brni (brni) wrote,

My first encounter with...

My first encounter with George Scithers was in 1996. I was the new dialup support guy at Netaxs. The phone rang. On the line was a polite, friendly man on the verge of panic.

"This is Owlswick," he said, by way of introduction. "I've been trying to get online for hours and can't get connected. I don't mean to be a problem, but I have a 5pm deadline to get these files emailed to the printer. Is there anything that Avi can do?"

"Hold on, let me ask."

"Huh," Avi says, "let me see." [type-type-type] "Okay, tell him to try it now."

A minute later I get an email. He'd had to hang up in order to get connected, and he wanted to let me know that it worked, and to thank both me and Avi. He signed it "WooF".

Over the next couple years, I spoke with him a number of times, almost always deadline related. I'm not sure what I did to deserve it, but one time he was grateful enough that he packaged up a copy of every Weird Tales issue he had in stock and shipped them to me at the office in a big box. They take up half a book shelf.

Over the years since I've started writing, I've seen dozens of writers who have spoken warmly of the encouragement that they received from Mr. Scithers, even as he rejected their stories.

His Writer's Guidelines for Weird Tales has been referenced far and wide as the canonical guide to creating, formatting and submitting fiction. It's well worth reading.

I learned today that Mr. Scithers suffered a heart attack on Saturday, and died today.
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