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Jack Cady

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JV
Posted on Friday, January 16, 2004 - 10:27 am:   

Here's to Jack Cady--a great guy and a writer who taught myself and a lot of other people a heck of a lot about the art of writing. I'm very sorry to hear he's passed on.

JeffV
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ellen
Posted on Friday, January 16, 2004 - 12:56 pm:   

I was very sorry to hear this. He was a lovely man and a terrific writer.
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GabrielM
Posted on Friday, January 16, 2004 - 01:00 pm:   

I was just seeing that over on Locus. And Joan Aiken only recently. Very sad.
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Jonathan
Posted on Friday, January 16, 2004 - 04:37 pm:   

How very sad. Aas you say, a wonderful writer.
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Jetse
Posted on Friday, January 16, 2004 - 05:57 pm:   

Very sad indeed, I love his work, as well.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Monday, January 19, 2004 - 06:18 pm:   

I returned home from a vacation and was confronted with the terrible news that Jack Cady had died. Jack was one of the most talented, and at the same time, one of the most down to earth and enthusiastic people I have had the pleasure of publishing. This news was especially painful for me because I hadn’t spoken to Jack for several months. I had been planning on dropping him a letter ever since Night Shade was awarded a World Fantasy award in November. Weeks and months slipped by, and between the rush of the production schedule, and bustle of every day life, I never actually got around to telling Jack how much his collection, Ghosts of Yesterday meant to Night Shade, and to me personally.

It is all too easy to let the “little things” slide beneath the remorseless march of time, and it seems that only in times of tragedy and loss that these “little things” become recognizable as the important things that they are. Simple, common, everyday regrets such as this form the basis of much of the elegant and melancholy power of Jack’s fiction. It is a terrible irony that I am filled with these regrets today. I would like to use this forum to tell the world what I failed to tell Jack during the final months of his life.

When I first approached Jack Cady about the possibility of working together, he was filled with enthusiasm and energy. This was at the 2001 World Horror convention in Seattle. Though we only spent a short time with him that weekend, the raw energy of his personality was as obvious as it was infectious.

During the next year, I ended up working closely with Jack on his collection, Ghosts Of Yesterday. He asked for my thoughts and advice on the various essays and stories in the collection, and in doing so, he coaxed out of me the first true editorial work I have done for Night Shade. His affable and easily approachable manner helped me overcome the sheer intimidation I felt – here was a man who had been writing for longer then I had been alive, and he was asking me to give him advice on his work. His attitude put me at ease, however, and demonstrated that he was a writer that had been around long enough to not be caught up in games of ego… he was much more interested in the quality and effectiveness of his writing. He was eager and ready to go the extra mile to make it the best it could be.

This commitment to going the extra mile was once again demonstrated when I asked him for additional material after he had turned in what he thought was the final manuscript. A story that I had originally intended to be in the collection was tied up in an anthology, and I wanted to have another piece of fiction to fill out Ghost of Yesterday. Between finishing up the revisions on his autobiographical novel, Rules of 48, and putting a new roof on his house, Jack managed to write one of the best stories of the collection, and in my opinion, one of the best stories of 2003 – “The Ghost of Dive Bomber Hill.” I will never forget the joy of reading that story for the first time… here was a story – an incredble piece of fiction – that existed because of my editorial persistence, and Jack’s amazing talent and commitment to narrative excellence.

Jack’s novel, Rules of ’48 has been sitting on my desk for several months. I loved it, but was unsure about my ability to publish a southern historical novel that deals with race relations, rather then events fantastic. These fears of inadequacy lead to me putting off talking to him about the novel – I never took the opportunity to tell him how incredible I found the text to be. Just as Jack’s work deals with the importance of small things, it deals with people’s struggles to overcome their own fears and inadequacies. The first story in Ghosts of Yesterday… “The Lady with the Blind Dog” directly addressed these themes… I remember repeatedly complementing him on this story. I read this story at the annual Halloween ghost story reading at Borderlands books in October, and was once again overwhealmed by its simple, yet powerful message.

I find myself now wishing I had better headed the story's message. If I had, I might not be filled with the sense of missed opportunity, and regret. I refuse, however, to give in to this sense of loss. Far more important then what we have lost are the things that Jack has given us. During the last years of his life, Jack very generously shared his work with me, and trusted me to publish it. During the process, he taught me many things.

In death, as in life he continues to teach me.

I don’t know where you are Jack… I don’t know if you knew how important you were to me… but I want to world to know that my memories of you, and the work that we did together will always be treasured. Most importantly, I want to say thank you.

-JL

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