I had my first media interview on Tuesday evening with Bill Thompson of the thebookcast.com to talk about the recent global release of The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil. The experience was a little nerve-wracking but not as bad as I might have imagined. (As the experience recedes I suspect I’m forgetting the worst of it.) Naturally I feel I answered some of the questions better than others but one question sticks in my mind.
The concerning question was how the main characters, the very Hidden Masters described in the title, got to be the people they were. For those of you not in the know, the heroes of our adventure are apparently perfectly ordinary individuals whom you might meet in the pub. Their only difference being that they are practiced in the arts of the occult to the point that they save the universe at weekends before going back to work on Monday mornings. They are extraordinary individuals who do not look like the people they actually are.
However, when asked how they came about I was stumped. I do have some back story for them, Clint was in the Royal Navy and now drives a road sweeper, Wayne sells beer for a living and might have cheated his school entrance exams and Nigel, well I still can’t remember his back story but I’m sure I put one in. I also had ideas about where they get their extensive knowledge about everything under the sun with one constantly hanging out in museums of all kinds across the world, one having an uncanny ability to find any information on the internet no matter how obscure and the other addicted to Open University courses but he never bothers to take the exams.
But how did they get to be these guys? I simply hadn’t thought about that. When asked the question I blabbered on a bit about people coming to paganism from all sorts of paths until I realised I was talking generally about paganism rather than the characters in the book. Since then, while I was painting the windowsill in the room upstairs the answer occurred to me.
Each of us has no idea about the bloke who sits across the isle from us on the train every morning. He might be a mechanic in a bus garage or an administrator in a dog food company. However, more difficult to detect is the thing he does at the weekend. How often have you discovered that the person you meet in your first day at a new job has an extraordinary skill, perhaps being a wonderful pianist or a talented salsa dancer? They don’t make any money at their skill because there is no way to do so but they have done the 10,000 hours practice that are said to be required to master a skill completely.
There are extraordinary people walking amongst us every moment of the day but we never know it. They’re not gods or immortals; they’re just ordinary people who are quietly getting on with life. They don’t brag about it, they just do it. Aleister Crowley once said that every man and every woman is a star. The Three Hidden Masters, two from Hemel Hempstead and one from Bricket Wood, are extraordinary in that very way but it didn’t take some miraculous back story for them to get there because, basically, they are just like you and me.