Friday, August 28, 2009


The basic miracle of Callahan's Place, the greatest lesson this joint has taught us (is) that there's nothing in the human heart or mind, no place no matter how twisted or secret, that can't be endured--if you have someone to share it with. That's what this place is all about: helping people to open up whatever cabinets in their heads holds their most dangerous secrets, and let 'em out. If you've got a hurt and I've got a hurt and we share 'em, some-crazy-how or other we each end up with less than half a hurt apiece.

(Excerpt from Spider Robinson's CALLAHAN AND COMPANY: The Complete Chronicles of the Crosstime Saloon.)

I remember, especially during my teenage years, the feeling that the characters in the books I read truly understood me. Yeah, my friends 'got me', but I could really be myself with the characters in the books by Anne McCaffrey, Katherine Kurtz, Robert Heinlein, Madeleine L'Engle, Lucy Maud Montgomery and yes, even Stephen King. (Especially Stephen King? I have yet to be convinced that the people who populate his books don't exist somewhere.) Those characters rode the highs and lows with me, and some-crazy-how, they Knew Me.

If my Crosstime Saloon existed, it would be populated by imaginary and real characters alike. Anne would sit next to Kelsen, who would hang with Meg and they would all buy a round for my flesh and blood friends.

Do characters live on with you after you turn the last page? Who would populate your Crosstime Saloon?


  1. Coming up out of the pages of a book, I have a hard time shifting back to the real world. Many of the characters live on in my head.

    And now you've got me wondering about this memory I have. I've asked my mother about this memory, the place, the woman sitting cross-legged in the chair suspended from the ceiling. She has no idea. I wonder if she was a character in a book.

  2. I love this-- that you might have a memory containing a character from a book. Stored in the same place as all your "real life" memories. How cool.

    I like your "coming up out of the pages of a book". It's that way for me, both when I read, and write. As if I'm submerged, under water, and have to come up for reality.