the form of a Minnie Winnie.
 
Then I learn RV buying is akin to car buying. There is no way anyone is going to finance a “classic.” So my choices are 1. $7,000 appears in a box on my doorstep surrounded by rainbows and a tag reading “for you,” or 2. I finance a $50,000 hotel on wheels just to use on book tours and weekend retreats (Is it a real weekend of camping if “camping” involves an electric step-down, full length mirrors, and a wet bar?).
 
If I were going to drive to Zimbabwe or Mt. Everest or Yonkers to do presentations and book tours, I would consider the “investment,” as Salesperson likes to call it. Who wouldn’t like to kick back with a temperature-controlled leather chair with a frosty glass bottle of Coke and homemade s’mores after a day of discussing murder and gore? Who wouldn’t like having your shotgun passenger go make loaded nachos while flying down Route 66?
 
But I am just an author. I love to write, love to share my work with people who appreciate good books, and to meet these people. I am not a mega rock star or the doctor who cured the common cold. I am a minimalist, not a luxury – seeking diva. I have to travel as I have been: rental cars, hotels, and snacks on the fly.  Sometimes, great ideas are akin to Girl Scouts selling cookies: you pat them on the head, smile widely, say “no, thank you,” and walk away.
 
I hope to see you on the book tour. I will be the one in the four-cylinder Kia.
 
 
 
 
“She is Crazy!” Madness and Murder in Memphis will be available on May 18, 2017 through Wild Blue Press.  Judith A. Yates is now booking signings and presentations. You can schedule an appearance by CLICKING HERE
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<![CDATA[Why do we fear who we fear?]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 04:34:29 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/why-do-we-fear-who-we-fearPictureThere are an estimated 5,000-8,000 KKK members in the US today.
The man carefully set the backpack down near the street and then drifted off to become another face in the crowd. Inside the backpack was a radio-controlled pipe bomb, metal shards, a welded blast plate, and rat poison (preventing bloody wounds from clotting) with a blast range of approximately 1,000 feet. Its purpose was to cause multiple casualties and to send a statement. There were no warnings. There were no threats; it was just a timed bomb set to kill and maim as many innocent people as possible.
This was not the Boston marathon bombing of April 2013, but the Spokane bombing attempt in January 2011, set to go off during the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial march. The attempt was not made by Islamic extremists; it was the work of a white man named Kevin William Harpham, a white supremacist organization member, a racial extremist, who believed 9/11 was a government / Jewish conspiracy.
Construction workers discovered Harpham’s backpack, ultimately stopping the disaster. Harpham was arrested. Harpham told the Judge who ultimately sentenced him to 32 years, “the bomb was built as a protest against concepts like multiculturalism and unity … it would be no different than a Christian person protesting gay pride or gay marriage.” (Source)
Kevin Harpham’s attempt is only one of the 94 percent of terroristic acts committed by non-Muslims (Source). The National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) released its 2011 Report on Terrorism, revealing, "In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered 82 - 97 percent of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years."(p.14) “The number of U.S. citizens dying in terrorist attacks increased by 2 people between 2010 -2011 (p. 17). 
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports, “unstable and unsecured TVs and large pieces of furniture kill a child every two weeks” by tipping over. This means people are more likely to be killed by the refrigerator  falling on them than becoming a casualty of a foreign terrorist. There is another killer to fear in our own homes: people are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, or chronic lung disease than dying from a terrorist attack.
Yet despite the statistics, U.S. citizens are inundated with fear about Muslims, international terrorists, jihad, and people emigrating from other countries. The intimidation and fear has a sole intent of keeping us scared, in that “yellow” zone: to ensure we are the “good guys,” and “they” are the “bad guys.” Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are easier to hate than Kevin William Harpham and Frigidaire. 
Picturing death by a falling refrigerator seems so silly. Physical ailments lurk out there; they pounce silently, but there are prerequisites, risk-taking warning signs (smoking, drugs).  The domestic terrorists blend into our society and rarely make or keep headline news. Foreign terrorists groups also lurk out there, ready to pounce, but consistent, multiple studies reveal these terrorists are not half as dangerous as domestic terrorists/racial extremists.
Yet the media and the politicians continue to warn us about Muslims, Jihad, and Middle Eastern terrorism in our own backyards. The media and politicians cloak an agenda in these scare tactics: more viewers, more votes. Never mind the lies, the false fear, the propaganda and prejudice being created.
And there always has to be a bad guy, someone to blame, to help us feel safe and secure in America. As I explain in my book “How to Recognize the Devil,” the real bad guys are just another face in the crowd, blend into our society, and rarely make or keep headline news. The media and the politicians are very good at picking who the “bad guys” will be. Too many in society believe it because they read it, heard about it, or are affiliated with the political party. Failure to educate oneself is a dangerous thing.
 
 
“Everything with respiration would be dead by morning. How much sweeter could there be than a big stack of smelly bodies?”
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Glendon Crawford, Ku Klux Klan member and industrial mechanic, planning his collaboration in building a radioactive device for large-scale killing of Muslims and government officials. (Source)


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<![CDATA[A questionnaire for Oklahoma Rep. John Bennett]]>Sun, 05 Mar 2017 21:05:59 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/-a-questionnaire-for-oklahoma-rep-john-bennettPicture
​A mantra I use, instill in students, and share: “If you don’t stand up to something, then you are accepting it.” Republican Oklahoma State Rep. John Bennett makes me  stand up … and stay standing. So I have a questionnaire for him.
 
According to the Associate Press (March 4, 2017), “(Bennett) once likened Islam to cancer required Muslims to answer several written questions… before (Bennett would) agree to meet with them.” The questionnaire was handed out during Muslim Day at the Capitol, a day “created to encourage Muslim members to meet with elected officials” (Snopes.com)
This questionnaire included:
 
"Do you beat your wife?"
In the United States, a woman is battered every 15 seconds by an intimate partner. One in five have been victimized by rape or attempted rape. At least one in four U.S. women  experience some form of abuse in their lifetime.
 
"Mohammed was a killer of pagans, Christians and Jews that did not agree with him. Do you agree with his example?"
Crime appears in all religious texts, because crime is a part of society. It is part of our history. We are surrounded by crime every day of our lives. The majority of people reading this have been personally touched by murder. In the New American Bible, for example: “Everyone who would not seek the Lord was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.” (2 Chronicles 15:12-13)
 
I have heard that, according to accepted Islamic sources, Mohammed, at the age of 49, married a 6-year-old girl, and that he had sex with her when he was 52 and she was only 9 years old. Is that really true?
The majority of sexual assault victims in the U.S. are between 11-17 years old. 62,939 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in 2012. An estimated 70% of sexual assaults against children are not reported to authorities. Persons the child knew committed 75% of those crimes. (Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Criminal Victimization Survey).

 
Domestic violence, murder, and child abuse occurs in households identifying as Catholic, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Wiccan, Islamic, Native American... you get it. 76% of Americans identify as “Christian.” Less than 1% of the U.S. population identify as Islamic (source).
 
So here is a questionnaire for Rep. Bennett before I agree to ever meet with him:
  1. You identify as Christian, the largest religious group in the U.S. To what disease would you compare that?
  2. Have you ever assaulted your wife? If you did, would you report it?
  3. Have you ever had sexual thoughts of any of your 4 children? If you did, would you report it?
  4. On your website, you state, “I had the great responsibility for defending the freedom of this country.” Is that freedom for all, or freedom of a select few? Explain.
  5. You told Tulsa World,  “According to the Qur’an … (women) may indeed have physical harm done to her … (for disobedience).” You have said the Bible is the guidelines for life (source). 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 reads: "Wives, be subject to your husbands … the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church." Your response?
  6. Re. the question "I have heard that...is that true?" As an elected official, do you not check resources?
 
If you have any questions for Rep. Bennett, you can send them HERE. He has stated he is all about “being there for people.”



Help with escaping domestic abuse: click here


Resources include HERE and HERE
Photo of J. Bennett source


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<![CDATA[Shock events, razzle-dazzle, rabbits, and crime]]>Tue, 31 Jan 2017 18:26:54 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/shock-events-razzle-dazzle-rabbits-and-crimeThere are certain events that occur in our lives, that rally us together: as a nation, as a special interest group, and/or as an individual sharing specific thoughts and emotions with like-minded souls. This is called a “Shock Event.” It is also a “Razzle-dazzle.”
 
According to Boston College history professor and Harvard graduate Dr. Heather Richardson, “(A shock event) is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into chaos. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order.”
 
Meanwhile, while society is rallying, protesting, and shouting (IN CAPS) on social media, “those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event.” (Source
Distraction: the age-old, best kept secret of all magicians. Keep everyone’s attention elsewhere while adding a card, releasing a trap door, preparing the rabbit to pop out of the hat.
 
In “Chicago” one of my favorite performances (and based on a real crime story), smooth talking, slick attorney Billy Flynn tells his worried client prior to stepping into the courtroom, “Relax, kid. It’s all an act.” He sings how the trick is to keep everyone off balance, looking the other way, while the legal team pulls a myriad of distractions to make people say and recall what may not be true. “Razzle-dazzle ‘em,” he croons, “Show 'em the first rate sorcerer you are.” Sure enough, his very guilty client is found “Not Guilty” based on stoic belief in the truth, when the truth is only a puff of smoke.
 
In the media, in politics, in crime, there is the dynamic of “Shock Event” / “Razzle-Dazzle” that keeps us buying papers, watching the news, arguing and debating, and tuning in tonight for the BIG announcement. Anyone who calls “bluff!” is labeled a whiner, conspirator, un-American, a bleeding heart. “You bleeding heart, whining, liberal Commie hippy, go live in Russia if you don’t like it.”
 
The Un-American Activities Committee shocked and razzled with the “Red Scare” in the 1940-1950s. The 2003 invasion of Iraq was a result of a shock event, “WMD.” The War on Terror creates a national distrust based on the actions of a few. While they all created a “Bad Guy” (because there always has to be a bad guy) and everyone was distracted by pointing the finger at this Bad Guy, the card was turned, the secret trap door sprung open, the rabbit slipped through a hat. Meanwhile, the media sold news, the politicians worked it, and crimes were clandestine.
 
Criminologists know there is always more (to any story) than what meets the eye. As an investigator studies a crime scene, and a researcher keeps digging for information, our society can learn the truth by refusing to be blindsided with “shock and razzle.” Society needs to be investigators and researchers when faced with chaos. While everyone else is gasping at the magic, look for how that rabbit gets into the hat. 
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<![CDATA[My writing dates back over 35,000 years]]>Tue, 22 Nov 2016 18:24:15 GMThttp://judithayates.com/blog/-my-writing-dates-back-over-35000-yearsGeologists have determined the oldest cave paintings in the world are on Sulawesi Island, in Indonesia, in a cave called Leang Timpuseng. The drawings are at least 35,400 years old. This explains why I write true crime.
 
The drawings in Leang Timpuseng prove that people have always wanted to write, to tell their story, to leave a mark. These ancestors used handmade paint and a smooth wall for jotting it down: ideas, visions, observations, fiction or nonfiction. This includes stories of crime and punishment..
 
New Archaeology notes, “Archaeology suggests that the first writing emerged around 6,000 years ago.” Writing with pictures evolved to letters. Illustration to word, though it continued to be the same communication.
 
The first book “written” on the typewriter was Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi  (Twain did not type it himself; he said the typewriter caused him to swear too much; the famous memoir was dictated to a typist, who, presumably, did not cuss).
 
An article in The New York Times notes “the graffiti movement that took root in New York in the 1970s and ‘80s more powerfully than anywhere else, spawn(ed) a new American art form.” When a pen and paper are not available, we write on walls to voice our thoughts and actions. From the Latin King’s tribute to gang members lost to artists who see the city as one big blank canvas, from the “fuck all ya’ll” to the “impeach Trump,” to the bathroom wall scratching of names and hometowns, humanity has a need to write and draw, to create for the world to see and share.
 
Authors and storytellers know writing is in our DNA, our history. Everyone has a book in his or her head. Some try to publish; some just “have to get it all out” of their mind.
 
I came from a generation where we handwrote all of our school composition papers. We were introduced to word processors and then personal computers (screeee …”you’ve got mail”) and now we bang or yap into a machine. When preparing a book, I handwrite all of my notes because there is something I like about the feeling of a pen in hand, of a part of me flowing onto my notepad to tell someone’s story (And, 90% of the time, I can read what I jotted out). Each of my books has several binders stuffed with all of the information that stands behind the actual product: research, court documents, legal papers, et. al. Much of this is handwritten: interview notes, notes to self, to-do lists, contact information, directions, instructions. For the actual product, I use my Mac (a fellow investigator said I was the fastest two-fingered typist he had known). From the notes to the keyboard to the screen, my letters and figures meld into a story.
 
Writing is just a part of our culture, like crime and love. We integrate it into our expressions: The writing's on the wall, written in stone. Humans share information: Did you read Facebook? The newspaper said… And now, with social media, we return to writing on a wall by posting, tweeting, and emailing. The wall is now electronic; our words are digital letters, pictures, and symbols. People leave legacies for the future, they rant, and they send condolences, and celebrate ... and onto the same screen I write my tales, my books, just like 35,400 years ago when my ancestors wrote in Leang Timpuseng.
 

The first known version of The Code of Ur-Nammu (ca. 2100-2050 BC),the oldest known tablet containing a law code and the basis of today’s laws. (Wikipedia.org for free use)
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