Saturday, July 21, 2012

Les is More

“Keep the ceiling low enough you can keep your hat on. Don't let anyone else invade your head.” Les Edgerton, AWW 2012, on writer’s block

I love this guy. Not in the madly in love-will- elope-with- him sense. He’s already married, so that would be weird. But one of the highlights of the Antioch Writer’s Workshop was each morning in the lobby of the campus building, Les Edgerton held court. Laptop open, papers and books scattered around him, Les obviously had work to do, but he never let that impede a chance to bond with any conference participant or faculty who stopped by to chat. Even people like me who were not signed up for his afternoon workshop. He is saucy and edgy, so the surname Edgerton is no accident.

Les, a mystery writer, screenwriter, essayist and blogger, makes no apologies or excuses for his background: ex-con (I'm all cleaned up now and you can invite me into your home and don't have to count the silverware when I leave.), former hairdresser (Warren Beatty in Shampoo had nothing on me), twice divorced (third time is the charm), and non-stop smoker (No, you don’t look like you carry matches.) There is no shit about Les Edgerton.

If you read his blog,
you will see his generous curiosity, and how he bonds with writers of all stripes. He is a treasure, and hopefully will be invited back to AWW. Even if you are not lucky enough to get in they limit the size, you can learn a lot by reading his book Hooked and listening to him in casual conversation.

A common thread I have found among most successful authors is their generosity, and Les is generous in spirit, time, and advice. In my many years of attending writers workshops and conferences, I have only come across two bestselling (herein unnamed) writers who were self absorbed and egomaniacal. Most authors are willing to pass the torch for mastering craft. Process and marketing work. Les not only made me laugh very day, he gave me a couple of agents’ names and said I should mention him in my queries, and he is also willing to give me a book jacket blurb when I find success with my own fiction. In his inscription, he wrote “I will be standing in line for you to autograph my copy of your book.”
I love you Les.

More gems from Les’s indomitable wisdom.
... Senility isn't when you forget to zip up your pants... it's when you forget to zip them down...

Advice for writers: There is no such thing as a synonym. There's just the perfect word. The perfect word doesn't come in groups.

If life hands you lemons... make lemonade. Then... try to find someone to whom life has handed vodka...

Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down to their level... and then beat you with experience.

Me with Les at AWW 2012. I am holding a copy of Hooked.
Happy Writing.


  1. I'm blushing, Laura... Have a slight correction--I've been married five times. One only lasted an hour so maybe I shouldn't count that one... Not the person to go to for advice on relationships probably... Other than that... I showed this to some friends and they asked who was the Les she was talking about... not the one they knew...

    Thank you so much--it was a gas talking with you and everyone else every day. I never wanted it to end! Now I'm back to reality, where each night before I go to sleep, my wife whispers gently in my ear, "Go toward the light..."

  2. LOL.
    Told you I can write great fiction!

  3. Glad to hear Les correct the number of marriages - I swear that second drink didn't have ANY alcohol in it, and I heard five - yes, FIVE - as Les said above. He was indeed a treat. I didn't realize we were all welcome to barge into his morning sessions, so next year (as I assume they'll invite him back), I'll do just that.

  4. They'd be crazy not to invite him back.