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There are a number of ideas and references in The Outsiders that could probably do with a bit more explanation. I've endeavored to go into some of them here, as well as providing a reading list for those who are interested. I've also included a bit more information about some of the people involved in the story (sort of). None of this is required reading, but it may help to explain and enhance some parts of it. At worst, it will give a glimpse into the author's deranged mind, which could be exciting, in a daytime-television sort of way...


Music is at the heart of my writing, both in inspiration and as a means of getting into the minds and hearts of the people I write about. Often a piece of writing will be colored, in my memory, by what I was listening to at the time. Sometimes a particular song or album will actually inspire or in some way affect the generation of a story. This is sometimes active and sometimes passive. Often, when starting something new, I'll seek out music that seems to reflect the mood of the piece and listen to it while I'm writing. I've included some of the prominent examples below, with occasional links to the music in question.


I should probably put this in its own little category, but this is my commentary, so the hell with it. I confess: I am a MASSSIVE fan of the band Tool, and a large part of my inspiration comes from their music. More on this later. For whatever reason, Liam is the person I always think of first in regards to their album Undertow, though it might as well be the soundtrack for The Outsiders as a whole. In particular, for Liam-


4 Degrees, by Tool


Sober, by Tool


Sweat, by Tool


Low, by Cracker


The Day I Tried To Live, by Soundgarden



Isaac comes from a more varied musical palette than Liam, though in his rages he overtops just about everyone else. All the same, he's probably the most difficult of the three to pin down musically. Also- and here's another confession for you- I have a secret obsession with the Tears for Fears album 'Elemental'. It snuck in at a few points, among other songs. Here are a few:


Elemental, by Tears For Fears


The Cardinal Sin, by Dead Can Dance


Spirit, by Dead Can Dance

(closest thing I could find on the interwebs was a cover of this song by The Hourglasses:


No Excuses, by Alice In Chains



During my writing, I found more songs that resonated with Sandra than anyone else. Possibly because, beneath all the bluster, she's the one who is the most (to misquote Sartre) 'alone and afraid in a world she never made'. There's a lot of music that reflects that.

In particular, most of the Kidney Thieves album 'Zerospace' resonates with Sandra.


Before I'm Dead, by Kidney Thieves


Zerospace, by Kidney Thieves


Pleasant, by Kidney Thieves

(this is actually off the album 'Trickster', but it's what I *always* listen to when writing Sandra in a rage. "Your cry is pleasant to me..." Shudder.)


Six Underground, by the Sneaker Pimps


Teardrop, by Massive Attack


There are also songs that reflect, or helped with the writing of, certain scenes in the novel, but after some debate, I've decided to leave them out in the interest of not messing with anyone's personal vision of the story too much.


There is one song I *cannot* ignore. If there's one piece of music that both inspired and colored the whole of the novel, one song that reflects both the tone and the theme of The Outsiders, it's 'Flood' by the band Tool. I've written out the lyrics for those who don't want to follow the link and wait through the LONG acoustic lead-in to the song (Four minutes or so), but for those interested in following the novel's backtrail, you can get no closer than this particular piece of music. If you're willing to wait through the long lead-in, I feel the song is worth it.


All I knew

All I believed

Are crumbling images

That no longer comfort me

Scramble to

Reach higher ground

Order and sanity

Something to comfort me

So I take what is mine

Hold what is mine

Suffocate what is mine

Bury what's mine

Soon the water will come

And claim what is mine

I must leave it behind

And climb to a new place now

This ground is not the rock I

Thought it to be

Thought I was high

Thought I was free

Thought I was there

Divine destiny

I was wrong

This changes everything

Runnin' away

Runnin' away

Got me runnin' away

Runnin' away

Got me runnin' away

Runnin' away

Got me runnin' away

Runnin' away-

So I take what is mine

Hold what is mine

Suffocate what is mine

And bury what's mine

Soon the water will come

And claim what is mine

I must leave it behind

And climb to a new place-

Water's rising up on me!

Water's rising up on me!

Thought the sun would come deliver me

But the truth has come to punish me instead

This ground is breaking under me

Cleanse and purge me

In the water!


Magic, Mysticism, and the Occult

There's a lot of mystical theory floating around in The Outsiders, and since a few people have asked, I thought I'd provide a bit of a reading list for those who are interested.



Much of the magic hearkens back to the ceremonial magick of Aleister Crowley, Israel Regardie, and the Golden Dawn.

Crowley is by far the most well-known of the bunch, having done for magic what Freud did for psychology. His books are generally the easiest to find, and if you can stomach the language, put up with the nonsense, and do the necessary backtracking for all the books he references, they DO contain a great deal of useful information, on both practice and theory.

Useful books by Crowley:

Magick Without Tears - This is probably the closest Crowley ever comes to being simple and forthright. Unfortunately, it's also a bit hard to find, and good copies can go for 40 dollars. If anyone's *really* interested, the author might happen to have a PDF of this book to share out. It's not the best quality, but it's free.

Magick, Book 4 - This is the Encyclopedia Britannica of Crowley's brand of ceremonial magick. It's got a bit of everything. Unfortunately, for Crowley, 'everything' includes nonsense, pomposity, oblique references, and dogma, along with wisdom, practical information, and collected knowledge. It's not too hard to find, however, it's roughly the size of Rhode Island, and may set you back a bit. On the other hand, it is very heavy, and could probably be used to stun a burglar. So that's a plus.

Eight Lectures on Yoga - Probably one of the best treatises on Yoga as practiced by magicians, which differs greatly from most of what is taught in gyms and exercise tapes in the West.

Israel Regardie was a student of Crowley, as well as his personal secretary, before splitting with him and going off to do his own thing. He's a great deal more straightforward than Crowley, but he's also more dry, and less prone to jokes and humor. His books are a bit harder to find, but worth the look for those seriously interested in the magical systems of Crowley and the Golden Dawn.

A Garden of Pomegranates - I think this one is still in print. Deals with Qabalistic magick as practiced by the Golden Dawn

The Middle Pillar - Another thorough treatise on ceremonial magick.

The Tree of Life - I'm almost certain this one is out of print. It was written earlier in Regardie's life, and is somewhat different in tone. Again, the author might have a PDF available for anyone interested.

The Golden Dawn - You can probably guess the subject matter. A thorough treatise on the Golden Dawn system of magic.

Chaos Magic and Other Systems

The latter half of the 20th Century saw the advent of a number of new systems of magic and magical thought. Chaos Magic, in particular, stands out as an original set of ideas. A few useful books on this and other systems include:

Book of Lies, the Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult - Not to be confused with Crowley's 'Book of Lies', this is a compendium of essays on magical and mystical thought in the 20th century, and an excellent place for an occult scholar to start.

Generation Hex - A counterpart to Book of Lies, dealing with new ideas and systems being developed by young people in the 21st century.

Condensed Chaos, by Phil Hine - Phil Hine's guide to Chaos Magic. Phil Hine is one of the most down-to-earth authors on the subject of magic, and his work is refreshingly straightforward.

The Book of Pleasure, by Austin Osman Spare - I couldn't list books on Chaos Magic without including something by Austin Osman Spare, the great-great-grandfather of the movement. An artist and magician living around the same time as Crowley, Spare pioneered a unique and streamlined system of magic...that being said, much of what he's written is still difficult for me to understand. Approach with care.

Nightside of Eden, by Kenneth Grant - Grant's darker approach to modern magic. Grant is currently the head of the OTO, an organization previously headed by (of course) Crowley. His writing is poetic, unsettling, and sometimes opaque. Not a place I would recommend starting, but somewhere to visit to get a more complete picture.

Mysticism, Weirdness, and Discordianism

This is kind of a dumping-ground for other works that have contributed to or inspired some of the ideas in The Outsiders.

The Illuminatus! Trilogy, by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson - The Holy Grail of weirdness, and the primer for Discordianism. I've gone on at length about this book (or trilogy) before, but I can't praise it enough. It is to the occult world what Ulysses is to modern literature. It will scramble your brains, rewire your nervous system, teach you about magic, and make you laugh. Read it.

Prometheus Rising, by Robert Anton Wilson - A nonfiction book about the Eight Circuit Model of Consciousness, an excellent map of who we are as conscious beings, and where we might be going. Should be required reading for anyone interested in psychology or philosophy.

The Invisibles, by Grant Morrison - Essentially, the 90's answer to Illuiminatus!, only in graphic novel form. Does for chaos magic and modern techno-weirdness what Illuminatus! does for traditional magic and Discordianism.

Promethea, by Alan Moore - Another graphic novel, this one dealing with superheroes, archetypes, magic, and the Tree of Life. Probably the best Tree of Life and Tarot walkthrough I can think of offhand, if you can deal with the idea of learning magic from 'comic books'. The OTO uses it for teaching purposes, if that says anything.

The Book of the Damned, by Charles Fort - A gigantic collection of true incidents which defy scientific explanation. Everything from rains of blood and fish (yes, both have occurred multiple times), to airplanes seen before the invention of heavier-than-air flight. Fort collected hundreds and hundreds of records of unexplained incidents in the early 20th century and put them all together in one big book.

That ought to be enough to keep an interested student busy for a while.


I'd like to thank Dave, Linnie, Karma, and everyone else who took the time to read and sometimes comment on The Outsiders. It's been a trip. It's almost exactly one year to the day from when I started this book. The first section was posted on on November 20th, 2008. As I write this, it is the morning of November 16th, 2009.

Thanks for sticking with it, friends and readers.


John Pickman
MIlwaukee, Wisconsin

"Quit this world, quit the next world, quit quitting!" -Sufi proverb.

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The following comments are for "The Outsiders - Supplemental"
by Beckett Grey

Outsiders' Reading & Listening List
Thanks for this! I find it very interesting that you start by listing your musical inspiration. As for the reading, I don't know how soon my limited reading time will allow for exploration of the works listed, but I'll file them for future reference!

So when does the next story start??? : )

( Posted by: LinnieRed [Member] On: November 18, 2009 )

@ Linnie
Would you believe, in a few days?

( Posted by: Beckett Grey [Member] On: November 18, 2009 )

Take a look at this months "Musings" I have gushed about this beautiful work and would love for you to comment!

( Posted by: HeRoCoMpLeX [Member] On: January 30, 2011 )

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