Thursday, January 21, 2010

Paul Quarrington

I was deeply saddened to discover today that one of my literary/musical heroes, Paul Quarrington, has passed away from lung cancer.

His books Whale Music, King Leary, Galveston, and Home Game are all favourites of mine. Each one of them made me laugh and made me cry, caused me to feel and caused me to think. Any one of these things can make a story great, but Paul's writing had it all.

Several years ago, when my first book was fresh off the presses, I found myself on the roster at the Windsor Book Fest. I was thrilled (and slightly intimidated) by the opportunity to meet one of my favourite authors, and I gladly stood in line to get Paul's autograph on his latest novel, Galveston. We had a great conversation about music, books, and film; he generously shared his time with every person who had lined up to meet him.

I tried to give him a copy of my book, but he insisted on buying a copy from the bookstore, and later that day he stood in my line to get me to sign it. It was such a classy thing for him to do, and that gesture of fellowship meant a lot to me.

Even after Paul was diagnosed with lung cancer and his health began to fail, he continued playing his music, writing new books, and living his life. His creative passion was an inspiration to anyone who wants to make music, write stories and poems, sculpt or paint or do anything else that adds beauty, meaning, and laughter to the world.

Celebrate Paul's life, and his work, by reading (or re-reading) one of his terrific books. I am going to start reading The Ravine today.