Friday, March 12, 2010

Where are the words?

You can probably tell, from my lack of posting of late, that I have yet to pen a new prose poem for the book I am writing now. I have an entire sheet of scribbles, lines and imagery and such, that will eventually be incorporated into the new piece. But I have been distracted all week by boring reality and cannot find the required concentration that allows me to write. This makes me feel such a wimp and an amateur. I have always been a creature of mood, and I have always only written when in the mood. Writing full time was such a fantasy life for me -- but now that it is my every day reality, I find that I lack the professional discipline that is so important. I've come close, this week, to being able to work -- I can feel it now, it's so close, the ability to push away the world and weave words into some new work. Perhaps to-night I shall be able to do something.

So, last night, feeling frustrated and bored, I did an odd thing. I read an early Sesqua Valley story in three "episodes" on my MrWilum YouTube channel. The tale is called "Never Steal from a Whateley," and it was publish'd in a small press zine called The Diversifier in 1976, an issue that is devoted to H. P. Lovecraft and the Mythos and includes items by E. Hoffmann Price, L. Sprague de Camp, Richard L. Tierney and Donald Sydney-Fryer. My story, one that I will never allow to be reprinted so long as I breathe the filthy air of reality, concerns two thieves who venture accidentally into Sesqua Valley and decide to rob one house, in which they find, on a floor in a room filled with eldritch tombs, a rather odd and nameless thing:

"What looked to be fur were feathers, thick, heavily matted. Two large and ugly claws, about one and one-half feet in length, lay on the floor. At the opposite end from where the feet protruded was a head. It was brownish-yellow, large, two hollow sockets staring up at the two men, a large beak just below the eyeless sockets."

How eyeless sockets are able to stare upward remains an unfathomable and eldritch mystery! When Jessica Salmonson read the story she gave herself a near-fatal asthma attack from violent laughter. Now, for the past two years, every time I attend a convention or The H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival, some irritating person brings me a copy of this magazine to be signed. I thought I would be safe at World Fantasy Con last year in San Jose -- but no! I sign'd two or three of the bloody things. I must have been in some really sick mood last night, then, to have decided, "Oh, what a lovely little lark, I'll read my story about the giant reanimated chicken rug on YouTube!" There are times when my perversity shocks even me, myself and I.

I've been dipping into the amazing Centipede Press edition of H. P. Lovecraft that Jerad publish'd as part of his Masters of the Weird Tale series. Do any of you have it? Great Yuggoth, what a book! Folio size, leather bound, with a sewn-in silk book ribbon, and many wonderful illustrations, some in gorgeous colour. And yet, Jerad, too, was slightly perverse when he compil'd ye tome: for although we find some of ye revisions such as "The Mound" and "The Curse of Yig" and that bloody awful Derlethian travesty, "The Horror in the Museum" (which I admit I read with ghoulish relish at least once a year), the book does not contain those wondrous tales of decadent horror, "The Hound" or "The Unnamable"!!! Shocking! Still, it is a wonderful edition of Lovecraft, and comes (in its box set) with a second wee volume of photographs, rare photographs of Lovecraft, followed by sinister and artistic photographs of Providence by J. K. Potter. Gawd, Centipede Press books are so lovely. I am still in a dream-like state at the idea that, this year, I shall have a Centipede Press edition of mine own, edited and introduced by S. T. Joshi. The book will be expensive, but it will contain lots of new, unpublish'd work. Allow me to list its contents:
"Totem Pole," "Beyond the Realm of Dream," "Dust to Dust," "Born in Strange Shadow," "The Darkest Star," "Heritage of Hunger," "An Imp of Aether," "Child of Dark Mania," "The Hands That Reek and Smoke," "The Host of Haunted Air," "The Woven Offspring" (with a shocking revision of its ending), "The Zanies of Sorrow," "Phantom of Beguilement," "A Vestige of Mirth" (which I think is a rather effective example of Lovecraftian horror that is not in any way Mythos), "An Eidolon of Nothing," "The Fungal Stain," "Hour of Their Appetite," "The Sign That Sets the Darkness Free" (another example of my trying to write something that is decidedly Lovecraftian but cannot be linked to the Cthulhu Mythos), "Jigsaw Boy," "Balm of Nepenthe," "The Saprophytic Fungi," "Stupor Mundi," "His Splintered Kiss," "Your Metamorphic Moan," "The Boy with the Bloodstained Mouth," "Bloom of Sacrifice," "Time of Twilight" (written as tribute to my beloved Quentin Crisp), "He Who Made Me Dream," "Garden of Shattered Faces," "Some Distant Baying Sound" (my direct sequel to Lovecraft's "The Hound," wherein I try'd to mimic his tale's narrative voice), "Inhabitants of Wraithwood" (the tale that I consider my finest, soon to see its first publication in S. T. Joshi's anthology of modern Lovecraft tales, Black Wings), "The Tangled Muse" (original to this edition), "Some Distant Memory" (original to this edition), "In Memoriam: Oscar Wilde" (original to this edition), "Uncommon Places" (original to this edition, a prose-poem/vignette sequence of 15,000 words, each segment of which is inspir'd by an entry in HPL's Commonplace Book), "One Last Theft," "O, Baleful Theophany," "Into the Depths of Dreams and Madness" (my sequel to Lovecraft's "Pickman's Model," where I have ye decadent New England artist travel to Sesqua Valley and meet his curious doom), "The House of Idiot Children" (written in collaboration with Maryanne K. Snyder and publish'd in Weird Tales), "Pale, Trembling Youth" (written with Jessica Amanda Salmonson and published in Cutting Edge), and "In Remembrance: Edgar A Poe" (original to this collection. The book will have lots of illustrations, many of them by Aubrey Beardsley (we are trying to give the book an 1890's fin-de-siecle feel and look).

I think I am in the mood to read some of my prose-poem sequence to Oscar Wilde on YouTube -- & perhaps that will inspire me with ye mood to actually write a new prose poem before the fall of midnight. Shalom.


  1. No -- nothing all week. As soon as darkness falls, I am going to dip into my copy of Lovecraft's COLLECTED POEMS and see if reading ye Fungi help to inspire me to write. It doesn't feel like writer's block -- just a kind of tedious boredom with my life and dull reality. I've misplaced my sense of wonder.

  2. .

    Before you, I didn't even know he wrote poems.