A great writer has died. His name was Michael McIntosh and he passed away on Saturday, August 14, 2010. He was 66 years old. Here’s his obit.
Micheal McIntosh wrote some of the finest stories published about guns, dogs, and hunting in the last 50 years. I used to buy magazines like Gun Dog and Shooting Sportsman just to read his articles. A shelf in my library is crowded with Michael’s books. Shotguns & Shooting is the most tattered and thumb-stained.
Shotguns & Shooting was my first book by Michael’s. I was 27 years old when I bought it. I already planned my vacations around bird hunting and I had already owned a bird dog. I was just figuring out fine shotguns, though.
You discover yourself in good writing. A feeling you’ve had, a thought—good writing puts them in words. That’s what happened with True Confessions, the first story in Shotguns & Shooting.
True Confessions is about Michael’s love for fine firearms. In many way, it’s my story, too. While the timing, place, and characters are different, the sentiments are the same.
Within a few months of reading Shotguns & Shooting, I pointed my life in a different direction. A trip to a gunshop called New England Arms seduced me away from a good job in corporate America. Ten years later I would be a fanatic about hunting dogs and fine shotguns.
Most writers report. I read their articles and books once and keep them around for reference. I return to McIntosh’s work again and again, reading it for information and pleasure. Michael wrote about everything and he did it all well, so damn well, that I doubt anyone will ever surpass him. Michael’s work is just too good. Even if you’re a hell of a writer, a distant second is all you’ll ever be.
I write for a living and I know how tiresome it can be at times. Word counts, deadlines, typing away, always writing more and more. But if you love words and stories, and you have that nag in you that forces you to write, the work can bring you some peace. I hope it did this for Michael.