Posted on 3 Comments

William Gay is a genius

Crowd at sports arena

A literary one at least.

The deceased author William Gay, that is, not the former professional football cornerback William Gay.

Well, William Gay the cornerback may also be a literary genius, I’m just not aware of it.

But I am aware that Nic Pizzolatto is too a genius, at least of the screenwriting variation, as is evidenced by his hugely popular HBO series True Detective.

I watched season one of True Detective as soon as it was released, what… nearly ten years ago now.

I liked it. Maybe not as much as many seemed to have at the time, and certainly not as much as I like season two (I know, I know… I’m woefully in the minority on this one – I have never been much of a fan of Woody Harrelson’s acting, and I thought Matthew McConaughey’s character was a bit over the top), but I liked it enough to dig into the particulars of its development.

Which is when I discovered Nic Pizzolatto.

And which is when shortly thereafter I discovered Thomas Ligotti

As this highly misanthropic madman (both literally and literarily) genius author was a huge influence on NP and his creation and development of MM’s forlorn and highly misanthropic character Detective Rustin “Rust” Cohle.

TL is so down on humanity he wrote a hatefest about it in a less-than-joyful book called The Conspiracy Against the Human Race.

Come to find out there is an actual philosophical movement, however slight (hopefully), that actual believes that, for the sake of humanity, I guess, humanity needs to be disappeared.

Apparently, NP was so influenced by Tl that some/many believed he plagiarized the immensely pessimistically nihilistic author for much of MM/Cohle’s dialogue.

I can understand why (while imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, I do not condone plagiarism of any stripe), TL’s short stories are some of the most awesomely horrific stories I have ever read/listened to, and I truly appreciate NP for turning me on to the human depressant…

Although, to date, I have not yet been able to make it all the way through his anti-humanity book. It’s too depressing, simple as that.

Incidentally, during Joe Rogan’s last interview with Elon Musk recently, I was surprised to discover, seeing how well informed they both always seem to be, that neither of them seemed to be aware of TL or of his influence on NP or of the whole down with humanity philosophy as they first heard about the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement in a less than recent New York Times article entitled Earth Now Has 8 Billion Humans. This Man Wishes There Were None.

Rogan probably has heard of it before but as much dope as he smokes and as old as he’s getting to be, he probably burned out the brain cells responsible for recalling that information.

Anyway, long story short…

Or have I missed that bus already?

Anyway, for some reason I forget, a few weeks ago I mentioned to my son that I enjoy season two of TD much more than season one.

(Season three isn’t even in the discussion as it is immensely forgettable. And from what I’ve seen of the upcoming season four, it looks equally immensely forgettable.)

My son was shocked at my (poor) taste and went on to pan season two and praise season one, as do most.

So, I figured, since I’ve already watched season two three times, I might as well give season one another shot, seeing that it’s been nearly ten years since I last watched it.

And I recently finished rewatching it.

And I still enjoyed it, probably more because this time around I was familiar with TL and his work and the insight from it was appreciated.

And though I still prefer season two, I still liked season one enough once again to once again look up ol’ NP to see if he has been up to anything new.

Didn’t really discover anything new by NP that interested me, but I did discover this old Buzzfeed article that interested me greatly, as it lists all the literary influences of NP’s that went into the development of season one.

And it was from this article that I discovered William Gay.

The author, not the cornerback.

And I cannot believe I have never heard of this good ol’ boy literary genius before.

And by good ol’ boy, I mean that was one dude whose neck was severely reddened. Crispy, if you know what I mean*.

The good ol’ boy literary genius

I just finished listening to his collection of short stories called I Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down.

Never had I read/listened to a collection of short stories where ever single story is as completely fantastic as these are. Especially in a collection written by just one author.

Because my eyes are shot because of the side effects from my bone marrow transplant of so long ago, I listen to books now more than I read them.

Consequently, I have a pretty good ear for great narrators. Great as defined by me anyway.

The narrators for this collection are Christine McMurdo-WallisTom StechschultePete Bradbury, and Richard Ferrone, and they all are pitch perfect for their respective stories.

Tom Stescschulte has been a longtime favorite of mine and this to me is the best work he has ever done.

So, yeah, once again I must thank NP for turning me on to yet another amazing author.

And I hope I’m wrong about season four. I’m a fan of Jodie Foster so I hope she pulls it off.

So, that’s the short story long of it.

Oh yeah!

Since I’ve already missed the short bus, let bring up one last thing…

I’ll make it fast – punctuation be damned.

If you are a fan of audiobooks like I am but are not a fan of Audible’s expensive subscription like I am – the only reason I started my subscription back up recently is because I was offered and I accepted a one-month free promo (which they are betting I will forget to cancel but which I marked my calendar so to hell with them I won’t fall into that expensive trap) – then you must be estatic like I am that Spotify is now offering audiobooks for those who are subscribed with a premium membership like I am and all the books I have on my audible wish list are available on spotify as are many many more and my TBLT (to be listened to) list is so long now I probably won’t finish it until I’m in my eighties, which, sadly, is almost as close as my forties are far away…

Yeah…


*Apologies for the stereotype but, dagburnit that dude is one countrified dude. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just, well, you know how the stereotype goes…

3 thoughts on “William Gay is a genius

  1. I enjoyed this very much Kurt, and agree with the fact that William Gay is a genius. He typified the working man of the time in that he obviously didn’t want to be seen as strange by admitting that he was a writer, but thank goodness that he was eventually successful and able to “come out” as the genius he was.

    1. As always, I’m a step or two behind and have to work hard to try to keep up with you, good sir. 🙂

      I just can’t believe I have never heard of him until now as good as he is. I don’t know how he does it, but he hooks me right from the get go and doesn’t let go until the very last. I know I sound a bit hyperbolic but his writing amazes me. What’s even more amazing is that I can still be amazed anew this late in the game. I just started listening to The Lost Country. So far so good and I have no reason not to expect it will remain so.

      I’m happy you enjoyed the entry, my friend. Thank you for saying so.

Say it like you mean it