Lost Friends
Brian Richard Boylan
Dec 11, 1936 - Nov 17, 2005

I was fishing for a literary agent when I threw out my query hook. What I landed was a friend.

beard Brian had to be one of the craziest people in a crazy industry. Located in Minnesota, he named his literary agency, Otitis Media, for a middle ear illness. I met Brian when he responded to my query letter about a vampire family. How can you not fall in love with someone who fell in love with you through a letter?

Brian bubbled. And his enthusiasms spattered in all directions. He was brilliant, omnivorous of life, and interested in everything. My sort of guy.

His passions covered the globe. At the beginning of the wild 70's, he had written a well-received book on marital infidelity, "Infidelity, A Look Under the Covers". Enough said.

He was also deeply knowledgable about history, with an especially deep understanding of the Revolutionary War period through his book on Benedict Arnold. When my genealogy research popped out a 5th great grandfather who was at the seige of Quebec with Arnold, we spent many lovely evenings talking through the period. Brian was, himself, shopping a Benedict Arnold script based on his book.

My interests didn't tend toward the second world war, but I was still fascinated by his stories of searching for information on Josef Mengele while Brian was in South America.

And then there was Gettysburg. Brian had been knocked head over heels by the movie, and asked me if I could get him a really high grade copy of it. No problem. I picked up a laser disk and proceeded to copy it onto VHS for him. The movie runs over 4 hours and I couldn't leave the room. When it ended, I sat there rather overwhelmed, then restarted the movie and watched it again. I was obsessed.

We talked about the movie for hours on end. I bought up original memoirs of the soldiers involved, and our conversations dug ever deeper into the battle and the men. The original score played in my car on endless loop until I'm surprised my friends didn't strangle me! But, instead, being kind and good friends, they joined me on a road trip to Brunswick, Maine and I got to stand at the grave of Colonel Joshua Chamberlain. I finished off my obsession by building a subsite for the movie, and creating a music video to let me relive the movie in abbreviated form.

Brian desperately wanted to write a script that would cover the end of the war and would have the same quality as Gettysburg - a movie about two men caught up in a moment of history. What obsessed both of us was the scene in Chamberlain's book when he describes the laying down of arms and colors by the Confederate army. Chamberlain was chosen for this position, although one of the youngest generals, because of his being a professor at Bowdoin College. The commanding officers wanted someone who could later describe the scene, and Chamberlain surely did that. And though I read and reread Chamberlain's words, I couldn't create a scenario for Brian, and it broke my heart.


Much about Brian broke my heart. His health was always precarious, a situation that caused Brian to write a book, "The New Way to Live with Diabetes". If he was ever out of touch, I always feared the worst, but he would ever again pull through.

I could suck Brian into my enthusiasms as easily as he pulled me into his. Besides loving my vampire movie script, he fell hard for a vampire series which took over my mind, Forever Knight. Even though I was locked into a two year-no way out contract with a NYC book agent, Brian got their permission to try to sell a TV script for me with the show. After Brian got the producer to say he'd read my script, I hurriedly wrote one. Brian mailed it to Canada on Tuesday, and he received a call from the producer two days later on Thursday. Unfortunately, they were hoping for a Canadian writer and I was true blue American. When the series ended, Brian also tried to sell a book for me about the fan process of trying to bring Forever Knight back to life. He couldn't sell it, but boy did we have fun!

Among many other - hobbies is too weak a word for any of Brian's interests - fascinations, Brian was interested in photography. Since he'd been shooting for years, some of his work was losing quality, so I offered to Photoshop some pictures for him. There were magnificently composed images, and beloved images of parent and children. Friendship is frequently a gentle competition to see what each can do for the other. I loved working on Brian's pictures, and thinking of his fondness for them as I did. It brought me as much joy as copying operas and ballets for him did.

Then my sense of humor tripped me up.


Sorry, Brian.

Conversations with Brian


site map
Site Map

IME logo Copyright © 2009, Mary S. Van Deusen