Last Thursday I went to the funeral of fellow-writer Mark McCann. I wasn’t a close friend, I only knew him through our mutual membership of our writing group (London genre group, the T Party). He was intelligent and well-educated man, imperfect as we all are. I liked him.
Marks’ funeral ceremony was something special. Mark was a member of the Golden Dawn, magical ritual an important part of his life. Mark’s funeral was a magical and mystical ceremony, organised, arranged, and conducted by Mark’s close friends, who had gone to real effort. Mark departed this world with the four ancient elements in attendance. The event was moving and very touching. Mark was clearly well-loved.
Mark was a good writer, but I doubt that many of you will have head of him, and that is a shame. He wrote witty, original, and colourful fantasy and SF with a ‘Golden Age’ sensibility. His stories could also be madly funny. Despite these qualities he struggled to get his novels published. What Mark wrote the big publishers didn’t want to publish. Their comment that his writing was not commercial was a self-fulfilling prophecy.
He had more luck with his short stories, and I was very pleased to be able to publish Mark’s SF adventure, Alien Invaders, last year in the charity anthology Mind Seed.
Apart from being a writer, Mark was a lot of other things too – teacher, traveller, esoteric academic, winner of the T Party 2008 Wasabi Bean Death-Match, and a man who was once escorted to the border of Turkmenistan by the secret police.
Mark wrote as Markus Wolfson. His novel, The Magonia Stone, was published by The Exaggerated Press a few days before his death. I can remember how pleased he was when he announced the deal a few months ago. When it was obvious how ill Mark was, Terry Grimwood at Exaggerated worked hard to make sure Mark saw his book. Visitors read it to him as he lay in his bed in the hospice.
I’ll remember Mark at the 2008 T Party writing group week at Glencanisp Lodge in Scotland. It was mid-summer, we were so far north the sun barely set. We drank a different bottle of whisky every night. It was there that we enacted a reading of The Eye Of Argon. Some say this is the worst fantasy story ever written but it has a unique charm (and vocabulary). We brought it to spectacularly to life in a performance reading with impromptu costumes. Only Mark could say ‘Grignr’ with such portentous resonance. He also giggled like a mad thing and rolled round on the carpet weak with laughter. We all did. I’d never seen him happier.
Mark died at 6am on Tuesday, 30th June, 2015 in Trinity Hospice, Clapham, London. Here are the final words of the Magonia Stone, which were read at Mark’s funeral:
“Meanwhile, Gods and spirits continue to do what they do, even up to the present day, so I, your historian, believe; to the profit or loss of Humanity, as may be; so now I rest my pen.”