Monday, July 16, 2012

Introductions


At sixteen years of age I walk down the street to my best friend's house. His mother lets me in and I make my way to his room. When I enter, he banters with me a bit, then stands, walks over to one of his bookshelves and hands me a worn paperback. "You've gotta read this," he exclaims. I look down at the book. The cover instantly captures my imagination. A muscular long haired warrior jumps down a flight of stairs onto a red-caped gorilla. It is clear who will win this brawl. The title shouts boldly across the top of the paperback in red block letters: CONAN. Above that it reads: At Long Last Back In Print! When did it ever go out of print, I wonder? My friend smiles because he knows I will thoroughly enjoy this book. He knows me well. That was 1981.

That was my official introduction to the works of Robert E. Howard (REH). I have been reading his works ever since. A few years later, around 1983 or '84, on a whim, that same friend and I made a trek to Cross Plains, Texas to see if we could discover anything about one of our favorite writers. We drove south from Abilene, Texas (our home town) and when we reached Cross Plains, there was a sign on the side of the road that read: Cross Plains, Texas, "The Home of REH," or something like that. We passed Howard's home not knowing where it was located. Someone was actually living in it at the time and I guess we assumed it would be abandoned. My friend had done a little research and knew the house was off the main highway through town. So, we doubled back and attempted to figure out which house it was. We were unable so we drove downtown, went into one of the local businesses and asked. They explained where the house was and what it looked like.

I remember staring at the house for what seemed like hours. To actually make a connection between someone I had been reading and a small part of their past was a kind of magical moment. It was then I became interesting in Robert E. Howard the person. After that day I began a long nearly three decade search for all the material I could find about REH.


Since then I have collected a whirlwind of material, visited the Howard House (and now museum) in Cross Plains at least a half-dozen times or more, and attended my first REH Days in Cross Plains this year (2012). I have met and discussed Howard and his work with fans from all over the world. Now, I'm building this blog devoted to Robert E. Howard, the Texas tale-spinner and all his works of fiction: Sword & Sorcery, Fantasy tales, Westerns, Boxing stories, Pirate tales, Desert Adventures, Horror stories, poetry, sonnets, and his letters.


2 comments:

David J. West said...

Very cool. Can you add a followers gadget for ease of linking etc?

Thanks, look forward to more posts.

T Bryan Vick said...

Hey, David. I'm sure I could if I knew how. LOL. I'm still trying to get used to using Blogger. Let me see what I can do. Keep checking back. Thanks.