Last month the namesake of the literary journal McSweeney’s passed away at 67-years-old.
In 1998, Dave Eggers named “Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern” after an man who had sent letters to his mother. Timothy McSweeney was an MFA art student and onetime studio art teacher at Rutgers University. The site described his work: “The canvases he leaves behind are filled with haunting and beautiful imagery. They are also filled with a palpable desire–to be heard, to connect, to be understood better by others and himself.”
McSweeney suffered from mental illness, and was hospitalized for many years. There, he wrote letters to people around the country. He sent many letters with diagrams, train schedules and “urgent” messages to Eggers’ mother–despite the fact that they had never met.
Here’s more about the real McSweeney, from the website: “Knowing that the journal bore the name of a real person who had endured years of struggle threw melancholy shadows over the enterprise. But the McSweeneys insisted that the use of the name was acceptable, even appropriate, given Timothy’s background as an artist and search for connection and meaning through the written word. Since 2000 we’ve implicitly dedicated all issues to the real Timothy.”