He may not have had the fame of Stephen King, but his contribution to the horror genre is every bit as important and lasting. I don’t think anyone has contributed as much to the ghost story or surreal horror as T.M. Wright.
I first encountered Terry’s work when I saw a review for A Manhattan Ghost Story in Fangoria magazine. I quickly became a fan and devoured what I could find of his earlier work. At the time I was writing plays, with the occasional story, but it was the ease with which he made writing seem, that caused me to go fully into fiction writing. The twist to that is, writing is not easy, and he only made seem that way because he’s so goddamned good at the craft.
Fast forward a couple of decades (maybe a smidge more), and I was getting back into writing again after a decade of being creatively dormant. Once I decided to pick up the pen, I looked for places online to talk with other writers and I found myself on the Shocklines forum. At the time, some of the best in the business were regular contributors, including Terry. I remember sending him a private message and his warm, heartfelt response. We traded messages back and forth, and when I made my first sale (a poem for the Death In Common anthology), Terry asked to read it and was quite generous with his time and opinion.
We then began emailing each other, with a friendship blossoming. When I started writing my novella Barbed Wire Kisses he was the first to read it. AS I’d finish chapters he’d ask to read them, despite the fact it wasn’t his cup of tea (it’s a pretty earthy, gore filled serial killer in the Old West tale-as opposite from his work as you can get). He was very complimentary about not only the story but about my worth as a writer (something I still struggle with). As his vision at the time began to diminish, it became harder for him to keep up correspondence though his wonderful partner Roxane would write and keep me and many others up to date on his health.
It’s hard to describe the immense loss I feel for someone I never met, yet owe everything to when it comes to my writing. Aside from his superior work as a writer, he was also a gifted poet, artist, and a beautiful human being. His compassion for animals, cats especially, seems unparalleled. His empathy for others, kindness, patience, and good humor are things I’ll never forget. I keep all my emails in from Terry in a special folder, and very glad I’ve hung on to all of them.
Stephen King once described him as a rare and blazing talent. I’ll amend that and also say he was a rare and gracious human being whose talent was only surpassed by his generosity with others.
You will be missed Terry. You’ll be missed very much.