Wednesday, July 18, 2012

An Apology to Jeff VanderMeer

Jeff VanderMeer just wrote to tell me he's upset at the "cheap shot" I took at him in yesterday's post.

That was absolutely not my intention.  Every word I wrote about him was meant to express my admiration for his efforts on behalf of Amos Tutuola's legacy and memory. 

But if Jeff could misunderstand what I wrote, so can others.  So I will state this as simply and clearly as possible.

Jeff and his wife Ann are literary heroes for all they've done on Tutuola's behalf.  They've complied a forthcoming e-book collection of his uncollected stories, Don't Return Bad for Bad.  Jeff interviewed Yinka Tutuola, the fantasist's son, at length and put the interview up on the Web, making much useful information available to all.  And from things he said on the panel, I got the impression that he had quietly engaged in other good works as well.

On the panel, VanderMeer was strikingly modest about his part in all this.  Had I done a fraction of what he has done for Tutuola, I would have been quite chuffed about it.  He, however, referred to his own achievements only when absolutely necessary.  This is what I meant when I said that I was impressed by how "not-full-of-himself" he was.

I am horrified that my words could be interpreted as anything but praise.  And I apologize for my not making my intentions sufficiently lucid.



Lars said...

It's difficult to see how your yesterday's post was anything but complimentary to VanderMeer.

David Stone said...

Maybe he was just being "meta" or something?

Maybe this is all part of some media and genre-transcending piece of art, and you're both in on it?