"It's nothing to do with believing, like I believe you," he frowns, when I ask him if he actually believes in magic or is merely using it as interesting imagery. "It's knowing. I know. I've experienced things that are beyond reality. Many things." This sounds fascinating, but McCoy collects himself. "I don't want to go too far on this," he says hurriedly, "because I don't want to make a twat of meself."
I had a very ominous feeling about writing when I started seriously doing it in my teens, that I was recklessly summoning forces I didn't know how to control. I was genuinely concerned that I would write things and then they would come true in some transliterated way - not usually literally, but in the sense of reality somehow pattern-matching to what I'd written, coming up with the hidden meaning it didn't have until that moment. It wasn't like I had any way of using this as a kind of power over reality, making things happen. It was more that writing was building houses for things - events, images, relationships in real life - to come and live in.
Burroughs was the first person I read who had obviously had the same feeling. I was completely bewitched by it for a while.
I still find the referentiality of written language, the fact that words on a page point somewhere, inherently spooky. Because you don't know quite where they are pointing. And then there are these moments where a bundle of pointers abruptly resolves into something, all the arrows converging on one event or image, and it feels like that really is the one thing it was all about all along.
I don't think that happens to me so often now. I've sort of trained myself out of it a bit.