Holdstock Moments

By Wendy Froud

For twenty five years I have journeyed with Rob’s characters through Ryhope Wood (Mythago Wood once you enter it), the forest of Brociliande, mythic rivers, ancient civilisations and secret pathways leading to Otherworlds that exist a blink and shadow’s breadth away from our own mundane world. My husband Brian and I have walked with Rob and his wonderful partner Sarah over Dartmoor, climbed tors and threaded our way through stunted oak forests, drunk too much wine and beer, eaten Green Man pie and laughed and marvelled at how strange and enchanting life could be. Rob and Sarah brightened our lives, and Brian and I were always delighted to meet up with them and share experiences and tales of travels and observations of the weird and wonderful.

For many years now, whenever Brian and I walk in a forest, be it on Dartmoor or somewhere else on our travels, we are bound to have what we call a “Holdstock Moment”. Anything strange, anything that smells of loam and leaf mould, anything that looks vaguely mythic, tribal or otherworldly and most of all, anything of beauty has become, in our vocabulary, a “Holdstock Moment”.  Rob could make imagined sensory experiences come to life with a few well chosen words. I “know” what it feels like to live in the worlds he brought to life. I “know” how it feels to pass from Realm to Realm, from one culture to another and to step back a thousand years or so with the turn of a page. I cherish those experiences and am more grateful than I can say to have known this man and to have had the pleasure of sharing his world through his writing as well as at the dinner table.

We shall miss him, Brian and I, but we will continue to have “Holdstock Moments” as long as we can experience beauty and strangeness in this world, and some day we may join Rob on a new adventure in one of those other worlds that for the moment we can only see from the corner of our eye. So until then, fare well Rob and may your journey be blessed.