It has been close to two years since I had encountered the writing of Robert McCammon, an author whose first published work came out in the late 70’s, and who writes to this day with 2018 seeing the release of The Listener.
As I’ve written in numerous posts on this site, and evident by the posts themselves, I had an affinity for the mystical writings of Aleister Crowley who said in his Book 4, “I will interpret every phenomenon as a particular dealing of God with my soul.” Living in a city, I allowed “chance” to bring much into my life, having random intuitive pulls and inclinations toward actions which often fell in line with or caused great synchronicity. One such instance was a day I was walking with only a single bus fare in my pocket ($3.50) when I happened upon a bookstore and decided to head inside. I walked around for a short while before I had noticed a metal shelf on wheels which had a thin line of books on its end, and a sign hanging which alerted me to the fact that all books on the shelf were one dollar each. I had no intention on taking a bus or subway train and was prepared to walk the hour+ trek home, so I dug into what they had available and was immediately drawn to a book with red dye on the edges of its pages, and the name of the demon Baal on the ominous cover. The overall wear of the novel showed its age as there were scratches and slight cracks which brought to my mind a classic horror aesthetic, hoping the contents would live up to the outer appearance and judging a book by its cover, I knew that I’d be taking it home with me (as well as Anne Rice’s Prince Lestat, which I purchased due to my girlfriend’s love of the series).
Baal was the first book ever written by McCammon, which to me was no greater an entry point into his body of work, and I read, err, consumed the book in one sitting essentially. Prior to this I had fallen off of reading fiction for quite some time, despite having a love for it as a child and having made several attempts at writing books from an age of 8 or so on, but somewhere along the line writing, and even reading fiction lost most of its luster. Thankfully, I’ve fallen back in love, and it is thanks in huge part to McCammon, as after I had finished Baal, I read about the book online, finding that he was somewhat ashamed of it as he learned to write in the public eye and felt it didn’t stand up to his later works, and that it was out of circulation for quite some time (though now can be found on Audible narrated by the masterful Ray Porter). Well, I loved Baal, so he hooked me there on needing to read his later works, and I set off immediately to collect as much as I could.
Funnily enough, Baal even contained a bit about Crowley (though in a rather unfavourable light), “A line of blue smoke rose from the bowl of Virga’s pipe. Naughton continued: “It might interest you to know that on one occasion Crowley pulled down his trousers and defecated in the midst of a formal dinner; then he urged the guests to preserve his excreta because, he said, it was divine.”
“Mankind under the direction of madmen,” Virga mused. “Well, Donald, it’s a book that needs to be written. I’m afraid men are only too willing to be led by those who proclaim themselves divine but who are, in essence, only as divine as Mr. Crowley’s… offerings.”
I next read McCammon’s Gone South, Swan Song, They Thirst, The Night Boat, The Border, Wolf’s Hour, Boy’s Life, and his six books in the historical fiction series of Matthew Corbett novels, Speaks the Nightbird, The Queen of Bedlam, Mister Slaughter, The Providence Rider, River of Souls, and Freedom of the Mask. I’ve got a few more of his books to read, including the 2018 release in The Listener, though they’re on my list and are priorities set for the near-future.
I may write about some of his books in future posts, so I’ve neglected to go into details here about any… future posts I may make could be touching upon Speaks the Nightbird which has a character who studies Egyptian lore and mesmerizes others, or the apocalyptic Swan Song which seems like it could come true any day with all the media’s talk of nuclear war and other such ‘fear-porn’. As I merely wanted this post to introduce McCammon, and mention that he has rekindled a love of storytelling in me where other authors could not (though since my indulgence in McCammon I’ve read quite a wide range of fiction and found satisfaction in doing so, but McCammon was undeniably the catalyst), I’ll leave this as a vague piece pointing at his body of work with a strong nudge to check out a few of his books.
This was a short post in my kind of meandering to find a purpose of this site now that I’ve said all I could about hypnosis/magick… Perhaps this appearing may have introduced you to a classic author, or reminded you of McCammon’s work. Before I end this post, I’ve placed a video beneath of McCammon speaking on writing which I find motivating and inspirational. May you enjoy meeting Robert McCammon as much as I had when I needed to most.