Sunday, March 1, 2009

Feeling Sad

I lost a dear friend this week. George Matheson died on Tuesday, midday at his home up on Silver Star Mountain. I'm broken-hearted for his wife Valerie and for his family, but also for myself. George was a rare character, a renaissance man in the publishing and PR business with a fascinating history and sharp wit. I'm truly going to miss him. Damn.

Author and television producer George Matheson was born in India in the days when the British Raj still flourished. His often light hearted, easy-to-read, writing style keeps you turning the pages of his first three books, The Vaders' Caboose, Cactus In Your Shorts, and Hogs and Cabbagers. The same humourous tack greatly enhances the viewer enjoyment of his television work.
George derives his diverse approach to writing from experiences garnered in India, Ceylon, North Africa, Canada and the United States. Two more books are coming down the pipe. Up Your Breeks, a sometimes hilarious, nevertheless thought provoking collection of stories about his childhood and teenage years in British India. Also evolving is a much larger work, Tiger Sleeping Memsahib, a novel that is set in World War II India, which is a complex interplay between the British bureaucracy, the fickle military, duplicitous Indian rulers and anarchistic foreign missionaries.
Matheson commutes between his rural British Columbia home and a remote log cabin in the foothills of the Monashee Mountains, where he does a lot of his writing. Commenting on the advantages of this, he states: "No phone. No electricity. No running water. Writing by candlelight makes me think I would have survived as did Abraham Lincoln, although I'm not sure about splitting rails. When I get lonely for company, I discuss my work with the chipmunks and blue jays. The grizzly bears, sometimes cruising the area, seem not to be overly interested."

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