The Purple Thread
by C.S. Thompson
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Author C. Thompson discusses how we can live a life of courage and magic in the modern world. Using his own life as an example, he discusses the "theater of struggle" and the seven aspects of a mythic life.
Long Is The Way: an excerpt from The Purple Thread
I was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and raised there and in the neighboring city of Lawrence until age 11, when my family moved to rural Maine to build a homestead. We built a stack-wall log cabin and lived a premodern lifestyle- with no running water, electricity or indoor plumbing- until I was 16 or 17, when we moved to the town of Fryeburg. At age 18 I walked from Fryeburg to southern New York State, sleeping in the forest or in odd places such as football stadiums or beside the railroad tracks. Shortly afterward I moved to Portland, ME, where I live now, although I have also lived in other cities, including Tampa, Lowell, and East Boston. I've been divorced twice, with no children from either of my first two marriages, and I am now married for the third time and just beginning a family.
My life has been a series of contrasts, some of which would probably seem to make little sense to those who have known me. I started writing poetry at age 13 or so, after reading the early Romanticists such as William Blake, Coleridge and Keats. I also read a lot of early pulp fiction by Burroughs, Howard, Lovecraft and others. (That's the real Burroughs, by the way- as in, Edgar Rice.) Growing up in a tough little post-Industrial city in Massachusetts, I experienced violence nearly every day as a child, and by the time I moved to Maine with my family, these experiences had shaped my world-view.
In my early twenties, I fought and drank to excess on a regular basis; I was involved in petty street violence and in small-scale criminality. The time came when I was arrested on a felony charge of Criminal Threatening with a Dangerous Weapon, and Carrying a Concealed Weapon. If convicted, I could be sentenced to five years in prison. I was forced to call my wife and tell her about the situation. She made it very clear that I had made this problem for myself, and that I could expect no help from her. If I had fines to pay, she would have nothing to do with them. If I went to prison, she might not be waiting for me when I got out. By the time I even made it in front of a judge, my first marriage was over. Before that fight, I was a married man with a new apartment. After the fight, I was separated, sleeping on my brother's couch, and a convicted criminal. And even so, I got off lucky compared to what it would have been like to spend five years in state prison. My life had been nearly ruined by my own confusion and my own foolishness, but I didn't understand the nature of that confusion and so I carried it forward...
About the Author: CS Thompson is a poet, writer and historical fencing instructor. He is the author of the Noctiviganti series of dark fantasy novels, and his collections of poetry include Ghost Shadows from Wildside Press and City at the Edge of Night. CS Thompson lives with his wife Cicely in Portland, Maine.