The Maynard I knew was a writer. And damn, what a voice. Some folks color outside the lines. He saw no lines, he simply colored his words as he saw fit. Some folks think outside the box. He ignored the box. Boxes were a form of containment, and he would not be contained. He refused and disdained chains.
He had the courage to write of ugly truths, hard truths, yet he wrote of them with roughly hewn beauty. And he might scoff at me for saying so, but he was indeed an artist. He mixed truth and fiction like no other – you never knew if he wrote of his history, or of his enhanced dreams. As he succinctly put it, his works were scatter shots. I would add that his scatter shots were indeed an art form.
On a June day in 2008, we met and ere long were both convinced we’d known one another in former lives. And we laughed. Lord, how we laughed that day, and on many occasions since. Over the years, it became patently obvious to us that one of our many life-roles, was to make the other laugh.
On occasion, we shared stages – him reading from his works, and me playing guitar. They were precious moments to me, and to him. He told me so, and I knew from his smiles, that it was so.
We were Gonzo Mountaineers, and between the two of us we shared well over a century of undetected crime. Outlaw Artists is how we viewed one another, and we took pride in that assessment. But we laughed at it too. Neither he nor I took ourselves too seriously.
And it happened that a week or so before he left, we spoke on the phone. We made each other laugh again, and said to each other, “I love you brother.” And when he passed in the wee hours of a June morning in 2017, my good friend John-Boy and I were on my porch, drunker than Cooter Brown, picking guitars and laughing, unaware of his departure. I think Lee would have seen our tom-foolery as a fitting tribute. I’m damn sure he would’ve laughed.
On learning of Lee’s death, a mutual friend concisely concluded “The world just became a less interesting place.” Truer words were never spoken.
June 28, 2017