Today I shall have a drink to the memory of one my heroes, the great Texan author Robert E Howard, who was born today in 1906, in Peaster, Texas. A master storyteller, author and poet, his words have inspired, excited and scared me for most of my life. Probably most famous today for his sword and sorcery yarns featuring Conan the Barbarian, he wrote Boxing stories, Westerns, Historical fiction, even a few Detective tales. His poetry is particularly notable, his word-craft quite extraordinary and vivid.
They say never meet your heroes- well of course I never had a chance with Bob, as he died some sixty years before I was born. I have often wondered what it would be like, though, to sit a share a cold beer with him, and wonder if we would get along in conversation. Meeting Lovecraft, say, would be pretty horrific I expect, but I have always had the suspicion that meeting Bob would be a much more positive experience. Mind, although I often had the hope that he would be a kindred spirit, that’s possibly more than wishful thinking on my part. Bob was a complex man who lived in a very different world and his mental health has often been debated by readers over the decades.
I once had an incredibly vivid dream of walking to his house in June of 1936, and dissuading him from his act of suicide. It possibly says more about me, that I can dream of Time Travel and of going back to that one day, and try to stop that one event, instead of, say, dreaming of Dinosaurs or Rome. But we are all full of weird tales that way, and our dreams often seem to follow a whim all their own.
Anyway, here’s a beer to you, Bob.