Joe H. used to say he didn’t have a creative bone in his body. That was far from the truth. Consider this paragraph from an early draft of his unfinished novel, Test Drives.
“If Laura Lanham were equipped with a “check engine” light, perhaps someone she meets today would see something besides her silky dark hair, her high cheek bones, her cover-girl skin, and the way her jeans and her Alderson-Broaddus College sweatshirt seem to celebrate every swell and toss of Laura’s lithe body as it ripples beneath them. But that won’t happen today or any other day soon. For want of a simple warning light, Laura is allowed to roam the streets of Alban City in a large, gasoline-powered battering ram as if everything is fine, when it’s not. In the year 2003 humans have not yet done for themselves what they have done for their cars, so the check engine light in Laura’s well-designed automobile will afford her car a level of protection Laura does not enjoy.” — copyright 2003, Joseph Higginbotham
Check Engine Light. What a metaphor.
I look back on his writings and remember what I saw back then. A lot of understated but biting satire. Characters that would be right at home in Twin Peaks. I also see the autobiography in his characters. Some in this one, some in that one. Put it all together and you see everything that Joe wrestled with in his life.
No more. He fought his good fight. He will be missed.