Professor of Literature and Creative Writing
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
toll-free: (800) 456-9009
The Calling is the story of Blackford "Toad" Turlow, an ambitious, impressionable young man who aspires to be a writer. The voice singing in his head is that of Eldon Odom, a famous -- sometimes infamous -- novelist to whom Toad apprentices himself.
In the beginning, Toad devours every morsel from Odom, both words and actions. But along the way he learns far more than the art of crafting fiction. He discovers that behind Odom's genius is a warped human being who abuses himself and those around him with alcohol, drugs and debauchery. Instead of teaching his eager disciples about writing, Odom uses them to fulfill his base desires.
But Toad also listens carefully to "The Old Man," the writer who years before was Odom's own mentor and who describes himself as "just the strange boy who cared to write things down." Toad is also influenced by the echoes of his reckless, lovable dead sister, Trish; Odom's lean and lusty girlfriend, Linda Briggs; Odom's loving and patient wife, Missy Sully; and by Toad's own girlfriend, the knowing Ardis Baines.
From this boozy, brilliant cast of characters, Toad eventually learns that a man and his art are two different things, that the worth of one may far exceed the other, and that there are dangerously thin lines between creativity and madness, between dedication and obsession. The Calling is a beautifully written and thoroughly engrossing novel of passion and purpose -- one that tells much about the calling and the called.
"The Calling is the best book ever written about that peculiar American invention -- the creative writing class. With the portrait of Eldon Odom, I think Mr. Watson has provided us with an archetype of the American novelist -- dissolute and self-absorbed, brilliant and on fire with his own genius."
Copyright Sterling Watson