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Ed Quillen was a regular columnist for the Denver Post for 26 years. His weekly columns ranged from pithy observations to political analyses to hilarious satires.
“He was a keen chronicler — a mountain-town crier, an unofficial state historian, and a self-described sloth. The first word that comes to mind to describe Ed is “colorful,” and I mean that as an absolute compliment,” wrote Curtis Hubbard of the Denver Post. “If you enjoy the beauty of a September day in the high country, are curious about how this place came to be, have a bad habit or two, devour books, or find humor — and horror — in politicians (particularly Republicans) and bureaucrats from Denver, you no doubt enjoyed his work.”
Ed was also a regular contributor to High Country News, and he wrote for many other publications, including Computer Shopper, PC Computing, Bloomsbury Review, Utne Reader, Colorado Homes and Lifestyles, and the Los Angeles Times. He founded Colorado Central Magazine in 1994 with his wife Martha and published it for 15 years. He wrote or co-wrote 14 books, including Deep in the Heart of the Rockies, a collection of selected columns from 1985 to 1998.
He was a straight-shooter, a fact-checker, a proud wordsmith, a brilliant thinker, a touch of down-home Colorado the likes of which are rare.
- Denver Post editors
Ed Quillen was a character in the full sense of the word—and a wordsmith of the first order . . . Our world has lost a one-of-a-kind voice.
- David Perkins, Bloomsbury Review
He could deliver a history lesson, provoke a chortle and a snort of indignation — then take you to a place you’d never expected, all in the space of 600 words.
- Allen Best, Publisher of Mountain Town News
He was one of a kind, and he’ll be missed.
- Michael Roberts, Westword
We'll miss Ed's sometimes curmudgeonly, always wise and ever-entertaining perspective.
- Jodi Peterson, High Country News
The world will be a lesser place without Ed Quillen in it.
- Clay Jenkinson, Thomas Jefferson Hour
I’m Abby Quillen, Ed Quillen’s daughter. Since my dad passed away, I’ve collaborated with a group of his colleagues, editors, and friends to read through his columns from the past 13 years, categorize them, and select the ones we think best represent my dad’s unique and inspired views.
We’ve selected 120 columns, and we're ready to compile them into a book.
The columns will be categorized in 12 sections:
- The American Way of Life
- The Centennial State, Past and Present
- National Elections and Politics
- The Great Outdoors
- Family Matters
- The Written Word
- The Rural West
- Politics of the West
- Small Town Living
Allen Best, my dad’s close friend and colleague, will write the introduction. Writer and photographer Hal Walter took the stunning photograph that will grace the cover. My husband Aaron Thomas is managing much of the design, as well as our Kickstarter campaign. Cohen Peart, letters editor at the Denver Post, has helped immeasurably with column selection, retrieval, and editing.
Deeper Into the Heart of the Rockies will be released on November 1st as both a paperback and eBook and will be sold in brick-and-mortar and online bookstores.
Why this project? Why now?
In 1998, my dad came out with Deep in the Heart of the Rockies, a collection of his favorite columns from his first 13 years as a regular Denver Post contributor.
We would love to create something lasting from his later work for his many long-time fans and readers. The new anthology will contain 13 years of columns just like the first one. They will be wonderful companion pieces.
We will use a portion of the proceeds to fund a memorial bench in my dad’s memory, and we hope to create a scholarship in his name for students interested in journalism or Colorado History.
Ed Quillen on his reputation:
"I've been fortunate, since my reputation is such that there is very little in my past which could damage it. Granted, there are some potential embarrassments -- a job application at IBM, brief service as a director of the Kremmling Area Chamber of Commerce, occasional wearing of a tie when I had a day job, removing a junked car from my yard without a court order -- but those are easy to explain."
On public meetings:
“The amount of time that a public body spends discussing an issue is in inverse proportion to the importance of that issue. This arose about 20 years ago at a Salida City Council meeting, where a multi-million dollar budget was passed without discussion, and then they took more than an hour talking about where to get the best deal on new light bulbs for the water-treatment plant.”
On the Reagan years:
"As for counties, here in Chaffee County we have an abundance of things that closed while Reagan was president and our unemployment rate was pushing 25 percent. While people elsewhere may have thought he was saying Morning in America in 1984, it sounded like Mourning in America here, where stores were closing and half the town was for sale with no takers."
On the “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” signs:
“The signs do not convey a feeling of ‘It feels good to be back home.’ It's more like ‘Another two or three hours of twisting mountain road replete with black ice, rockslides, manic Gen-X extreme sports motorists, tortoise-paced land yachts towing Jeeps towing boats, over-loaded semis with bad brakes, suicidal deer and homicidal elk loitering on the blacktop, blinding glare from distant metal roofs, spewt drivers talking on their cell phones, wind gusts strong enough to knock over trains -- then I'll be home to discover that the cats have shredded the couch and the hot water pipes are frozen.’”
You can visit Ed Quillen's online archives to get more of a sense for what the book will be like.
We set our target goal low to ensure we fund the production of this book, but the more money we make with this Kickstarter, the more books we can print and the wider we can cast our distribution net. Please keep contributing even if we’ve reached our initial goal! Here’s what we’ll do with more money:
If we reach $6500
We'll print more books and expand our distribution and marketing to include more rural bookstores and libraries.
If we reach $7500
At the end of the book, we’ll include a section containing some of the tributes written about my dad after his death.
We’ll also include photos in the book. We’ll start off each of the 12 sections of the book with a picture of my dad or one of the black-and-white photographs he took of the beautiful Colorado wilderness.
If we reach $8500
We’ll hold several book signings and events in Colorado in November. My dad worked with writers, entertainers, poets, and thinkers across the state. We would love to invite a number of them to read a favorite column from the book.
If we reach $9500
In addition to the other signings and events, we’ll host a dinner for contributors celebrating the book and Ed Quillen’s life and work.
After reading nearly a million of my dad’s words over the last several months, I’m more excited about this project than ever. My dad had a knack for humor, an encyclopedic knowledge of Colorado history and lore, and he was never afraid to say what he thought about anything. Above all, his writing is lively and entertaining.
I hope you’ll help us publish Deeper into the Heart of the Rockies. And if you know people who might be interested in our project, please spread the word. We can’t do it without you. Thank you for your support!
Risks and challenges
We've already completed the column selection, book design, and the first rounds of editing. We are working on proofreading and layout now. Then we'll move on to printing. We've developed a distribution and marketing plan for our November 1 release. We just need the Kickstarter funds to make it all happen!
In short, if we get funded, we'll make this project happen. And if setbacks arise, we'll keep you updated here and at edquillen.com.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
I'm trying to pay, and it looks like I'm giving money to the North Eugene Ukulele Orchestra. What gives?
We're so sorry for the confusion. Our Amazon.com business account name is North Eugene Ukulele Orchestra at the moment. (Aaron set it up when he was doing a Kickstarter for his high school troop of ukulele players.) We know it's confusing, and we're trying to change the name. But please rest assured that all of these funds will come to us, and they will all be directed to the anthology.
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