Saturday, July 25, 2009

R.I.P. E.L.H.

I am truly saddend by the death of author E. Lynn Harris. Read/listen to the NPR report here. I only read one book, but that's all that I needed to feel inspired. He was an openly gay black man who wrote novels about gay black characters that made the New York Times Bestsellers list. I was an aspiring novelist hoping to write about gay Asian characters. I thought, If Mr. Harris can do it, I can do it to.

We were different writers. I wanted to write deep, thoughtful work exploring the human condition, while Mr. Harris wrote fun, dashy, soap operetic novels that could be digested in one sitting. Regardless, we relied on the same medium to tell stories.

What made me respect him even more was his gumption. This was a man who couldn't get his first novel published. So, he self-published it and sold copies ouf of the back of his trunk. Amazing.

I regret not meeting him. However, I firmly believe that one leaves this earth when all the work one needed to do is done. Mr. Harris, thank you for your work. You did a great job!


Frederick Smith said...

Great post Noel. I agree. I am truly saddened too by his loss. He was a literary inspiration to me too.

Peter Wallace said...

Way too young. He was a delight at a signing I met him at, and have thoroughly enjoyed several of his books. He will be missed.

Los Angelista said...

I am still stunned by his untimely death. I was just interviewed last week by another site about great summer beach books and I gushed that anything by E. Lynn Harris would be fab for the beach. Absolutely loved his books and I think they did so much to break the barrier of talking about being gay in the black community. So much more left to do in that regard, but he made a great start.

Cheryl said...

Like most artists, I live for rejection + perseverance = success stories. E. Lynn Harris' sounds particularly inspiring.