Aye, my sweets, I'm feeling good. I've overcome my boring writer's block of two months. You see, I've been writing on the dining room table for the past year, because it allow'd me to be closer to me mum, who suffers from profound dementia and freaks out when left alone. When her dementia takes over, she becomes very loud, and it is frightfully distracting and thus makes concentration on work impossible. So about two months ago I moved my laptop into the back bedroom, a small bedroom that was mine when the house was first built and I was around six years old. The room is filled to overflowing with my books, and there isn't much free space to move around in; & I guess I felt too crowded or whatever, because writing in there was impossible. Also, I missed the lovely scene from the dining room windows, lots of sky (I especially love the sky when it is overcast and gloomy) and with a wonderful tree across the street that I never tired of admiring.
So, as an experiment, on a hunch, I moved me laptop back to ye dining room table, to see if the change would get me back to writing. The results have amazed me. S. T. Joshi sent an invitation to write for a new anthology he is editing for ye revived Fedogan & Bremer. The anthology will be called Searchers After Horror (the first words of H. P. Lovecraft's "The Picture in the House"). I've longed to be in a Fedogan & Bremer anthology, I so love their books, so I worked diligently on a new Sesqua Valley story last week, bringing much of its suggested imagery from Lovecraft's tale. I wrote the story especially quickly--I think I was utterly starved to finish a new tale after two months of nothing--and it spilled from me so easily. I cannot understand the psychological trick that rules what makes it possible for me to write, why moving from a cramped small room to a specious dining room makes any difference whatsoever. If felt wonderful, as you can imagine, to be able to get lost in the creation of a new work. The story, entitled "An Element of Nightmare," came to 3,630 words; S. T. accepted it for publication this morning.
S. T. Joshi and the gang will be here this Friday, December 7, to bring me & mum some Thai food and do a YouTube video promoting new things. I just got my contrib. copies of WEIRD FICTION REVIEW 3 and it is outstanding. I'll be sure to get S. T. to give us details on the Clark Ashton Smith collection that he is editing for Penguin Classics.
I suddenly feel gobs of writing energy, and such elan is best spent working on a new book. My idea to write a short story sequel to my tale, "The Strange Dark One," has been set aside, because I think the idea may require novel-length rather than novelette length. I want to begin serious work, full-time work, on the book I am writing with my old Lovecraftian chum & editor, David Barker. He's written a number of Lovecraftian tales that I felt needed to be collected; & it came to me that I'd like to write around ten new Lovecraftian stories and then publish them with David's as a collection, similar to the book I co-wrote with Jeffrey Thomas. Because I want the tales be be dead Lovecraftian, I have decided to base each one on some specific tale by HPL. Thus, I brought down my mammoth and weighty volume of Grandpa's Works publish'd by Centipede Press in their Masters of the Weird Tale series. I open'd to ye first story, "Dagon," and instantly rejected it as a source of inspiration. It did not sing to me, you see, and open my imagination evocatively. Thus I turned to ye book's second story--"Polaris." The full-page illustration opposite ye tale's first page is quite disturbing. I adore being disturbed. I read the story and was immediately enchanted with its tone, its prose-poem language. Yes, this will do. I found my copy of the Hippocampus Press book, Primal Sources, by S. T. Joshi, & read his essay therein concerning "Polaris." I then remember'd that the amazing new Lovecraftian critic and dear chum, J. D. Worthington, had a splendid essay in the newest issue of Lovecraft Annual: "Sources of Anxiety in Lovecraft's 'Polaris,'" a wonderful essay that I've already read twice. I read it again to-night, & it has inspir'd some of the points on which I want to touch in this new story. This is my new "thing" as a writer -- I don't quite understand why, but I'm digging it. It's taking a story by H. P. Lovecraft and writing my own "take" on it. I've written my direct sequel to "The Hound" and my own version of "The Lurking Fear." The story that I just sold to S. T. is heavily influenced by "The Picture in the House." I think my next story will be my own strange "version" of "Polaris."
Reading J. D.'s essay brought a shocking realization to mind: E'ch-Pi-El wrote "Polaris" almost one century ago. It shocks me to realize that, because H. P. Lovecraft feels so present to me, modern and relevant. To remember how long ago those early tales were written is weird indeed!