It might have been more appropriate if this was March 17th, but today is International Ken Bruen Appreciation Day.
I met Ken last fall, in Madison. He’s such a warm person I imagine I felt as so many others have when they met him – a sense of camaraderie and acceptance and instant ease with the man. Ken is so likeable and genuine, and down to earth.
I emailed him afterwards, to say it was great to meet him. I never made it through my entire list after conventions, but I do get some of those emails off. Most people don’t write back.
Ken Bruen did.
It told me a lot about him, what I guessed at already. Here was a person who was down to earth, someone who wasn’t standoffish.
Someone who hadn’t let their phenomenal accomplishments and success go to their head.
I already had Dublin Noir and Murdaland, so I was familiar with Ken’s work in short fiction, his distinctive style. I was just starting to read his longer works and was blown away.
I’ve said it before here, how he has this amazing humour, these keen insights on life that hit you between the eyes…
His work lingers on your mind long after you’ve finished reading the last page.
I know a lot of people don’t believe I can be shy and intimidated, but Ken was one of those people I was extra nervous with. I guess the thing is, I really wanted to be friends with Ken. I really liked him, and his opinion mattered to me. And when someone’s opinion matters I’m always a bit more nervous with them.
I was fortunate enough to enjoy the chance to correspond with him, and then talk with him at length, and get to the point where I didn’t just consider him a good friend – I consider him family. Kevin and I both consider Ken family.
It still blows me away, because for all the joking I do about worshipping writers I call gods, I have so much admiration for the person Ken Bruen is, for what he has survived and accomplished, for his amazing talent and his dedication to his craft.
I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Ken, and later this month that will be up on Spinetingler. But today is a day to say ‘thanks Ken’.
Thanks for putting yourself out there through your work in a way that has touched my life. I have learned so much through your writing – not just about writing, but about putting your heart and soul into the work and letting those insights on life come through the story. You make it look so effortless.
Thanks for always being there when I need an ear.
Thanks for making me laugh.
And thanks, for believing in me. I have the strength of your convictions.
The good opinion of Ken Bruen is worth that of a thousand of the average man. Tell me not how many awards you’ve been nominated for or how many books you’ve sold – tell me what Ken Bruen thinks of you. That’s the truest measure of merit I know.
And you can listen to Ken Bruen read his short story, PUNK by clicking on the link.Other blogs to visit today: