Took me a while to find my way. I think I've got it now. Spent half an hour adding friends - couldn't figure it out - not friendship, the adding part. I did wonder for a moment whether adding friends might entail obligations like being best man at weddings or a godparent... **** This Summer, my fifth novel sees the light of day. It is a hardboiled, noir novel that some of the friends I've added have read already and been kind enough to tell me they enjoyed. I'll also be publishing a short story in BRONX NOIR - a major publication credit by my lights. But these latest two works are very different from the books I've written and will continue to write. The change has made me think. Why write noir? Perhaps a better question is whether the Western world can produce noir. My next novel is pretty bleak, but I can only imagine what someone who lived through the siege of Sarajevo or the genocide in Rwanda would think. Or people in the West Bank or Anbar Province, Iraq. Over twenty million people in the world are held as slaves. What is noir to them? Or to child soldiers? This is what usually comes to mind when I hear complaints from readers about swearing in novels - not when they say they don't like to read it. They can like or dislike anything they want and it's their dime. But sometimes you hear that the writers shouldn't write these stories with terrible things happening in them. I think to myself that I'd give up the right to write this kind of story if the world would simply oblige me by having no noir stories to tell. When noir and hardboiled is a mere matter of far-fetched imaginings, I, for one, would be willing to stop writing noir and hardboiled. Anyway, that's wht I had to say.