Going back to the beginning

It finally happened: after celebrating one year of semi-regular writing, by the end of April I hit a wall that turned into a months-long hiatus.

No particular reason why I took a break from writing, but a bunch of things seemed to hit all at once. Work has gotten really busy, and my personal life has taken some dramatic turns, but most of all I’ve reached a strange state of ennui with true crime TV and podcasts. I’m not sure why, but sometime after all my favorite shows wrapped up, something fizzled out. Instead of working through my reading recommendations, I placed library books on hold and never picked them up. Instead of tuning in for new show premieres, I binged out on Letterkenny and LOLed. Instead of plugging in to my massive untapped podcast list, I’ve cycled through Carly Rae’s latest more times than I could count. (For what it’s worth, I very highly recommend the last two.)

I realized that I’ve been feeling overwhelmed for awhile, but once I admitted it to myself I decided that maybe a burnout break was just what I needed to reassess what matters moving forward. And not just for me personally, but with this blog: What do I have to say about true crime/crime fiction these days?

To figure out what comes next, I’m going back to where I began.

My Favorite Murder brought me into this world, and so it’s only fitting that I turn to Karen and Georgia once again to help me answer this question. I haven’t listened to the show in months, and so I’d almost forgotten about the release of their book until a million murderinos flooded my Instagram feed with pictures of the cover. Their palpable excitement gave me the pep talk I needed to get back in the game, and I already feel like I’m coming back home. (The reviews ain’t bad either — I’ll share my own soon!)

As I sit back and ponder what’s next for my true crime obsession, and this blog, I’m also contemplating the current state of our beloved genre. We’ve reached peak True Crime, and what used to be our guilty pleasure has gone totally mainstream. It’s also showing no signs of slowing down, which begs the question: what purpose should it serve for those of us who consume it?

In my early murderino days, it was incredible to watch as my fellow true crime fans emerged from the shadows and gathered together over their shared love of Forensic Files and the ID Channel. Murderinos have built an amazing community by organizing meetups, hosting yoga fundraisers, sharing their crafts and supporting each other on social media. I believe this is only the beginning.

I think murderinos are the best kind of humans, and now that we’re entering a new era for true crime, I wonder how we can capitalize on this inclusive spirit to contribute more to our communities, and not just to each other. Our enthusiasm for justice is a powerful force, and I want to explore how we can channel more of this energy into positive change.

How can we take true crime to the next level? A few ideas:

  • Remember Billy Jensen’s vision of a citizen sleuth community that helps hamstrung law enforcement to solve cases? Murder Squad is already taking a stab at this (sorry), but how could others carry out this mission?
  • There’s always room to explore and interrogate the issues within our justice system. But how do we feel about about “redemption shows“?
  • So many people are missing, around the world and here in Virginia. How can we do more to share their stories and find answers for families?
  • True crime media is shifting toward advocacy, and I believe that’s the future of this field. True crime podcasts and groups are already spreading awareness about mental health, #MeToo, domestic violence, institutional racism and so much more. How else can true crime contribute to social justice?

These are just a few ideas, and I’m eager to hear others’ thoughts on this. What’s the change you wish to see?

What do you think comes next for true crime?