Denis Johnson has passed away, and it’s a pretty sad minute here.
Johnson was inspiration for a lot of us. And de-inspiration too. Sometimes a really great piece of writing spurs you on, and sometimes it’s so good as to be overwhelming, making a person think, “Why bother? I’m never gonna do anything THAT good.”
A short passage from the end of one his stories always sticks out in my mind:
All these weirdos, and me getting a little better every day right in the midst of them. I had never known, never even imagined for a heartbeat, that there might be a place for people like us.
That has been a guiding principle for me. In writing, to create a place for people like us.
Thanks, Mr. Johnson. I hope you found that place in life. And that you knew how far you went towards creating it for the rest of us.