Thursday, April 26, 2012

O GAWD! O PROVIDENCE!


How I wish I cou'd have been there.  I wou'd have led them along ye path, just beyond the wee memorial garden to ye right of ye Shunned House--the path I wrote about in my prose-poem sequence, "In Remembrance: Edgar A. Poe."  How I miss hanging out with Laird, whom I consider one of the most exciting  new weird writers today.  But -- but -- they did not shew 10 Barnes Street!  & they were so close to it.  My own tour of H. P. Lovecraft's Providence came in October of 1707, when my dear friends Maryanne and Greg took me on a three-week tour of New England and New York.  By some rare coincidence, S. T. Joshi was in town doing work on ye forthcoming Clark Ashton Smith poetry volumes.  After having toured ye Fleur-de-Lys Building, we wandered to the hidden churchyard of St John's Episcopal Church just below Benefit Street, stopping at our B&B (situated just across the street from the Shunned House) on the way so that I cou'd discard my heavy leather jacket, the weather being exceptionally warm for October.  We gathered at St. John's.
This is where HPL took Helen V. Sully on a date:
"It was dark, and he began to tell me strange, weird stories in a sepulchral tone and, despite the fact that I am a very matter-of-fact person, something about his manner, the darkness, and a sort of eerie light that seemed to hover over the gravestones got me so wrought up that I began to run out of the cemetery with him close at my heels, with the one thought that I must get up to the street before he, or whatever it was, grabbed me.  I reached a street lamp, trembling, panting, and almost in tears, and he had the strangest look on his face, almost of triumph.  Nothing was said."

Some strange spell came over S. T. as he began to speak of H. P. Lovecraft and prepare to take us to various places that HPL haunted in life.  I have never seen Joshi so animated -- check it out:


 It became instantly clear: here is a man who utterly loves H. P. Lovecraft.  He began the trek up the hill to Prospect Terrace, where HPL went to sit on a park bench and write postcards.  The hills in Providence are extremely steep, but S. T. was so wired as he led us on our tour that he seemed to glide effortless up the hill.  I was lagging behind due to my bad foot and lousy lungs, and I envied those younger souls at the head of our pack as they listened, spell-bound, to S. T.'s maniacal jabbering about things HPLish.  From the park we went down the street to gaze at the Halsey mansion, mentioned in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward as the childhood home of Ward.

From here we went the wee ways to 10 Barnes Street, where Lovecraft lived upon his return to Providence after the failure of his marriage and two years in New York, and where he wrote so many of his classics.  I stood next to S. T. as he began to chant, magically, the titles of the Works that Lovecraft wrote while living in that house, and then S. T. declaimed, "This house should be a national monument!"  I was carrying all three of Joshi's Penguin Classics editions of Lovecraft's weird fiction, plus the 1971 pb edition of Fungi from Yuggoth & Other Poems, wherein I made a wee note:
I was overwhelm'd, my darlings.  It was such a moment of Lovecraftian ecstasy.  It was the moment when I made my little vow, that for as long as I could write, I wou'd dedicate my artistic life to paying homage to H. P. Lovecraft with my own weird poetry & prose.  I felt HPL's spirit intensely, and was so overwhelmed by the sensation that I went to the house and placed my hand on its #10, my eyes moist with tears.


We then waited for S. T. and Jonathan Thomas to go get their cars so that we cou'd drive to Swan Point and visit Lovecraft's grave, but just as we drove through the cemetery gates it was a wee bit after 5.00 p.m., and the security dudes were preparing to close the gates.  Sunand then remembered that we had not yet visited 598 Angell Street, where HPL lived when he wrote "The Outsider."


We ended our tour dining on Federal Hill, at an Italian restaurant that was in business during Lovecraft's lifetime.  We met some diners who wanted to pose with the "Boy George dude."


It was a fantastic day.  And I have kept my promise made that day, & have written book after book in homage to ye genius of H. P. Lovecraft.


My book from Dark Regions Press, Gathered Dust and Others, is now available in a trade paperback edition.  I love it when my books are so available, so that the many who cannot afford expensive hardcover limited editions can read my work in less costly formats.

I was thinking, judging from the past three years of intense writing activity, that writing lots of books was my future.  Now I think that the past three years of writing and assembling new book after new book was a fluke, and that it is over.  I don't see many new books coming from me in the near future, although I have returned to writing individual pieces for anthologies.  It's weird, though--in the 1980s and 1990s, I was unable to write anything over 2,000 words.  I seem to have returned to that, and all of my newer pieces have been very short.  Maybe I'm just getting lazy in me old life.  I will soon be turning 61, so the idea of being lazy has its charms.  Anyway, I'm a Taurus, and we are reportedly quite indolent.

Shalom.

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