Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ponderings

I have tentatively begun what I hope may be a sequel to "Inhabitants of Wraithwood," my story in S. T.'s Black Wings anthology. S. T. once hinted that he thought I could write an entire novel situated in Wraithwood, but I prefer the idea of a collection of novelettes, if indeed such a book is possible. This new novelette seems interesting and the few hundred words of opening that I have hold my interest with suggestiveness -- yet there are so many things I have wanted to write and express'd an interest in writing that, now, seem beyond my feeble capabilities. The thing that keeps me from writing, the physical and mental exhaustion, is rooted in my home life; & I was just reading the Norton Critical Edition of Kafka's The Metamorphosis, whut publishes extracts of letters in which he whines about those things that interrupt his writing. I moved in with my mother two years ago (or is it three years? time is not easily measur'd in this existence of day-to-day writing & trying to write), because her weakened condition, her constant falls, &c, make it impossible for her to live alone. We now have to hire professional at-home care, & this will be good for me because it will give me more freedom for coming down here to the basement where I write my books without my constantly listening for mother's movements. I'll be able, I hope, to fully concentrate on writing, to lose myself within the work, such a delicious affair.

So, I'm working on what I propose to be a 9,000 word sequel to "Wraithwood," and the completed story will be one of the original pieces in my forthcoming Hippocampus book, Uncommon Places. I also want to add an addition of ten-thousand words to the title piece of that book, which is a 15,000 word prose-poem/vignette sequence with each segment inspir'd by entries in Lovecraft's Commonplace Book. I was just scanning over Lovecraft's notes that compose his Commonplace Book in S. T. Joshi's Miscellaneous Writings Lovecraft volume that was publish'd by Arkham House, and I have found a number of entries which inspire new dreams & nightmares that I think I can spill forth onto paper. There are now already two different versions of my sequence, "Uncommon Places," the first having been written for my revised/expanded edition of Dreams of Lovecraftian Horror that was supposed to be published by Mythos Books -- that version of "Uncommon Places" was 10,000 words. I then added another 5,000 words for the version that is to be publish'd next month in The Tangled Muse, my omnibus from Centipede Press. Because the Centipede Press edition will be limited to 150 copies, I am reprinting most of its new original contents in the next Hippocampus Press collection, whut I am now calling Uncommon Places -- & it struck me that, since I am using the sequence as the book's title piece, it wou'd be well to lengthen it againe by 10,000 words. That would bring my Hippocampus Press book up to, I think, around 70,000 words, a good size.

I lack the kind of discipline that a writer needs to be an absolute professional. That I have completed as much work as I have under the conditions in which I am living is, for me, a miracle. I have a profound determination to write book after book until I am either gaga or dead. This aesthetic compulsion deepens the older I grow. I want, when I die, to leave behind me a solid body of work. This zeal for production is something I got from reading the Life and Works of Henry James -- my gawd, that man lived to write! When I was working on revising everything for the Centipede Press book, I fancied that I was working on my own New York Edition of my oeuvre, scanty though it be. The combination of growing older, ill health, and a perverse home atmosphere hath slow'd down my fictive work to a depressingly paltry output. Hopefully, bringing in some professional help to be with my mother will free me and restore the energy that hath ebbed from me, enabling me to produce produce produce. That is my soulful prayer, to whatever Things may hear such.

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