Friday, June 8, 2012

Write What You Know

The nonprofit 826DC organization is inspirational: in addition to providing after school tutoring in its Columbia Heights office, it turns young people into published writers and gives them proof their personal lives matter. George Pelecanos is inspirational: his conscience drives him. The two joined up a while ago after a simple appeal from an 826DC board member waiting in line for the noted author's autograph on his umpteenth book about Washington's underworld (for lack of a better term).
At a June 7 fundraiser for 826DC, GP repeated his mission - to write about what he knows best (just like 826DC students do). In his case, a special best as son of a Greek diner owner where he began working at age 11 and then ran the place when his father got sick. (The diner became today's C.F. Folks on 19th St. NW next to the Palm, a lobbyist and politicians hangout.) GP isn't much interested in politics, he says. Not cynical, just that he "doesn't like to write about them." He has more feeling for the characters he knew during the years he spent working  blue collar jobs to pay the rent. His first book came out when he was 31. It was the first book he ever wrote.  His latest, "What It Was," out in January, was written "in secret - outside my regular contract. I just wrote it and sent it up to New York." 

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