A Precious Organ
by ________Posted on April 10th, 2012 at 6:15 pm
I fished in Larry Brown‘s lake, which had good crappie, Florida bass, and catfish in it. (Brown’s posthumously published novel is called The Miracle of Catfish.) We chatted many times on his pier. Larry was great with his hands. He was finishing a solar-powered writing cabin on the south side of the lake when death by heart attach took him, a young fifty-three years of age. As Charles Bukowski says in one of his poems, “When death comes for him / It ought to be ashamed.” From almost zero resources except the books his mother got him at the lending library in Memphis and Yocona and Tula, Larry made himself a brilliant artist who knew his time would be short, with heart disease on his father’s side killing his pa at forty-nine, I think. His father was also a haunted WWII vet, bad to drink. Larry had 120 rejections before the Mississippi Review, a precious organ out of Southern Mississippi University, guided by Frederick Barthelme and Rie Fortenberry, took a short story. Then Shannon Ravenel of Algonquin Books discovered him and served as his exquisite editor and publisher in that fine house begun by Louis Rubin in North Carolina.