Tuesday, September 30, 2014

D. G. Myers

When Myers asked me last April when I was going to send him a review copy of The Astrologer, I felt like a real novelist for the first time. The Astrologer must be the worst novel Myers has ever recommended to people, but I will be forever struck by the interest he showed in new authors, and in books nobody had heard of. No one will be surprised when I say that I met him first through an online disagreement. Myers was a strong personality and he'd argue with anyone if he thought the topic important enough. So my first exposure to him was through internet scraps, scraps which for me quickly became exercises in overcoming fear; during any exchange with him, I was aware that Myers was the adult in the room and I should think carefully before I typed, even when I was calling him wrong-headed. "Respect me enough to argue with me," he said (or something very like that) on Twitter. Myers respected others enough to argue with them; if he addressed you, he thought you were smart enough to evaluate the opinions being batted around, yours and his both. I'm another one of those folks who knew Myers primarily through his blog, and while his taste in fiction did not greatly overlap mine, I find that his opinions on the cultural and personal worth of fiction and the duty of writers to "write well" (by which he meant to write with absolute honesty) have changed me, hopefully into a better reader and writer. His life touched mine but briefly, mine his but barely. And yet. Go with God, David Myers.

5 comments:

  1. Am I the only person who first met Myers through an online agreement? No, I suppose there's Patrick Kurp. That word "agreement" does not sound right. Regardless, the opposite of a disagreement.

    He occasionally made me feel real guilt that I did not spend more - perhaps all - of my time reading & writing about newer books.

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    1. Maybe I remember it wrong; maybe I found Myers' blog through your sidebar. Certainly he and I disagreed with some force, though.

      That guilt about not reading current books is something I feel every day. There are not a lot of living authors I read. As a living author, do I have an obligation to others?

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    2. Even worse, I am actually a reading a new novel by Jeffrey Renard Allen, a writer Myers never mentioned. I was looking forward to telling him about it. He would have been interested.

      It's actually set in the 19th century, the novel. Heaven forbid I wander too far off.

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  2. "The Astrologer must be the worst novel Myers has ever recommended to people" . . . Why must you be so hard on yourself and your work. Stop it! So there!

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    1. Myers reviewed many books far worse than mine, certainly. Some day I'll write about the publication history of The Astrologer. Anyway, what I really wish is that I'd been able to get a better novel into print in time for David to read it. Though maybe assuming such a claim on his time is sinful and selfish.

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