St. Paul author Daniel Hardy died of a heart attack on Saturday (Read his obituary here).
Daniel had been working on a book about a man who he thought--and had pretty strong evidence to back it up--was the basis for Fitzgerald's Gatsby. According to the obituary Daniel had just finished the book, which is little consolation, but if you are involved with writing, you know that this fact offers at least some.
I had talked to Daniel about possibly excerpting part of this book in InDigest when talks with publishers got further along. According to the obituary, his wife, Mary, is going to try to publish the book posthumously. I hope she can. I was always severely interested in Daniel's updates on the progress of the book. I would see him in a local coffee shop or bookstore and he would excitedly--well, as excitedly as he got, he seemed a pretty laid back guy--tell me some far fetched story that he had learned through his research about his Gatsby's escapades.
It really does seem like a fascinating book. Maybe InDigest will still have the opportunity to publish an excerpt.
But that's for another time.
Now is a time to offer our condolences. To say our thoughts are with all of Dan's loved ones. To mourn the loss of a literary St. Paulite. And to celebrate his life's work and passion.
I think this highlights some thoughts from David's last post as well - writing is really fucking hard.
Talking frequently to Daniel about his ten plus years of work on his book made me remember how important writing is to society, and to individuals. He put a lot of passion and hard work - and a good chunk of his life - creating an in depth study on whether Cushman Rice could have been the real inspiration for the legendary Gatsby. Something that could have been a little literary and intellectual, but he made chatting on the subject something to look forward to, something that was unabashedly intriguing.
We wish Mary Hardy the best of luck continuing Daniel's work. It's a heavy task, but if the book is even half as fascinating as talking with Daniel about his research was it could only be a remarkable book.
It is surely no easy task to pick up his year's of labor at this point, so we offer our condolences for the loss of very funny, intelligent man that we had the good fortune to meet. Our thoughts are certainly with his family and friends.