Friday, June 24, 2011

I AM PROVIDENCE continues to cast its spell

I stole ye above image from another blog, TENTACLII::H. P. LOVECRAFT BLOG, because it reminds me of how wonderful it is when a box arrives from Hippocampus Press.  Although S. T. brought me a set of I Am Providence when he pick'd me up to drive me to last year's H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival and Cthulhu Con, I also purchas'd a set from Derrick as I wanted one for  me upstairs bedroom and one for my work station in ye basement.  I've been reading the book again, slowly, and am nigh half-way through the 2nd volume, and this has had the effect of returning me to add more wordage to my already lengthy review of the volumes at Amazon.  There have been some rather--ungenerous--reviews of the book at Amazon by people who dislike S. T. and claim that he too often intrudes into the story of Lovecraft's life so as to make personal asides.  I find these comments by S. T. always interesting and always adding to the interesting story of Lovecraft's life and Work.  Every page of the book's first twenty-five chapters--every single page--are about H. P. Lovecraft, despite what these morons at Amazon claim.  And it is a story that has compell'd me for decades, the story of a figure who has me so spellbound that he has absolutely alter'd my life, has given me my life!  I initially heard of Lovecraft from reading an issue of the horror film fanzine Gore Creatures that was dedicated to his fiction.  This was in the 1960's.  Then my horror film buddy, Brian, who was into reading weird fiction (I just liked to watch horror films) shew'd me his newly-purchas'd edition of the 1943 Arkham House Lovecraft collection, Beyond the Wall of Sleep, for which he paid a handsome price.  When in high school Brian and I published a one-shot horror film fanzine in which we had a section of tributes to Forry Ackerman.  Somehow I got Robert Bloch's address and got him to contribute a wee tribute to his buddy Forry.

When I went to Ireland to serve as an LDS missionary, I continued to correspond with Bloch; and because my superiors didn't allow me to attend cinema and watch evil horror films, I began to buy books by Bob, or anthologies in which Bloch was one of many writers, and thus I was introduced to names such as Carl Jacobi, August Derleth, Brian Lumley and so many others.  I also went to used bookshops and found Panther Horror editions of Lovecraft's Tales, one of which was called The Haunter of the Dark and other tales.

 And I was intrigued to see that the book's title tale had been dedicated by HPL to my buddy, Robert Bloch.  Finally return'd to the States a total weird fiction freak and discover'd Arkham House the Lovecraft's Selected Letters, and thus HPL's personality engulf'd mine own.  I changed my author's byline, which had been Bill Pugmire, Jr., to W. H. Pugmire, to coincide with H. P. Lovecraft.  I then bought Augie's original edition of Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos and read Lin Carter's A Look Behind the Cthulhu Mythos, and they convinc'd me that I had to become a famous Mythos writer.  I began to mimic, in my letters, Lovecraft's idiosyncrasies as they are found in his publish'd correspondence (such as typing "publish'd" instead of "published," or typing "antient" instead of "ancient"), and dated my letters 1776 instead of 1976.  Yes, I was utterly under ye Old Gent's spell.  The 1970's were such an intense time to be a Lovecraft fans because the new breed of scholars were beginning to publish their discoveries and opinions.  Then S. T. edited the Corrected Texts Editions for Arkham House, and eventually Derrick began Hippocampus Press.  We have now enter'd ye richest time in the world of Lovecraft Studies, with edition after edition of the Works being publish'd by prestigious Houses.

I have never been able to shake Lovecraft from me, and it has been my perverse attitude that I want to be more and more Lovecraftian as I age, and that I want my focus as an author to be tied to H. P. Lovecraft and his genius.  Gawd, there is still so much more to write!  Lovecraft feeds my Muse more powerfully now, in middle age, than ever before.  I strive to find new ways to express my Lovecraftian ecstasy.  The discovery of my passion for writing my wee prose-poem/vignette sequences has been a beautiful find, and I am utterly addicted to ye form.  I am having four books publish'd this year, 2011, which seems mad but that's how inspirational I find writing the weird eldritch stuff.  It's as much fun as it is work--but it's the work I like best, getting lost in that zone we sink into as writers, where the real world fades away and we become lost in our sense of wonder.  It's the best!

So reading these two fabulous volumes feeds me absolutely.  I love them, every page.  If you can, go to Amazon and write your own review of I Am Providence.  The book deserves all the attention and comment we can give it, be it praise or criticism.  In writing it, S. T. Joshi has done such a service to Lovecraft's memory, Lovecraft's genius, and we who celebrate it.  Selah.


  1. Great little "memoir"! Love to hear other people's descent into Lovecraftian madness...

  2. Great read, and I totally agree that ST's Comments, at least from what I've read in the previous abridged version of his bio, are an entirely relevant and interesting part of the book.