Jun 14, 2023
Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting [All the Pretty Horses].
Perhaps it is waiting for you to turn the pages of a Cormac McCarthy novel, to feel the stark and gritty lyrics of a writer whose take on life and death is haunting, revolting and strangely compelling.
All night sheetlightning quaked sourceless to the west beyond the midnight thunderheads, making a bluish day of the distant desert, the mountains on the sudden skyline stark and black and livid like a land of some other order out there whose true geology was not stone but fear [Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West].
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1933, McCarthy penned Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West in 1985 which has been claimed by many as one of the greatest American novels of all time. His fame rose with All the Pretty Horses (1992), winner of the National Book Award and a New York Times best-seller. Other notable works followed including The Crossing (1994), Cities of the Plain (1998) and The Road (2006), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His screen play No Country for Old Men was directed by the Coen Brothers in 2007 and won four Academy Awards.
You think when you wake up in the mornin yesterday don't count. But yesterday is all that does count. What else is there? Your life is made out of the days it's made out of. Nothin else. You might think you could run away and change your name and I don't know what all. Start over. And then one mornin you wake up and look at the ceilin and guess who's layin there? [No Country for Old Men]
In interviews, McCarthy spoke of the subconscious or unconscious mind and the challenge of finding the words to fit the thoughts in his head. He supposed the subconscious being older than language was an explanation for complex thoughts exceeding our abilities to explain them and the small clues that string together revelations rather than provide forthright answers. He worked for the Santa Fe Institute from 2014 on, his passion for science leading to the publication of his first non-fiction work, The Kekule Problem (2017), a study in the origins of language and the unconscious mind.
Two more works of fiction were released in 2022, The Passenger and the companion novel, Stella Maris.
Will children yet to come harbor a longing for a thing they cannot even name? The legacy of the word is a fragile thing for all its power, but I know where you stand, Squire. I know that there are words spoken by men ages dead that will never leave your heart. [The Passenger]
Cormac McCarthy passed at age 89 on June 13, 2023. His words remain. OPL invites you to experience the profound journey here: