This really is the finest single edition of H. P. Lovecraft's weird fiction. It is the perfect edition to find itself into public libraries, or to be used in schools (is Lovecraft being taught in schools these days?). It comes to 1098 pages (ye Contents page lists an "About the Author" final page, but this was not actually included in the book). S. T. Joshi's Introduction is quite substantial, and then the stories are published in the order in which Lovecraft wrote them, so that by reading the book from first to last, we can see E'ch-Pi-El's growth as a writer, see those idea that obsess'd him and to which he return'd. It's a beautiful, sturdy book, and I often find myself reaching for it just to glance through S. T.'s fascinating wee introductory notes that has been supplied for each text.
Of course, my favourite editions of Lovecraft are S. T.'s three Penguin Classics annotated editions. Above we are dining in Providence, Rhode Island, in October of 2007. I carried, every day I was there, at least one of the Penguin editions with me at all times--and there I am with my favourite volume, The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories. These are the volumes of Lovecraft with which I wou'd want to be bury'd, if in fact I was to be interr'd, which I'm not--I want my ashes tossed from Mount Si in North Bend while people are screaming "Yog-Sothoth!" to storm clouds.
Cool Lovecraft editions continue to be forthcoming. In 2015 we can expect a sumptuous edition from W. W. Norton, The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft, edited by Leslie Klinger, who did the fantastic three-volume edition of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes. The volume will have extensive annotations and shou'd be exquisitely illustrated. I was on a panel with Leslie Klinger at World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City, 2008, and he's a wonderful chap. He'll be attending NecronomiCon Providence 2013 next August, so we can get more details on his Lovecraft edition then.
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Still can't bloody concentrate on new writing. I mean, the reason I'm sitting here in front of my keyboard to-night is cos I thought I was gonna work on the new story, "This Phantom in My Eye," the first story for a book I am collaborating on with my buddy, David Barker, who is also a long-time Lovecraftian. For the past month, what usually happens is I'll have to wait until my mother is in bed before I'm able to write, because dealing with her dementia makes concentration on work bloody impossible during the day. So by this time (it's now 10.30 p.m.), I am dog-gone tired, it's been a long day, but now it's peaceful and I think, okay, let's try to write. So I sits here for half an hour, looking at the screen and the wee bit I've already written for the story--which ain't much--and all I can feel is how tired I am. Can't concentrate on the work, so I'll think, "Well, let's write a new blog, or let's write a new book review at Amazon--that way I'll get started writing, and then it may carry on into working on the new book." It usually doesn't. So, still feeling distracted, I'll sit back and frown, and then out of boredom I'll go to YouTube and watch music videos or audio videos of readings of Lovecraft's weird fiction.
Exhaustion and ennui finally overwhelms me, so I go to bed. No worthwhile work has been accomplished. I've heard a rumor that artistic types are bigger emotional babies than most other mortals. True, I wonder? It's at times like this, when week after week passes and I've not accomplish'd any worthwhile new writing, when I begin to freak out and think that perhaps I've lost entirely the ability to concentrate on new work, that I'm just too burned out and tired to carry on. It's frustrating because the flip-side of that is the kind of frantic energy that enabled me to write an entire new book over the summer months, or that allow'd me to write Some Unknown Gulf of Night in six amazing weeks of non-stop productivity. It's either high-voltage creative energy or, like now, a feeling that I've reach'd an end of being able to sustain the peace of mind and concentration needed in order to write. It's like manic/depressive. It's boring.
Guess I'll give up trying tonight and go to bed. Sweet dreams, sweet chums.