Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hanging Out with Grandpa


This is me and HPL at ye Sesqua Depot around 1933.  I have a vague recollection of the day.  My friend, Andrea, took the photograph with the camera that was left behind by Richard Upton Pickman, who vanished in Sesqua Valley after a visit with Simon Gregory Williams (you can read about that in my story, "Depths of Dreamks and Madness," to be published next month in my new book from Dark Regions Press, Gathered Dust and Others). 

Jeffrey Thomas has been working his ass off editing and proofing our book, Encounters with Enoch Coffin, whut will be publish'd next year by Dark Regions Press.  I have to say that I am extremely excited about this book!  Last year at this time I entered a state of intense creativity, utterly hypnotized by my Ever-Muse, H. P. Lovecraft, and wrote Some Unknown Gulf of Night in six weeks.  (The book just came out in paperback and there are so copies for sale at Amazon.com.)  It happened again this year, as I was writing my stories for the Enoch Coffin book -- I became utterly beguiled by our character, Enoch, and his exploits.  Jeff kept sending me his tales for the book, and they are amazing!  I love our book because it is so audaciously Lovecraftian.  Writing it with Jeff has been one of the best experiences in my life.  I think the story I wrote, set in Kingsport, may be my very finest piece of fiction.  Ye Contents of the book is:

"Ye Unkempt Thing"
"Matter of Truth and Death"
"Beneath Arkham"
"Spectral Evidence"
"They Smell of Thunder"
"Mystic Articulation"
"Every Exquisite Thing"
"Impossible Color"
"Ecstasy in Aberration"
"Shadow Puppets"
"Fearless Symmetry"
"Unto the Child of Woman"

Jeff focused on writing stories set in real New England, while I set my tales in Lovecraft Country.  I did, however, write one tale set in Providence, and then I decided to pen one final tale of Enoch Coffin visiting Sesqua Valley.  The book will have a jacket by the magnificent SANTIAGO CARUSO!!

There are a number of anthologies still to come out this year in which I have tales.  Let's see if I can remember all of them:
NEW CTHULHU: TALES OF THE RECENT WEIRD
THE DEVIL'S COATTAILS
HORROR FOR THE HOLIDAYS
MONSTERS AND MORMONS

Hmm, I may be forgetting one other.  NEW CTHULHU will be reprinting "The Fungal Stain," and the book's contents looks just wonderful, I'm very excited about that book.  Maryanne K. Snyder and I wrote a story for THE DEVIL'S COATTAILS in which newly-born Simon Gregory Williams of Sesqua Valley journeys to London in 1879 and taunts Oscar Wilde.  My story for HORROR FOR THE HOLIDAYS, "The Tomb of Oscar Wilde," is a tale of Rosh Chodesh.  And MONSTERS AND MORMONS will reprint "Recompense of Sorrow" for its first American publication, and I have tweaked ye tale a bit for this new publication.  Oh, I've just completed a new piece for the December issue of the Lovecraft eZine, a wee poetic trilogy for ye Holy Days called "Elder Instincts."

I think I am, at last, in the mood to write.  To begin work on the next book, a book of very queer Sesqua Valley tales to be publish'd by Arcane Wisdom Press.  I like writing for Larry Roberts.  I mean, he brought Gulf out so quickly in that gorgeous hardcover edition, and now the trade pb edition is out.  I order'd a copy of ye pb from Amazon cos they got copies before Larry did.  All of the copies that Amazon had sold out (there were probably only five), but some individual sellers are selling it there as well.  Prices at Amazon can be so fucked-up.  One guy was selling this just-published paperback for $104!!!  He has since lower'd ye price to a mere $59.  And someone is selling a used copy for $41.33 -- but I wonder if that is a used paperback edition or of ye hardcover?  Hmmm.

It's fun to be a writer.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

CAS illos for "The Lurking Fear"


I don't think I have posted these illustrations that Clark Ashton Smith composed for the Home Brew appearance of H. P. Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear."  These are some nasty (i.e. sexual) looking trees.  Their trunks seem to me quite like some of the line work of Aubrey Beardsley.  I find them rather wonderful.

Some have claimed that Lovecraft was not a "sexual" writer, as opposed to Smith (who was so sexual that editors demanded toning down of many of his tales, some of which were later published by Necronomicon Press in their The Unexpurgated Clark Ashton Smith series of chapbooks).  There are, of course, extremely blatant sexual touches in Lovecraft's fiction, wherein mortal souls cross ye rim and copulate with the Outside.  These sexual situations in Lovecraft seem tied to his abhorrent racism, but they make for potent horror.

Can we assess Lovecraft's sexuality from his fiction?  I don't think so.  Some have suggested that HPL's tales reveal his latent homosexuality, for we find close male bonding, one man describing another's masculine beauty, and (in "The Lurking Fear") husky dudes sharing the same bed.  Lovecraft was homophobic, detesting queens such as myself, effeminate men, while admiring male beauty if he found it noble, intellectual, and masculine.   I don't know.  What do Shakespeare's sonnets tell us of the poet's sexuality, if anything?  The very erotic portions of the sonnets are clearly heterosexual.  I don't think, if one didn't know I was queer, that one could guess my sexuality from my last book, Some Unknown Gulf of Night, because its most explicit eroticism is mostly heterosexual. 

I was really back to reading CAS when I thought I was going to write a book inspired by his work.  But then I realised that I didn't have what it takes, as an artist, to write such a book--not yet, anyway, so I set Smith aside and worked on other things.  Now I have a hankering to return to Smith and relish his eroticism.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Writing Lovecraftian Weird Fiction


October is usually my favorite month, but this one has been gawd-awful.  The few good bits were visits from friends.  I haven't been able to write, and I have felt what seemed almost a hostility to the idea of writing--something new and really sick, but I think I'm over it.  I don't know if it's burn-out or what.  I've been writing my brains out and still have gobs of books coming out, two more this year and four next year.  When I feel, as an author, like a lost soul, I often return to Lovecraft, and there I find myself anew.  It has happened this week, at last, from my reading of the remarkable book shewn above.  Ken Faig has been doing some brilliant research on Lovecraft for a very long time, and much of his finest work is in this book from Hippocampus Press.  Last night I reread Ken's essay "Lovecraft's 'He'," and in one part of this remarkable essay he quotes a passage from a Lovecraft letter that relates a dream, and I felt that familiar, beloved ache to use this dream as the basis for a new wee tale, combining it with similar things culled from ye Commonplace Book.  
This is how it works for me as a Lovecraftian writer--I can find inspiration in all of Lovecraft, or in books about Lovecraft.  It all remains a fount of never-ending inspiration and aesthetic nourishment.  It has become utterly addictive to me, and I am happiest when I am writing new Lovecraftian weird fiction.  I love the hunt through HPL's Works for inspiration, and I love sitting back and letting my writer's mind weave all of the influences into some new work.  It's intoxicating.  So, I hope to end this month by beginning and maybe completing a new wee thing, that I want to submit to S. T. for BLACK WINGS III.  I want to write a kind of dreamy tale, probably less than 3,000 words, inspired by "The Ancient Track," something akin to what I wrote in Some Unknown Gulf of Night.  I have an idea, but there have been too many distractions today to begin work on the piece.  Perhaps tonight.  

It's one of my perverse little goals in life to be identified as an artist with H. P. Lovecraft--totally.  I want to be a part of his shadow in the realm of weird fiction.  When the happy day of my death arrives, and those still living pick up one of my books, I want those readers to be haunted by two ghost, spectral twins.  I want my work, always, to conjure forth the shade of H. P. Lovecraft.  This passion is, I think, part of what makes my work unique and my own.  

Ah--mother calls from ye upper regions.  I must flee.



Monday, October 10, 2011

Rad Friends & Good Times


This delightful Cthulhu face mask (perfect for holding up banks in Arkham) was one of many splendid gifts from Charles Schneider, a magnificent fellow.  This has been one of ye gnarliest week-ends of my life, the people I live with have behaved so badly, shockingly so, and I ached for that time when I lived alone in my own wee apartment.  But the week-end was saved by short and pleasant visits from other Lovecraftians.  It was great fun to sing, along with such serious weird scholars as Scott Connors and S. T. Joshi, "Happy Birthday" to Larry Roberts of Arcane Wisdom Press.  And to be able to share that experience online, at YouTube, is simply joyous.  Larry Roberts has inform'd me that ye trade paperback edition of Some Unknown Gulf of Night will be releas'd on October 31st.

I never intended to go online.  I had no interest in email or YouTube, and I knew nothing about forums except for Thomas Ligotti Online, whut I discovered while using a computer at the public library.  It was S. T. who insisted that I go online.  My first book for which he was editor, The Fungal Stain and other Dreams (Hippocampus Press) is a book I typed entirely on me electric typewriter.  I then made xerox copies of the entire book and sent all of that to S. T., who then had to scan the entire book.  "We're not doing this again, Wilum," S. T. told me sternly; & when Jerad Walters said he wanted to publish an omnibus of my work through Centipede Press, I had my friend Greg Lowney help me hook up.  It hath changed my life.  Being able to write using a keyboard panel hooked to my laptop feels like I'm still at ye typewriter, something I need psychologically.  But I am writing far more quickly these days, since I do my roughs on the laptop and then print yem out and polish.  Indeed, S. T. and I were recently discussing that it is now impossible to pen rough drafts in longhand, as was our usual practice.

So I am very thankful for the Internet.  It has expanded my life enormously.  It has made it so much easier for my readers, all around the world, to buy my books.  And it makes the writing of those books far easier too.  I've not been able to write much of late, because of my bewildering, depressing and exhausting homelife.  Happily, my elder sister, Linda, arrived to Seattle this morning, to spend a week.  Tomorrow is our mom's birthday and the birthday of Linda's daughter, Brandee, and so we are having a big celebration here.  But I now get a  very needed break from having to care for our mother, which has so exhausted me of late that writing has been impossible, because sleep has been impossible.  I have spent most of today sleeping.  Tomorrow, I plan on returning to writing!!!  Hooray!!!  I have a nice wee autumnal piece in mind for ye Lovecraft eZine.

Many thanks, my darlings, for reading my blog and watching my vlogs.  You enrich my life.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

SPAWN OF YE GREEN ABYSS


S. T. Joshi's planned reprint anthology of his favorite Mythos tales, Spawn of the Green Abyss, will now be published by Centipede Press, probably in the summer or fall of 2012.  Centipede Press will publish both a trade edition and a signed limited edition.  Actually, although most of ye stories are reprints, the anthology will include some new tales that will see their first publication in this book.  Ye Nameless Contents Be:
"Spawn of the Green Abyss," by C. Hall Thompson
"The Deep Ones," by James Wade
"The Franklyn Papers," by Ramsey Campbell
"Where Yidhra Walks," by Walter C. DeBll, Jr.
"Black Man with a Horn," by T. E. D. Klein
"Nethescurial," by Thomas Ligotti
"Black Brat of Dunwich," by Stanley C. Sargent
"The Phantom of Beguilement," by ye Queen of Eldritch Horror
"...Hungry...Rats," by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. (original to this edition)
"Virgin's Island," by Donald Tyson (original to this edition)
"In the Shadow of Swords," by Cody Goodfellow (original to this edition)

And, next year will see S. T.'s anthology of all-new original Lovecraftian tales, Black Wings II.

It will be interesting to see if this new trend of Mythos anthologies, all of which seem to have the name "Cthulhu" somewhere in their titles, will continue.  Next month we have New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird from Prime Books, a reprint anthology with a very solid Contents.  I hope these books continue to come forth, especially the reprint volumes--then I can be in new books but still be lazy and not write new yarns.