Wednesday, July 20, 2011

S. T. JOSHI

The first time I met S. T. was at a very early Norwescon here in Seattle.  I don't think he had yet edited the Corrected Text Editions of Lovecraft for Arkham House, but he had already secured his reputation as a Lovecraftian scholar of note.  I had read his letters and essays in zines such as Nyctalops and was quite impress'd.  But it was his editing of the four volumes of HPL's Tales for Arkham House, and then the wonderful edition of Miscellaneous Writings that made me an obsess'd Joshi fan.  To have Lovecraft's fiction in texts that were as close as possible to how Lovecraft wished them to be preserv'd was just amazing and magical. 


One of the really sensational experiences of my life was when my chums Maryanne and Greg took me on a three-week tour of New England and New York in October of 2007.  It just happened that S. T. was in Providence during our four-day stay there, doing work on Clark Ashton Smith at ye John Hay Library.  Above you can see S. T, shewing us the boxes fill'd with Smith's personal papers, with poems scrawled in faded pencil -- and Maryanne is freaking out at the rarity of it all.  Those four days were the moft magical of my life, especially the after-noon during which S. T. took us on an exhausting walking tour of Lovecraftian sites on College Hill and I stood next to S. T. before 10 Barnes Street, holding in me moist palms all three of S. T.'s edited/annotated Penguin Classics HPL editions.  That was the finest moment of my life as a Lovecraftian, and it fill'd me with renew'd determination to write book after book in homage to Lovecraft's genius.


There have been many Lovecraftian miracles in my weary life, but the finest was when S. T. marry'd a Seattle lass and moved to our city.  I was at this time return'd in activity to The Esoteric Order of Dagon Amateur Press Association, for which S. T. was the acting O. E.  Having him living in the city gave boring Seattle a mystical sheen, and seem'd a sign from Yuggoth that my life as an obsess'd Lovecraftian weird artist was the right choice and one to be pursued with increas'd alacrity.  Still, I was much too shy and anti-social to actually try and visit S. T. at his Seattle home, and the few times I was him was when he did various book signings at University Book Store.


Finally a new miracle arriv'd and Hippocampus Press agreed to publish a collection of my weird fiction, and thus I worked with S. T. as my editor.  It was such an overwhelming experience.  Up until then I didn't have much interference from my publishers with the contents of my work.  I loved being audaciously eccentric, and this is especially evident in Sesqua Valley and Other Haunts, where I got away with much bad writing, weird and archaic spelling influenc'd by Lovecraft's Letters, &c &c.  Knowing that I'd be working with S. T. as my editor instill'd within me an ache to do my finest writing for the book that became The Fungal Stain and Other Dreams.  S. T. was the one and only critic whose opinion meant anything to me; because he was so intimate with Lovecraft's fiction, I felt that he alone cou'd fully understand my work, my author's obsession with remaining an artist of Lovecraftian horror.  The result was that that first book for Hippocampus Press contain'd my best writing up to that time, showcasing a maturity and consistency of style, most of which was the result of working diligently so as to delivery to S. T. an excellent wee book of Lovecraftian tales.


S. T. has worked as my editor on three books, and was inspirational on my delving into the prose-poem form in writing an experimental volume as my second book for Hippocampus Press, Uncommon Places.  I knew that S. T. was a huge fan of the prose-poem form, and that gave me the confidence to approach him and Derrick with the idea of a book that was fill'd with prose-poems and prose-poem/vignette sequences.  I am especially pleased with that book and ache to see it in print.  The fabulous artist, Gwabryel, has been commissioned to illustrate it, and his work has me so excited.  Below is the pen & ink version of his illustration for my vignette, "Cathedral of Death" -- ye final version will be a full-colour rendition.

I am still in awe of S. T. Joshi, but he has now become a close and very dear friend.  It has been so rad to be able to share that cherish'd friendship with the world via YouTube, when S. T. comes to sit before my webcam.  He has promis'd to come visit around ye holiday season, when we will record our singing of Holiday songs.  It shall be an eldritch clamor!


3 comments:

  1. hey, where is robert chambers buried?

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  2. I cannot now remember the name of the town. Yo Pulver, my bro! Where is it? Joe Pulver took us there when we were in Saratoga, New York for the World Fantasy Con, so it's fairly close to Saratoga.

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  3. Chris Jarocha-ErnstJuly 29, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    According to
    http://www.fortunecity.com/roswell/goldendawn/31/rwc-his.html
    he's buried in the Broadalbin Cemetery, Broadalbin, NY.

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