I'm not ashamed to admit it. I enjoyed Diane Vallere's new cozy mystery, SUEDE TO REST. I'm delighted Diane agreed to guest for the Femmes today. Better yet, she's giving away a copy of SUEDE TO REST to one commenter. Leave a comment and you may win an e-book or a paperback, winner's choice. --Elaine Viets
By Diane Vallere
In a recent interview promoting the upcoming movie Fifty Shades of Grey, Dakota Johnson said that she didn’t have trouble with the subject matter of the movie because she had no shame. I’ve certainly heard this claimed by people in the past, both famous and non-famous, but whether it’s because the movie’s promotions make it difficult to ignore or because I needed a subject for this blog post, I really started thinking about what it would mean to have no shame.
Me? I’m ashamed of lots of things. I’m ashamed that I have entire days with which to write and sometimes only manage a few hundred words. I’m ashamed when I finish more than half of a pizza by myself. I’m ashamed that I call myself a full time writer but have had to dip into my savings to make ends meet, and I’m ashamed that I’ve just admitted all of these things to you.
Shame is a built-in mechanism that guides most of us and keeps us in check. Sometimes we do things we know we shouldn’t do and are only ashamed when people find out. Shame can make us feel isolated and embarrassed by our actions, shunned by others and, ultimately, very much alone. Even so, I’m pretty sure none of us wants to live in a shameless society.
As readers and writers of mystery fiction, we want our characters to be human. To have emotions. To know right from wrong, to show loyalty, to believe that good will triumph over evil and to be willing to lay it all on the line to make it so. But we don’t want them to be perfect. Because if you hold up a mirror to the majority of us, we’re not perfect and we know it!
Shame—or rather, the lack thereof—is one of the main characteristics of sociopathic behavior. Sociopaths feel no remorse for their actions, which allows them to exist on a level most of us can’t understand. Exhibits of empathy, guilt, shame, or remorse are faked, acts learned because the rest of the world expects to see those emotions in certain unsavory situations.
For the purposes of this blog post, I’ll assume that Ms. Johnson was simply making a provocative statement intended to help move box office tickets and not confessing to something darker.
And as for me? I’m okay owning my shame. It keeps me from finishing the whole pizza.
About Diane Vallere:
After two decades working for a top luxury retailer, Diane Vallere traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. SUEDE TO REST, the first book in the Material Witness Cozy Mystery Series, has been nominated for the 2015 Lefty Best Humorous Mystery Award. Diane also writes the Mad for Mod Mystery Series, featuring a midcentury modern interior decorator who has modeled her life after Doris Day movies, and the Style & Error Mystery Series, featuring a former fashion buyer. Diane started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since.