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.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wee Bit o' Progress

That's me in ye Fleur-de-Lys Building at 7 Thomas Street in Providence, Rhode Island.  It was October 2007, and I am jotting impressions in me travel diary.  I was in Providence for four days, & by delicious coincidence S. T. was also in town, doing work at ye John Hay Library.  Being able to enter this rad building was a major treat for me.  There is something magical about being in Providence, standing before the houses where Lovecraft lived and wrote, dwelling within those buildings mentioned in his weird fiction.  As a Lovecraftian writer, I found it all so stimulating.  I was walking on sacred ground.


Because the building figures in "The Call of Cthulhu," I read from that story as I stood in ye main large studio.  It is in this building that HPL has the dreamer & artist, Wilcox, fashion his statuette of Cthulhu.  I knew that, one of these days, I'd have to set one of my own wee tales there.  I did so when I wrote a Providence story for the book I have co-written with Jeffrey Thomas, Encounters with Enoch Coffin (to be published as limited hardcover next year by Dark Regions Press).  But I want to write another story about the building, and about the artist Wilcox.  So that will be the next thing I work on, slowly.  I.m going to write it for THE BOOK OF CTHULHU III, if such a book is actually published.  I've having a story reprinted this year in THE BOOK OF CTHULHU II, but I thought it would be fun to submit a brand new tale to the third volume in the series.

Writing for anthologies seems to be my future for a while.  I enjoy it.  It's a bit depressing to think that my declining health may keep me from working on books of my own, but if I can do individual pieces nigh & then, that's something.  I've had a number of new pieces, wee things all, accepted for publication recently.


Friday, April 20, 2012

I'm A Mormon


I don't quite understand what's going on, but I am suddenly undergoing an intense spiritual/religious renaissance.  Perhaps this happens when one's life turns into shit and nothing makes any sense, one has completely lost their direction in life and has nothing else to hang on to.  This is different from what I experienced when I returned to religion in 2001.  That was unexpected and uninvited.  When those two missionaries knocked on my door, something inside me sang a song of psychic joy.  I had been aching for a Mormon connection, especially with missionaries, with whom I felt an emotional link because I had served a mission myself, an experience that planted deep seeds.  So I invited those Elders to return and give me the six discussions, telling myself I just wanted to see how different it was from when I was a missionary in 1972/73.  I assured the Elders (and myself) that I would never return to the church.  After the third discussion the Elders challenged me to pray when I was alone.  The idea made me laugh, but then after they left I thought, "Oh what the hell, what's gonna happen?"  Full of cynicism, the old queen got down on her knees and thought.  I didn't even know if I believed in God, what was I going to ask.  So I folded my arms, lowered my grinning mug and asked, "Do You Exist?"  Some of my friends like to tell me I've been brainwashed by the church, but at that time the church had absolutely no hold on me, none whatsoever.  I was a gnarly street transvestite, a glorious punk rock queen.  I had been a male whore.  The spirit of God was not a fire burning within me, and I had no clue about belief. 

The result of prayer was immediate and overwhelming.  It was like a vampire had been at my window, awaiting invitation, and so I said "Enter In" and thus I was seduced, trampled, infected.  Immediately.  My entire body froze as if it had been doused in ice water.  I began to shake violently, my very bones trembling as they never had before.  I felt the presence of my dead father, and his father, my beloved grandfather with whom I went through the Salt Lake Temple when I got my endowments before heading off to Ireland to preach the Book of Mormon.  I heard a voice, within me or without I am uncertain, and it declared:
I live.
The church is true.
Come home.
I was freaked out and pissed-off.  This is not what I wanted.  I did not want a renewal of testimony, I did not want some Heavenly Father reaching out for me.  I was a screaming punk queen and exhibitionist and nothing was gonna change me.  But punk had taught me to embrace everything I am, and Oscar Wilde had whispered in my ear, "Whatever is realised is right."  What the fuck was I supposed to do, be a gutless hypocrite and pretend this thing had not happened to me?  I refuse to be false.  So I started going to church and after two years I entered ye waters of baptism once more in March of 2003.  

It has not been easy, but easy is so boring.  I adore complication and contradiction.  However, since my last heart bollocks that sent me to hospital last Thanksgiving week-end,  my life has slowly, fiendishly unraveled.  I can't bloody write, I have no energy, I sometimes come close to fainting while walking from my car through the Safeway parking lot into the store.  I found my father's old walking cane and use it.  Home-life is messed-up big-time and leaves me exhausted.  My drama queen tendencies are working overtime and it makes me grotesque.  I've lost hope and peace of mind.

So suddenly I am going through this religious thing.  Feels a bit like a cliche.  Been getting gobs of LDS books, biographies of Spencer W. Kimbell and Parley P. Pratt, books by the amazing Terryl L. Givens (published by Oxford University Press no less) that explore Book of Mormon studies and religious matters.  I haven't been able to attend church for months because I cannot leave my invalid mother alone, unattended.  My elder sis is in town, and thus I was able to go to church last Sunday.  Three hours never passed so quickly.  It was heaven.  I have an interview with my bishop this Tuesday evening to try and get the ball rolling in restoring my priesthood.  The idea that I may, at some future time, become a high priest in the Mormon Church is utterly surreal.  I love the unreality of it all.  Great Yuggoth, life is a trip!

Now I want to write a new book of weird fiction about angels, dark angels, depraved angels, queer angels.  But one section of it is going to be a sequence of sonnets and prose-poems in honor of the Prophet Joseph Smith, LDS up ye arse, darlings.  If I am able to return to writing, I'm gonna write this book.  But writing remains difficult because of household chaos that makes it totally impossible to concentrate on composing new work.  Maybe if I pray for peace of mind, that will help me write, nu?

I love solitude and silence, and I often tell myself that the best life for me is one in which I live alone, am left utterly alone so as to summon my Muse and work my art.  Now, going through this messed-up emotional debauch and feeling so out of it, I ache to have a hand to hold, someone in whom I can trust absolutely.  That has led me to turn more and more to God, that daemon in ye sky whom I cannot comprehend yet who calls my name again and again.  And so I grasp his essence, and feel that I do not walk alone.  Freaky, innit?


And of course, when one thinks of all that is heavenly, one thinks of Barbra, doesn't one?


Shalom.

Monday, April 16, 2012

New H. P. Lovecraft book


click on title of blog to be taken to ye Miskatonic Books site!!!!!!  Your wallet is too heavy.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

FAR BETWEEN--A Documentary on Gay Mormons


I am in the forthcoming movie, FAR BETWEEN, a documentary about being queer and LDS.  The film crew was here for four hours filming me, and ten minutes of that has been posted on YouTube.  As far as I know. I am ye onlie Eldritch Queen in the film.  It has already had a wonderful effect:  I heard from Elder Mort (as I call him), one of my missionary companions from when I was serving in Northern Ireland in 1972.  He sent me the photo below, of me standing before a wee cottage in Omagh, County Tyrone.  You cannot tell, but I am wearing my plastic vampire fangs.  I see the future horror writer in that photo!  Lots of good memories of my missionary days, so long, long ago.

Clicking on the title of this blog will take you to the FAR BETWEEN website and many more videos.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bho Blok


"For that restful country feeling," is says just below the name of ye motel.  April 5 was Bob Bloch's birthday.  I got to know Bob because when I was in high school I was determined that once I graduated I was going to go to Hollywood and become the next Boris Karloff, star in classic modern horror films.  Drama was my life, and I had a keen passion for horror films, especially Hammer and Universal productions.  Famous Monsters of Filmland was my golden magazine, and it thrilled me when Forry dedicated issue #69 to me.


I had first contacted Bob when, as a senior in high school, I did a one-shot film fanzine called Fantasia, in which I had a section of tributes to Forry Ackerman.  Well, after one year of college, I was chosen to work as a Mormon missionary in Ireland.    My mission authorities frowned on my going to horror films (although I did so on the sly), and so as an alternative I decided to start reading horror fiction anthologies.  Bloch continued to correspond with me while I served in Ireland, and so I chose my paperbacks because Bob was included as one of ye authors on ye contents page.  Well, I got hooked on horror fiction and soon had to buy a wee suitcase in which to keep my growing collection of British horror paperbacks.  I found a copy of a Panther Lovecraft pb, The Haunter of the Dark.  I knew of Lovecraft because a friend of mine, who was also a horror film fanatic, also read fiction, and once shew'd me a copy of an Arkham House book that he had bought for $60, Beyond the Wall of Sleep; and then one of my favorite horror film fanzines, Gore Creatures, had taken up almost one entire issue with a huge article about Lovecraft's fiction.  Looking through my paperback of Lovecraft's tales, I was excited to see that HPL had actually dedicated the book's title story to my buddy, Robert Bloch.  It was reading those British paperbacks and falling under the spell of the fiction of Bloch, Lovecraft, Lumley, Derleth, Jacobi &c, that convinced me that I, too, wanted to write weird fiction, and I began to do so while working in Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.  I sent one of my first stories, "Whispering Wires," to a magazine called Space & Time, and they accepted it. 

Bob encouraged me to write, and it was through him that I got to know others who had known HPL and were members of the original Lovecraft Circle.  Bob was special to me because he had so much respect and love for H. P. Lovecraft.  Through him, I became a second-generation member of the Lovecraft Circle, dedicating my writing life to penning tale after tale of Lovecraftian horror.  I was totally obsessed with becoming a famous Mythos writer, and I knew that to do so I had to stay true to my vision as a Lovecraftian artist and write stories that were almost obnoxiously Lovecraftian, however unprofessional such an obsession with Lovecraft seemed to others in the profession, where writing Lovecraft-inspired fiction was a youthful phase through which one passed on the way to true individual voice & vision.  I was determined that the writing of Lovecraftian weird fiction would be my personal voice & vision.

So to-day I am remembering Robert Bloch, who was so kind and patient with the weird little fanboy that I was way back when.  The story I am writing at present, "Impious Intuition," is dedicated to Bob, and incorporates aspects of his story, "The Mannikin."  In my newest book, Uncommon Places, the title sequence of prose-poems and vignettes has a semi-sequel to Bob's teleplay for the Thriller episode "The Grim Reaper."  In Dead but Dreaming II my story therein is a sequel to Bob's "The Skull of the Marquee de Sade."  And in my next book, THE STRANGE DARK ONE--TALES OF NYARLATHOTEP, one of the new original works is a semi-sequel to Bob's story, "The Cheaters."  Obviously, his influence, and ye influence of his amazing weird fiction, has deeply rooted into my aesthetic soul.

Happy birthday, Bho.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

ye Lovecraft eZine


ye recorded volume is really low.  bah.  feh.  If I can afford it, I'm getting a new laptop with a webcam that works properly at ye end of this year.