Paul’s family invited me to speak at his memorial service. This is what I said.
Paul Haines was not just another writer. He was the kind of writer who is rarer than you’d think: a writer who actually had something to say. The term ‘unique voice’ is often overused, but in his case it was true.
Paul inspired trust in all who knew him. Grateful for the inclusion he experienced from more established writers early on, he made a point of extending the same friendship and courtesy to newer writers following behind.
Paul focused a spectrum of disturbing truths though the prism of his lens. His writing style was tough, mesmerizing, visceral, no holds barred. In a word: authentic, just like the man himself. He wrote with certainty and strength. Sympathetic to tragedy, he enticed us to engage with and acknowledge elements of the dark within.
That is wonderful, Cat. I found a quote in a book I'm reading that sums this up (it was about a young poet) "Why does God given great talent, and then squander it so young?"
In the Great Library of All the Books That Were Never Written (But Should Have Been), I'm sure Paul with have several shelves to himself.