On Fictionalist Craig Malisow
Credulous fabulist Craig Malisow, never one to let the truth get in the way of a good story, continues to publish fiction in the Houston Press on my friend Shawn Roberts.
When his first short story on the subject was published last year, I wrote a letter to the Houston Press, which the Press didn’t deign to publish.
To the editors: I was representing Shawn Roberts when a jury found him not guilty of delivering heroin to Tara Sganga. When Craig Malisow and I talked about his story before it was published, he mentioned to me one “fact” that he seemed to think important to the story. I told him that it was not true, and that someone was giving him bad information. That particular “fact” didn’t make it into the story. Unfortunately, Mr. Malisow wouldn’t share any other details of the story with me before going to press. If he had, I could have told him that many other details, some of which Mr. Malisow tried to sell as significant in the published story, were also incorrect. For example, it is not true that only one witness testified for the State at Shawn’s trial; it is not true that there was a knife found in the apartment sink. What would a nonfiction writer have done with this story? Would he have talked to the paramedics who responded to the scene about how they found Ms. Sganga? Talked to Mr. Hayes (whose name Mr. Malisow couldn’t even get right), who was present when Ms. Sganga passed away? We can only imagine; it was easier for Mr. Malisow, rather than take these obvious steps, to take as truth the account of Ms. Sganga’s aggrieved family. If you were to remove from Mr. Malisow’s story the lies and half-truths that he was fed by unnamed family members, and the innuendos Mr. Malisow drew from these fictions, what would be left? The unfortunate deaths, from suicide or drug overdose, of four people with whom Mr. Roberts was close. What did these four people have in common? Mr. Malisow sees only Shawn Roberts; I see drug abuse and mental illness. If you hang around heroin abusers for long enough, some of them are going to die. Mark Bennett
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