You may have never heard of the mystical writer Gottfried Hoot (1222-12??) That is perhaps because he was better known as “The Dazed Writer Of Stark.” Stark, a village in the northern most reaches of Scotland, was named after the nobleman Bartholomew Stark (1142-1192), a lesser known explorer of the highlands. Though the village no longer exists, The Dazed Writer Of Stark is still a notable historical figure in magical circles.
During Hoot’s residence in the village, he was believed by many to be a practitioner of arcane magics, while others simply passed him off as a rather pathetic, down-on-his-luck poet, who walked about the village in a state of perpetual dazedness. He would carve his poems into the sides of huts, and trees, and stones, and sometimes cover himself in mud before writing his Latin prose upon his arms and legs. Modern day magicians may recognize this behavior to be quite similar to the art of Scribbling (the act of inscribing magical spells of protection onto surrounding objects). Most famously, Hoot was known for drinking far too much beer, and then carrying on conversations with someone he called “The Merlin Baby,” while making goo-goo noises and funny faces at the twisted roots of trees.
Some say he knew the entrance locations to all thirteen of the ancient Faerie roads, and ventured often into the Other Lands. A group of children once claimed to have seen him turn himself into an owl, and so began the rumor that he lived in the hollow of an oak near the village entrance. It is likely this is how he received his last name.
Most interesting to me is that, when rearranged, the letters in his title “The Dazed Writer Of Stark” form a perfect anagram for the title of my up coming release: “The Wizard Of Dark Street.” Perhaps it is nothing more than a coincidence…and then again, perhaps it is yet one more bit of evidence that all things magical and mysterious are inextricably connected.
(THE WIZARD OF DARK STREET, a middle grade novel of detection and magic, will be released Summer 2011, from Egmont USA.)
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