Lyric Fire: When Writers Collide: My Fantasy Author Mashups

Memorial Day weekend is here and as we honor our fallen military men and women, we will gather with family, visit final resting places, sing songs and send up private prayers for those we have lost in war. This United States federal holiday is also used to relax and get away and lots of people will use the time to escape by reading novels.

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In a recent Facebook musing, I fantasized about some of my favorite authors (living and dead) writing a buddy book together. Of course we have writers who do this and do it well, (best friends Virgina DeBerry and Donna Grant, pictured above) husband and wife team Denene Millner and Nick Chiles and mother daughter duo Mary and Carol Higgins Clark), but I wanted to explore other literary duos who either had things in common that we don’t immediately think about, or those who were on opposite ends of the spectrum in their work and what it would be like if they paired up in prose.

The first pair that came to my mind was James Baldwin and E. Lynn Harris. As gay men, both writers were very forthcoming about their sexuality and wrote about it explicitly and eloquently. James’ writing because of the times he lived in, focused more on social and racial issues from a civil rights perspective and E. Lynn wrote in a more contemporary vein about men who were hiding their homosexuality and the impact their “down low” behavior had on the men and women they were involved with, their own psyches and society at large. To think both of these prolific men are gone shakes my soul. James Baldwin died at 63 of stomach cancer on December 1, 1987 and E. Lynn Harris reportedly succumbed to heart disease at age 54 on July 23, 2009. What wonderful stories they would have told together.

Moving along in my thought process, my heart palpitated with excitement when I thought about what a book written by poet Charles Bukowski and one of the first “street lit” authors Donald Goines would mean to the literary world. These men documented the darkness of our society and made it palatable due to their amazing writing ability. Charles, a raw and gifted poet, would punch readers in the gut with work about sex and low-life’s and then heal them with his poetic way with language. Donald, having lived the life of a drug addict and convict, created gritty worlds that no one wanted to inhabit themselves, but his authentic way of drawing readers in could not be denied. He was not what you would call “literary,” but what he lacked in polish, he made up for in passion. I’m sure the lines would have been very long at a Goines and Bukowski book signing.

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Not to leave the ladies out, can you imagine how wicked and playful a novel written by female sexuality experts Nancy Friday and Dr. Ruth Westheimer would be? I even came up with a title, Sensual Seniors. Truth moment, when I worked as a customer service rep at Barnes and Noble when I was in college, one of my favorite things to do was to browse the aisles and see which sections had the heaviest traffic and which books were the most popular. Hands down, the sexuality section always came out on top and Nancy Friday’s books were always the ones that customers loved to thumb through before they made their way to the cash registers. I’m sure a book by these two ladies would be very spicy and educational.

Thinking about mysteries and thrillers conjured up thoughts of Stephen King and Walter Mosley collaborating. I would most certainly plop down $24.95 for Devil in a Blue Dress Shirt Stained With Blood! I was almost giddy when I came up with that title. They are two of the most popular and impactful writers of our times and I’m sure a book penned by the two of them would hit #1 in record time.

When I polled my Facebook friends about their ideas, some very popular names kept popping up. Writer and bibliophile Jess Ann Goodman said she’d like to see Alice Walker team up with either Toni Morrison Jessie Redmon Fauset or Nella Larsen and playwright and author DeJuan Mason threw Zora Neale Hurston  into the mix. Gina Torres, blogger and political expert, also loves the idea of Alice Walker sharing her pen with Toni Morrison.

I would be in book heaven if any of the authors that are still able would partner up. How amazing would that be? So what about you? 

Which of your beloved writers would you like to imagine or actually see pull off a buddy book? Share in the comments!

© 2012 – 2014, TamekaMullins. All rights reserved.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Comments (24 Responses)

  1. Leah says:

    Tameka, I loved this post. It got me thinking about all the books I’ve read and how near impossible it is to pick favorites. I enjoy different writers for different reasons. I love J. California Cooper for her ability to say it simple without losing the pulse of the scenes in her writing. I also love Frank McCourt for similar reasons. I enjoy Anatole Broyard’s stream of consciousness writing along with James Joyce So… I would love to put J. California Cooper together with James Joyce and watch them tango. <3

  2. Leah! Yes! I knew you would jump in with some great pairings and that you did! What amazing writers and I would so love to see a Cooper Joyce collabo! Thanks for sharing dear heart!

  3. What a neat, original idea! I would have liked to see Tolkien and Lewis tag team. 🙂
    Blessings, Tameka!

  4. Hey hey Martha! How are you doing girl? Tolkien and C.S. Lewis! YES! They would be amazing! Thanks for hanging out! 🙂

  5. Andy says:

    Dear Tameka,
    You have so much enthusiasm that I can almost envision the sheer delight on your face composing this post! (smile) I’m not too much of a “literary” person myself, more a romantic poet but it sure would be fun to pair up with Kahlil Gibran, Rumi and/or Hafiz.
    Great post! Thanks for sharing.
    http://thoughtsofbeautyinthestillnessofdawn.blogspot.com/2011/01/flame-of-lonely-woman.html

  6. Hi, Tameka! ~
    What a creative and thought-provoking post. The videos were interesting and educational, too!
    I agree with Leah that the first challenge is just narrowing it down to a couple or few favorite authors — not an easy task…
    I’ll use my personal ‘mission statement’ as a guideline, which basically dedicates my work to nudging myself and others toward more powerful versions of ourselves through the synergistic use of SCIENCE, ART, and SPIRITUAL PRACTICE.
    Therefore I’ve chosen 3 ‘book buddies’, one from each of the disciplines mentioned, to collaborate on the most mind-blowing ‘self-help’ book of empowerment ever:
    Science: Maxwell Maltz, M.D., F.I.C.S., author of Psycho-Cybernetics (http://www.amazon.com/Psycho-Cybernetics-New-More-Living-Life/dp/0671700758)
    Art: J.M. Lee is a science fiction/fantasy writer who captures true Spirit with mind-bending and heart-wrenching storytelling (http://everything.explained.at/J._M._Lee/)
    Spirit: Apostle Paul who wrote, among other wise words, “Be ye transformed by the renewal of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

  7. What a mind blowing book that would be Linda! Wow. Amazing heavy weights in their fields. Love it mama! Thanks for weighing in! Apostle Paul! Yes! My daily challenge and motto! You’ve also given me some writers to check out!

  8. Tameka: Just noticed in the short time it took you to approve my comment that the link to J.M. Lee’s info has been deleted. You can check him out at https://www.facebook.com/joeyverse

  9. You must have been looking in my window Andy! I was definitely smiling and grinning! I love talking, thinking and writing about books and authors! Gibran and Rumi would be heaven for the eyes! Love your selections!

  10. Elramey says:

    Joyce Carol Oates and Kurt Vonnegut.
    I know Kurt is gone on, but his advice and his writing still lives…
    Plus, I thought you might enjoy Vonnegut’s advice below.
    I especially like his thoughts on writing for just one person.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyQ1wEBx1V0
    Here’s an interview with both Oates and Vonnegut on censorship.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xgfDcLzv7A&feature=fvwrel

  11. I love Joyce and Kurt. Great pairing! Thanks for the videos. Looking forward to watching!

  12. Dawn says:

    Well, my immediate thoughts weren’t of contemporary authors. I thought of the Persian mystic and poet, Rumi and Irish author and poet (and mystic), William Butler Yeats, because these two men and the way their minds worked have always been capable of stopping my breath. There’s that thought again, yes? Stopping the breath! Can you imagine what these two men could’ve created together? The mind truly boggles.
    I love these little exercises, Tameka. It leads us down lovely paths of whimsy. 🙂
    Much love,
    Dawn

  13. Rumi and Yeats! Yes! What a romantic mouthful. As a duo how wonderful their work would be. My mind is dancing. I love the way your mind works girl! Thanks for adding some fabulous authors to the mix Dawn!

  14. Dawn says:

    I posted this in reply to you at Healing Morning & wanted to share here. One of my favorite Yeats quotes:
    “When two close kindred meet, what better than call a Dance.” *sigh* 🙂

  15. Yes, that is a quote to swoon over! Love it!

  16. Up4Dsn says:

    I think those would be some amazing collaborations. I’ve never thought about what authors I would like to have work together before this post. Now you have my mind racing…lol. Thanks for that.
    I really like your site and will be stopping by more often.

  17. Thanks Up4Dsn! I’m going to challenge you to come back and add a few authors to the soup. I know you can do it! I enjoyed your blog as well. Nice meeting you in the blogosphere today. Cheers!

  18. David Smith says:

    Love this interesting concept of yours!! My fave author at this time is Jo Nesbo whom is the master of crime fiction, a friend recommended his work and it’s so addictive!! Combine that with Bernard Cornwell’s take on life in 9th century England. We would end up with a serial killer butchering prostitutes in dark alleys or commanding officers in the English army mysteriously dying in their sleep. Oh the intrique..I’d buy it!! Check out Jo Nesbo if you enjoy books that keep you guessing til the very end. Take care dear!!

  19. Hi David. That sounds like a spine tingling combo. I love true crime and crime fiction. Hmmm, I will have to check Jo Nesbo out. Nice selections!

  20. Funny! I’m always thinking of music artists I’d like to see collaborate but the thought never occurred to me to buddy up authors. The question has me stumped. I can’t think of anybody to pair up with William Shakespeare or Edgar Allan Poe. How about Poe and Spielberg?

  21. Hi CMoney! Thanks for visiting my blog! Wow, you’re mixing authors and directors! Cool. Now that’s really creative!

  22. This is beautiful Tameka but it would be a fantasy teaming up with Richard Bach or Paulo Coelho 😛

  23. Thanks Melissa! I have to check those writers out. 🙂

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