It is the secret river that not only greens the soul but also runs under walls and gains entrance to all fortified and walled places of the world and of the mind. Regard your own estate and case. Is your own town not built on two rivers which are separated by a firmament between? One of them is the impossible river by which all things may enter anywhere. We’d be robbed of our celestial birthright without it.
Ignace Wolff, The River Inside quoted by R. A. Lafferty in Rivers of Damascus
Raphael Aloysius Lafferty was a brilliant Irish-American fabulist whose amazing works are little known nowadays.
Lafferty’s words belong to an ancient, invisible river which nourishes and greens our imagination. The river made up of storytellers’ voices, ancient and modern, weaving myth and legend, whispering ghost stories and telling folk-tales. An oral tradition which stretches from cave mouth to radio studio, from the Halls of Asgard to the main street of Lake Wobegon.
R. A. Lafferty is not recognized as the brilliant fabulist he is because he belongs not to the literary tradition, but to the oral tradition. If his stories were recorded, podcast, or broadcast on radio, he would have a huge following and would be kept constantly echoing.
Last Wednesday, Roman Orszanski reprised his talk from the February 1989 Critical Mass.
Here is a recording of it