I’ve been meaning to get back here for almost a month to mention that my favorite local author and one of my favorite authors from anywhere, Donald Harington, died early last month.
He’s been called the greatest unknown writer in America, and I’d agree with that sentiment. His books, many of which chronicle the happenings in the fictional central Arkansas town of Stay More, are funny, heartwarming, well-written, creative, the kind of stuff writers want to read, and that readers want to read, too.
He just had a new book out that I haven’t read yet, and it will be bittersweet knowing that’s the last one there will be.
My husband introduced me to Harington long before he was my husband. He had me read The Cockroaches of Stay More, a painfully funny book from the point of view of cockroaches who see the people around them as their gods. It doesn’t sound as brilliant as it is.
I saw him once at the library, or a bookstore, or some other appropriately literary place I don’t quite remember. I wished I could have gone up to him and told him what his books have meant to me, how they showed me that you don’t have to live in New York or even be famous to be a great and well-respected writer (yes, I could have gone up to him, but he was deaf, so it wouldn’t have worked out well).
Thank you, Donald Harington, for all you did to put Arkansas on the literary map, and for the stories that will endure. Stay More forever.