The Old Man

On a sufficiently different note from the last entry I thought it warranted its own, Mom reminded me that today would have been my grandfather’s 100th birthday. He was a poet and a writer and a terrible old grump, and believed that the best way to get to know somebody was to get into an argument with him. He lived with us my whole life, so a person learned to defend an argument pretty early in my house. :) He emigrated from County Tyrone in 1927, two months after he turned twenty, and returned to Ireland for the first time 63 years later, in 1990. He was nearly impossible to buy gifts for, although when I was in my teens I accidentally bought him a book he was genuinely delighted with: DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY. I’m still somewhat amazed that it was a success.

The other gift, of sorts, that I gave him that was a success was telling him that my first book would be dedicated to him. I really expected him to be around when I got published (it did not seem possible that the Old Man would die), but one afternoon, for some reason–I guess as a sort of just in case–I told him quite impulsively that I was going to dedicate my first book to him. The dedication wasn’t impulsive–I’d known for a long time I’d do that–but telling him was, and he was…completely astonished. He died later that fall, and I am so incredibly, incredibly glad I told him. And URBAN SHAMAN is, in fact, dedicated to Frances John Joseph McNally Malone, who would’ve been proud of me.

So if you have a moment, raise a glass to the Old Man, and to all the old men and women in your lives, too. I miss you, Grandpa.


  1. slovobooks

    I have volunteered to do the GoH interview with you next P-CON, and this was going to be one of the things I asked you about. What with his name and your name, I was going to surmise you had fairly deep and recent Irish roots. I also intend living to an incredibly curmudgeonly old age, so I salute the both of you, and all the long-lived people in my family whose genes are going to let me do so.

  2. mizkit

    Oh, how very excellent! I was wondering who’d be interviewing me. (Not, you know, in any active way, since it’s a year away, but still!) That’ll be a lot of fun. :)

    And you can still ask me about it. Most people don’t read my blog, after all. :)

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