He was too good to die. He was too goddamned good to suffer and die like this, losing everything that made him a genius bit by bit with still so much to say. He was the best writer I've ever read--and I say this as someone with a classical education, someone who's read Shakespeare and Miller and Brecht and Faulkner and Hemingway and Austen and any number of Great Authors you would care to name. He was that good. He was better. He was the best satirist since Jonathan Swift--and I don't mean "best" in the sense of funniest or wittiest, although he was that too. He was the best because he understood humanity and he understood people, the vast mass of us and the individuals, and his satire illuminated the human condition and made you a better person for reading it.
He taught me an infinite amount about the craft of writing, simply by reading him. Every book was a masterclass on the art of plotting, the art of storytelling. But more than that, he taught me the art of having something to say--his books were driven by passion, by a deep and abiding belief that you could use art to illuminate the injustices of the world, both great and small, and that illuminating them went some small way to curing them. Not enough, never enough--he knew that, which was why he kept writing right up until the end, but it was better than nothing.
His writing may never get the respect it deserves. It's fantasy, and it's funny fantasy at that, and the arbiters of quality have never really been comfortable with the idea of humor being as important as everything else in the human experience. But he deserves all the respect in the world. I never met him, but goddammit, he's the kind of man you have to mourn simply because he was the best ever and we will never see anyone his like again, and to lose him is to see the world diminished. I'm crying right now while I write this and I don't care.
And because I will never have the skill with words that he did, and I will never be able to eulogize him the way he deserves, just...goddammit.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
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I agree with everything you said. The world is a far sadder place for his passing. I read the news today and couldn't stop myself from shedding tears.
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