The ideas, man. The enthusiasm. The passion. The sincerity.
Though I only spent a single weekend with him, Cort McMeel had about as much important and true impact on my life as any writer, editor, publisher I can think of. It was his (and Michael Langnas's) vision for and execution of Murdaland magazine that was my first literary drill Sgt. slapping down my lazy, smirky writing and chewing me out but good about what the fuck I thought I was doing, and why didn't I just do the world a favor and man up or shut up. I didn't even have to read the thing to know bullshit had been called on my ass. The image of Cort leveling his weapon at the reader on the cover of the first issue set the tone. Back away from this book with your presumptions and your MFA. Back off - your skin must be at least this ( ) thick to proceed.
But I did read it, and like Saul on the road to Damascus, was struck temporarily blind and knocked off my ass. When the scales fell from my eyes, I was a born-again zealot. I went forth with new purpose and vision.
I never saw him again.
|David James Keaton, Matthew McBride, Frank Bill, Jedidiah Ayres, Cort McMeel, Les Edgerton, Erik Lundy|
It doesn't surprise me that someone with such brightly burning highs would know the other side too. I wish... I wish that I'd pried into his life more. I wish I'd been less content to benefit from the runoff of his life-force and pushed back a little harder when, in retrospect, he clearly needed it.
Y'know what I want, brother? I want five minutes in the ring with you followed by a big weepy, pulverizing hug and a fresh brainstorming session over something cold. I want you to turn me on to a dozen new books and authors in as many minutes simultaneously impressing upon me the weight of my ignorance and that your strength was mine to lean on, that, with your boundless energy and generous spirit at my disposal, I'd find the fortitude to rectify my pitiable situation.
I want the opportunity to return the favor.
Read more memorials to Cort by: Les Edgerton, Benjamin Whitmer, Mario Acevedo, Andrea Dupree, Brian Lindenmuth, Kevin Hardcastle.