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I had planned to write a rave review of Niels Arden Oplev’s terrific film of Steig Larson’s incredible novel THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO for this second blog, but due to all the insanity surrounding the publication of my new book CITIES OF NIGHT, I haven’t had the time to go see the must-watch movie a second time and have only just finished the book.
So then I thought I’d be self-indulgent and write about The Dark Carnivale, the multimedia publication launch/burlesque/magic/art-gallery show I arranged for the official debut of said book, my first short story collection, last weekend (after all, editor Chris Alexander has given me carte blanche to write whatever I want in this blog), but I am really not that much of an egotist. (Unfortunately, in this day and age of publishing, to be a successful writer you must also become a relentless self-marketing machine.) And rereading the wonderful tributes to David Everitt, the man who launched my professional writing career, rearranged my priorities. (Dear Dave passed away from ALS, a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s Disease—a terrible, horrible affliction—on May 7: go here for the Fango Family obit, here for “Uncle” Bob Martin’s tribute to his editorial cohort and here for Tony Timpone’s memories.)
David (“Call me Dave, not Mr. Everitt; that makes me sound like a schoolteacher”) was a great guy, a wonderful editor to work with—although I’ll never forget the one time he shouted at me down the phone and chewed me a new one, but more on that below. He was very witty and could crack you up regardless of his often somber (at least to me) and very serious demeanor.
Dave bought my first professional, international feature article and then asked me to become Fango’s first (and only mastheaded) British correspondent. He taught me how to write really good journalism (I have never taken a course in that or any other kind of creative writing, was a total screw-up in Comprehensive School—ages 11-18, i.e. high school—although I excelled at English lit and art, and decided not to go to film school because the Brits sucked and I couldn’t get a donation out of that guy who made JAWS to pay for my NYU tuition), the importance of a definitive word count and to juggle multiple deadlines. (N.B.: Dave would have killed me for such a run-on, stream-of-consciousness sentence like that!)
He had a distinctive, stylish dress sense and appreciated a damn fine tie. And he was a wonderful man, and although I only met him three times in the flesh during my first visit to NYC and the original FANGO office at 475 Park Avenue South, which was the size of my bathroom, he left an indelible imprint on my life—one which is still visible today, almost 29 years later, and will be present for the rest of my life.
Dear Dave—I wish I had had the opportunity to get to spend more time with you, to get to know you as a person, as a beloved father and husband. I would not have the career I have today, nor all the memories and friends and vital experiences for over half my life, if you hadn’t kicked my arse back in the mid-’80s. And wherever you are, my thoughts are with your family, and I’m sure you still have a joke to crack, deadpan (and probably still think I was an idiot for suggesting a Monster Invasions piece on INSEMINOID’s Nick Maley doing the makeup FX for Duran Duran’s silly “Wild Boys” video—the only time you shouted down the phone at me).
Coming up next: How did an 18-year-old kid in the UK become FANGO’s British correspondent? And what did Dave Everitt buy him for breakfast?
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