Monday, December 30, 2013

Ye Black Winged Ones



I am preparing to write a Mythos story for AUTUMN CTHULHU, edited by Mike Davis.  It is now a common practice for editors to put "Cthulhu" in the title of their anthologies as a selling point--indeed, Titan Books, reprinting the BLACK WINGS series of anthologies editing by S. T. Joshi for PS Publishing, have insisted on changing the series' name to BLACK WINGS OF CTHULHU, much to ye chagrin of S. T.   I have decided, when writing a tale for an anthology that uses Cthulhu inits title, to make my own story a tale of Cthulhu, or to have ye tale linked in some way to Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu."  Part of my preparation for the writing of my tale was to listen to the entire tale by Lovecraft on YouTube, and to study
what critics have written concerning Lovecraft's story in such books as H. P. Lovecraft: A Critical Study by Donald R. Burleson, H. P. Lovecraft by Peter Cannon, and I Am Providence by S. T. Joshi.  I love the entire story by E'ch-Pi-El; but I want to concentrate on the tale's second section, "The Tale of Inspector Legrasse," which contains some of the coolest suggestions of mythic queerness found in the works of Lovecraft.  The main narrative tone of "The Call of Cthulhu" is that of an event that is grounded in solid (if outrageous) reality.  There is no doubt that the events in the story are meant to have actually occurred, something that cannot be said for tales such as "The Outsider," "Dagon" or "The Music of Erich Zann," which might be a remembering of outre dreaming.  (Writing of "Zann" in a letter of 8 February 1922 to Frank Belknap Long, Lovecraft states, "It is not, as a whole, a dream, though I have dreamt of steep streets like the Rue d'Auseil"--which may imply that the story is perhaps a dream narrative or that it was partially inspir'd by one of its author's fantastic dreams).   Yet, realistic as the tone of the story is, the middle section of "The Call of Cthulhu" touches of myths and legends that are quite fantastic: of a hidden lake in some unknown wooded region, and of the antics of a "swamp cult" (primitive and non-Caucasian, of course), who beat tom-toms in ye black haunted woods.  "There were legends of a hidden lake unglimpsed by mortal sight, in which dwells a huge, formless white-polypous thing with luminous eyes' and squatters whispered that black-winged devils flew up out of caverns in inner earth to worship it at midnight."  I have long been haunted by this idea and image, and will, in my tale, bring such a hidden lake to Sesqua Valley, in which such a beast (shoggoth???) dwells and is worshiped by Black Winged Ones.  These inky fiends will not be night-gaunts, as I want to link them to the other things that drifted to the earth with Cthulhu, those cosmic freaks who built for their Master His city of R'lyeh.  I want one of ye major characters to be a beguiling mestizo woman named Aleta de Castro, who discovers the hidden lake and, through magick, evokes the Black Winged Ones to join with her in ritual to ye outre thing that haunts ye hidden lake.

We shall see if I can come up with a workable plot for all of this suggestive weirdness.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

SPECTRES OF LOVECRAFTIAN HORROR

David Barker, Esq.
Ye new book has been completed and turned in to our publisher, Dark Renaissance Books--and if they accept it, it shou'd be publish'd in time for World Horror Convention in Portland, Oregon.  The book came as a surprise, after David sent me a number of his Lovecraftian tales, all of which impress'd me.  I wasn't really in the mood to write a new book, feeling that I have had too many collections publish'd in too wee a time.  The big surprise, with this book, is the short novel that David and I collaborated on for it.  I had ye beginning for a story that I grew bored with and discarded.  David asked to look at it to see if he could finish it as a collaboration.  We began to work on it together, and it grew and grew beyond belief.  It was finally completed as a work of over 33,000 words, a tale of Lovecraftian horror set in Arkham.  I then realised that I had a number of things that had been publish'd in ye Lovecraft eZine but had never seen printed form, and so I gather'd those works together, added some tales from anthologies from the past few years--and presto, we had a book!  Ye Contents is:

1.  "Your Ivory Hollow" (3,000 words, Pugmire)
2  "The Camber Horror" (5,400 words, Barker)  (my italics keeps turning on for some weird reason, so I'm just gonna leave it on...)
3.  "A Thousand Smokes (1,060 words, Pugmire)
4.  "The Leering Surf" (2,900 words, Barker)
5.  "An Eidolon of Filth" (3.090 words, Pugmire)
6.  "Among the Ghouls" (2,800 words, Barker)
7.  "Through Sunset's Gate" (1,830 words, Pugmire)
8.  "The Temple of the Worm" (1,900 words, Barker)
9.  "An Unearthly Awakening" (1,130 words, Pugmire)
10. "The Urns" (2,700 words, Barker)
11.  "Within One Ruined Realm" (1,685 words, Pugmire)
12. "The Revenant of Rebecca Pascal" (33,455 words, Barker & Pugmire)
13. "O, Lad of Memory and Shadow" (960 words, Pugmire)
14. "The Recluse" (4,200 words, Barker)
15. "Midnight Mushrumps" (2,460 words, Pugmire)
16. :The Stone of Ubbo-Sathla" (1,300 words, Barker)
17. "Elder Instincts" (1,539 words, Pugmire)
18. "The Crickets" (3,600 words, Barker)
19. "Descent into Shadow and Light" (1,300 words, Pugmire)
20. "Yearbook" (2,200 words, Barker)
21. "The Quickening of Ursula Sphinx" (2,170 words, Pugmire)
22. "Mural" (3,800 words, Barker)
23. "A Presence of the Past" (11,400 words, Pugmire)

I consider this a strong and diverse collection, and am really excited to see it come about.  I have a feeling it may be my last book for many years, unless I find renew'd inspiration & energy.  Too, I am looking for full-time employment, and I find it difficult to write after coming home from a long work day.  I hope, now and then, to write some of my weird vignettes for the Lovecraft eZine; but I simply have no energy or interest, really, in working on a new book of short stories.  Time to take a long, long break, and then return to to refresh'd.

with Jason V Brock at NecronomiCon Providence


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thank ye LOVECRAFT eZINE!!

I have semi-retired from writing as I begin looking for full-time work.  Looking for work is so different from what it used to be, everything is done online.  I have a wonderful resource in the LDS EMPLOYMENT RESOURCE SERVICES provided by my church.  I have an appointment with a fellow there on the 11th, and then a full-day workshop on the 18th.  I feel a bit anxious about looking for work, because I am over sixty and have congestive heart failure.  Who will hire me?  But one must try or die.

My writing plans for the next few years will be to write for an occasional anthology if I have time & inspiration.  I want to spend the majority of my free time, in these latter years, reading books.  I have so many books that wait to be read.

But the writing has been a wonderful experience.  I am proud that I have accomplish'd my goal to establish myself as a Lovecraftian author.  It was wonderful to be interview'd on WEIRD TALE's online site.  As a Lovecraftian, I feel a very solid connection to Weird Tales, the magazine with which HPL is so intimately associated.  And now, to-day, the Lovecraft eZine will post their Pugmire tribute issue--a thing that blows my mind.  I so appreciate the attention given to my work.  My goal as an author has been to write stories that would delight Lovecraftians, and this issue of the eZine suggests that I have succeeded in this.  It's been a thrilling and joyous experience, to write my wee tales and be publish'd in book form.  My eternal thanx to all who made it possible--publishers, editors, artists, readers.  The Pugmire issue will be available for reading free or purchasing for your Kindle some time to-day at www.lovecraftzine.com.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

WEIRD TALES ONLINE interview

photo art by WILLIAM HART
Weird Tales Online has just to-day pofted a wee interview with moi, and may be found at www.weirdtalesmagazine.com.  As a Lovecraftian author, I have a special fondness for Weird Tales, the magazine wherein Lovecraft found his primary professional success when he lived.  To be connected to or with the magazine feels like a living link with E'ch-Pi-El, and those psychic links give the Lovecraftian writer a kind of emotional joy and solace that is difficult to explain or rationalize.  So to have this interview up on the magazine's website feels extraordinarily wonderful.  I've sold to ye magazine but once, when they publish'd a story I co-wrote with Maryanne K. Snyder as ye lead story to issue #348 (January 2009).  That rocked my world!



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

wee update


David and I finish'd our short novel, "The Revenant of Rebecca Pascal," and thus our book of stories is completed, and we will be sending it to our publisher, Dark Renaissance Books, at ye end of December.   I wasn't planning on having a new book out next year, but this one kinda crept up on me.  I thought I'd have to write another six or seven new things to fill it out, and I am simply not in a writing mood; but then I found things from anthologies and the Lovecraft eZine that cou'd serve as my other stories for the book, and I have one unpublish'd item that I also added.  We are calling the book SPECTRES OF LOVECRAFTIAN HORROR.  It will probably first be publish'd as limited and deluxe hardcover editions, and then in paperback and Kindle.

I've completely lost interest in writing for now.  I've written too many books in too short a time, and I'm exhausted and bored with it.  I could force myself to work on things, but I don't want to write just for the sake of writing--I want to write because some idea compels me to give it fictive life.  My idea of writing a book of tales set in Providence has completed faded away, from lack of interest & inspiration. So I have a feeling that the writing I do for the next few years will be strictly for anthologies.  I have an idea that I want to write for S. T. and submit to Black Wings V, and I have promis'd stories to Mike Davis and Lois Gresh for anthologies they are editing.

Over the past couple of years I have written gobs of stories for anthologies, the title to moft of which I have now forgotten.  It's funny cos I'll suddenly hear that a book is out with a wee thing of mine that I have completely forgotten writing.  Anthologies that I do remember are moftly those edited by S. T. Joshi.  My friend Jessica and I have a story set in Arkham that will appear in Black Wings III--a story that is decadent to ye core & will hopefully shock and appall many readers and lead reviewers to dismiss the story's authors as "sick degenerates."  I also have a new Sesqua Valley story in S. T.'s forthcoming anthology, Searchers After Horror.

Then, for Black Wings IV, S. T. has accepted a story inspir'd by ye bottle I hold in ye photo above.  This is one of ye bottles crafted by Joe Broers, that he was selling at NecronomiCon--the bottles containing souls that were featured in E'ch-Pi-El's "The Terrible Old Man."  Joe presented me with ye bottle above at the convention, & is feels so weird and wonderful to hold it and gaze at ye swinging pendulum therein.  I find this creation so magical that I simply had to write a story about it, set in Kingsport.

So that's life at ye moment.  After Thanksgiving, whut I am spending with family, I begin ye task of looking for an actual job.  I miss, very much, employment, having a job and a steady paycheck, being part of a work team, and all of that.  I had to give up working my job at ye pizza joint cos the work became too strenuous for my health--I suffer from congestive heart failure.  Luckily, my church has an employment assistance centre, and there they find work for unemploy'd Mormons, even jobs with on-ye-job training.  So hopefully I'll have something before ye end of the year.

Shalom, my darlings.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Oh to be a fly upon ye wall......

To-day in England begins a conference on The Weird at ye Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London.

Keynote speaker One is S. T. Joshi, who delivers a speech entitled "Two Revolutionaries: Poe and Lovecraft."  Keynote speaker two is Roger Luckhurst, who speaks on "Where the Weird is: At the End of the Passage."

Luckhurst is ye editor of THE CLASSIC HORROR STORIES, the edition of H. P. Lovecraft's tales that was publish'd by Oxford University Press.  'Tis a book I refuse to have in my library because its editor has used the pulp texts that were the first publication of most of the stories in the book.  His reason for doing this was because he felt these texts contain'd a "pulp energy" that Lovecraft's Works apparently lack otherwise.  In his review of the book, S. T. has this to say about such a decision:
"How does Luckhurst defend this return to
corrupt texts?  Well, in reality he doesn't. . . .
Luckhurst tries to justify his use of Astounding texts by declaring that he wants to 'retain 
some of the pulp energy that Astounding Stories wanted to inject into Lovecraft's tales'
This is, I humbly submit, blithering idiocy."
S. T. ends his review, "I guess the lesson one has to draw from this book is: Don't entrust an amateur to do a professional's job."

How I wou'd love to listen in onto any discussion these two gents may have at this conference concerning ye editing of Lovecraft's texts!!!


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Peace of Mind

"Whatever is realised is right."
                            --Oscar Wilde

One of the recurring themes in my life has been a search for peace of mind.  The world has always made me feel a bit frantic.  I suffer, often, from scolding voices in my head who berate me for not writing new fiction during those periods when I have a lot of time on my hands.  But now, at age 62, I have been able to stop those voices almost entirely.  Part of this is from growing old and feeling that I have attain'd my artistic goal--to be known in the world as an author of Lovecraftian weird fiction.  I felt the need of that identity intensely--to prove to "the world" that one could be a Lovecraftian writer and still create work that was original and poetic.  This year, with the death of my mother, my mental and emotional approach to life has altered.  I have asked myself, what is it that I want in life?  And the thing I most desire is silence and solitude.  I have this wonderful living room, and I love to sit in my recliner and read.  At the moment I am rereading my many books about Shakespeare and all of my editions of Dante.

I am working on a book, a collaborative collection with my friend David Barker.  David has a number of cool stories for the book, many of which have been published elsewhere, and together he and I are writing a novella set in Arkham that has now reached almoft 30,000.  I am letting David write the final chapters of the thing, and I have just started retyping the entire novella so as to polish it and give it a smooth narrative flow.  I have also selected ten very short items for inclusion in the book, most of which have been publish'd only in the Lovecraft eZine.  They are:
1.)  "Through Sunset's Gate" (1,830 words, to the best of my knowledge unpublish'd);
2.)  "Midnight Mushrumps" (2,460 words,from ye 2012 anthology, Fungi);
3.)  "An Eidolon of Filth" (3,090 words, Lovecraft eZine #21);
4.)  "A Thousand Smokes" (1,060 words, Lovecraft eZine #19);
5.)  "Elder Instincts" (1,530 words, Lovecraft eZine #9);
6.)  "O, Lad of Memory and Shadow" (960 words, Lovecraft eZine #4);
7.)  "Descent into Shadow and Light" (1,300 words; Lovecraft eZine #3);
8.)  "Within One Ruined Realm" (1,685 words, from ye anthology Shadow's Edge);
9.)  "A Presence of the Past" (11,400 words, from ye journal Fungi #21);
10.) "An Unearthly Awakening" (1,130 words, Lovecraft eZine #5).

I will, in time, begin work on a new book, In Dark of Providence, in which most of the stories will be set in Providence.  I want the book completed in time for NecronomiCon 2015, shou'd such an event actually transpire.  Hippocampus Press will publish ye book, and I will be working with S. T. Joshi as my editor.  But moftly I see a future of retirement from writing.  I am utterly addicted to being lazy and doing little more than reading and dreaming.  Eventually I will need to find employment (at ye moment I am living off ye money inherited from my mother's estate), and that will be excellent.  I have always enjoy'd having a job, being part of a work team, having ye security of a regular pay cheque.  Much as I love writing my books, they never sell well enough to bring me any real money.  Indeed, I usually spend half or more of my royalties buying copies of my books to send to friends.

It's nice, to feel that one has enter'd a new phase of life, one in which anxious ambition has quieted.  At the moment I relish doing nothing but sitting in my armchair and reading great books.  I have enjoy'd living my wild party-girl life, being a mad punk rock drag queen and screaming my way through ye days of being.  What a remarkably varied life I have lived!  But how delightful, now, to focus on a retiring existence for the moment, removing myself from society (and social forums and Internet sites), and existing in a world of words and ideas and poetry.  Ahhhh....

art by Jeffrey Thomas

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Discarded Prelude to an Uncompleted Tale


The uncouth creature loped toward the pale willow tree and knelt to the place where grass did not grow.  How curious, that such a canine countenance could look so sly, so cunning.  It raised its green eyes to the full moon and uttered a sound of low baying, and those who heard the sound while sleeping found themselves plunged into depths of strange nightmare that is unique to Arkham.  Now, in modern time, people have mostly forgotten the unique relationship that moonlight has with Arkham; but it was recalled on this night, in this haunted place, by the beast that wrapped its talons around pallid willow vines.  The blasphemous thing breathed heavily, and clouds of vapor issued from its large mouth.  As it blinked jade-green eyes to dead moonlight it chortled to think, with what remained of its once-human brain, of its relationship with the lifeless globe of dust in the sky.  It scanned the silt on which it hunkered, unwinding once monstrous paw from the willow vines so as to etch a sigil in the earth.  Its hand formed into a fist, with which it pounded the ground; and from shadowed places in the graveyard there came the echo of other fists that beat the earth, fists that belonged to fiends pent in darkness.

Something stirred beneath the earth in response to ghoulish pounding, and residents of Arkham moaned as their dreams grew heavy and liquescent--an ethereal bile.  The creature bent to kiss the earth, and when it lifted its head there was a faint coating of yellow debris on its mouth.  Pursing impossible lips, it exhaled so that the chalky particles sailed before its face; and then the pallid cloud drifted down to conjoin with other residue that, sifting upward through the earth, formed as filthy phantom.  Weirdly, the willow vines writhed in greeting of the revenant. The specte raised what might have been a hand so as to make motions to the moon, the moon that darkened and took on a crimson tint as it washed Arkham with a blood-hued pall that seeped into the dreaming of poetic souls.  The old witch-town was haunted by those who screamed in sleep.

The hunkering ghoul drank in the screams of dreaming mortals as its jade orbs shimmered in ruddy darkness.  Others of its kindred crept to join it beneath the willow, forming a semi-circle of shadowed things that watched the chalky apparition. Some few, glancing on the scene, may have been reminded of a painting by Richard Upton Pickman, in which the diabolic artist had created the portent portrait of a hag hanging from a gallows.  Beneath the swaying corpse were gathered an assembly of fiends who paid homage to the murdered witch with moon-washed eyes.  Such eyes watched now, as the pallid shape seemed to try and solidify, to assemble as something more than spectral.  It was not to be, and thus the ghost split into particles of dust that drifted again unto the graveyard ground.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There are a number of things about that explain why I have discarded this particular tale.  Mainly, it is too similar to what I have already written.  How many times can I write of moonlit graveyards and their ghouls?  How often can I evoke Lovecraft's sinister artist?  It all feels too familiar, like I am stuck into some ghastly mode from which I need to escape.  So I share it with ye here.  The writing does not go well.  Mostly, I am bored with the things I try to work on.  Too, I am depress'd about my inability to find a full-time job.  However much I love writing my books, those books bring in so little money and do not help to pay ye bills.  Perhaps that is the root of my depression--I have to grow-up and live in the "real" world.  Bleh....


Thursday, October 31, 2013

bad audio



Strange.  I decided to lessen my involvement online and have deactivated myself on Facebook.  Now, to-day, I discover'd that ye recorded audio on my YouTube page is totally awful.  If I cannot get it fixed, then I shall also "retire" from doing videos there.  That means that this blog will be the one and only place online for y'all to find me.  Maybe it's a sign from ye Outer Ghods that I need to fade--fade away..................

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

missing Providence


Ye above photo was taken on one of my happiest nights, when we gather'd in ye Providence Athenaeum on ye Thursday night when S. T. gave his magnificent speech at ye First Baptist Church.  This was the scene of ye unveiling of the Lovecraft Bronze Bust.  I'm seen here with S. T. and Donavan K. Loucks (who runs ye finest Lovecraft site of all time, The H. P. Lovecraft Archive www.hplovecraft.com).  This room had a display, on loan from Hay Library, of original Lovecraft manuscripts, sketches he made of Cthulhu and ye ghouls in "Pickman's Model," original artwork that Robert Bloch painted and sent to Lovecraft when Bloch was a teenager, rare books &c &c &c.

Although I am unable to concentrate on new writing at ye moment, when I first return'd from Providence and NecronomiCon I found myself overflowing with creative energy, and I wrote a number of new things.  One of the new tales, a new story set in mine beloved Kingsport, was accepted by S. T. for Black Wings IV, and that pleas'd me as I thought I wouldn't be able to contribute a yarn to that anthology.  I have an idea for a story I want to submit to the fifth volume in S. T.'s series, a sexy number that borrows influences from "The Picture in the House" and "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family."  This latter story is a good example of how some wee mention in a Lovecraft tale can set my imagination churning and inspire new weird fiction of my own.  In the story, as ye author relates the family history of the doom'd clan, he mentions:  "Sir Alfred Jermyn was a baronet before his fourth birthday, but his tastes never matched his title.  At twenty he joined a band of music-hall performers, and at thirty-six had deserted his wife and child to travel with an itinerant American circus."  Now there, in two sentences, is the plot germ for what could in itself be a fascinating story of the cursed Jermyn line.  Did the child of he and his deserted wife wear ye family stigmatic?  What happened to that child?  In my story idea, I have the great granddaughter of that union arrive in Arkham, during a bike tour of New England, and take shelter from a storm in a ramshackle barn adjacent to a strange old crumbling house, a house similar in aura to the one described in "The Picture in the House."  This is the way in which Lovecraft's fiction continues to inspire my own Lovecraftian weird fiction, and it is an example of what it means to be an obsess'd Lovecraft fanboy who cannot cease in ye writing of tales "in ye Lovecraft tradition."

I'm taking a wee break from writing, I think.  I want to dream about Providence, and then I will begin to write the new book, IN DARK OF PROVIDENCE, in which moft of ye tales will be set in Providence.  The book will be publish'd by Hippocampus Press, and we hope to have it out just in time for ye next NecronomiCon in 2015.  S. T. will be working with me as my editor.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

life



I'm going through a weird "life crisis" thing that I really need to deal with.  In order to do that I am ridding myself of much of the Internet world, limiting myself to writing this blog and recording vlog updates on YouTube, whut I will post here.  I've been dealing with stress and weirdness since my mother's death in February, feeling like a lost soul and all of that crap.  I think it has made me really sick mentally and emotionally, and I'm feeling weird up ye ass.  Not exactly certain of what I need to do, but one thing I know I need is quiet isolation from the world.  For the past month the only thing I want to do, that I enjoy, is sitting in my wonderful living room and reading, drinking in ye classics of World Literature.  Dante, Milton, Shakespeare, the Scriptures, classic poetry -- they feed my soul and calm my mind.  Literature saves my life, saves me from myself.  One huge disappointment has been my inability, for almoft a month now, to write.  I had convinced myself, after returning from Providence, that I was now able to write easily, to write lots of new stuff.  It lasted for a few weeks, and then it died.  

Anyway, I need to rest and heal.  I need to find myself once more on the path called Life.  I mean to do so, if it kills me.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Shakespeare Wrote Shakespeare



This stupid "documentary" was on telly to-night, and I accidentally came across it just as it was beginning.  As soon as the one woman began to pronounce the Shakespeare family name as "Shakspere," I turned it off.  Spelling of names was notoriously inconsistent in the 1600's, but for me there is plenty of evidence that the Stratford family spelled their name "Shakespeare."  The Stratford Parish Register Entries often name, in christening records, as "Shakspere," The burial register for the playwright's brothers, Gilbert (bury'd 3 February 1612) and Richard (bury'd 1613) have the name spell'd "Shakspeare."  The morons who insist on spelling the Stratford poet's name "Shakspere" &c do so because of the very poor signatures the poet left behind, in his will and other papers.  But we have Gilbert's signature of 1609, which clearly has an "e" after "Shak":


And we have the tomb of Shakespeare's younger brother, Edmund, who followed his elder brother to London and became a player on the stage, and who passed away in 1607.  There the family name is engraved for all to see, thus:
spell'd exactly as the name was spelled by the playwright, or of the playwright in records of his theatrical troops, royal records in which such matters were strictly correct.  The player William Shakespeare was thus named, with that spelling.  And so when these idiots speak of him as "Shakspere,"they are ignoring solid historical fact.

The matter of Shakespeare's not leaving behind any manuscripts of his plays is obviously answer'd.  The plays were the property of his troop.  How else could two of his troop's fellow actors, John Heminges and Henry Condell, compile their excellent First Folio?  What was their source of these texts?  Obviously, they own'd ye original manuscripts.  Those who wou'd deny that Shakespeare wrote his plays can do so only by ignoring solid historical fact.

That's why, as soon as I heard the mispronunciation of Shakespeare's family name by this woman who is ignorant of historical fact, I turn'd off ye this worthless program, and put on one of my audio discs of Shakespeare's plays, and drank in the music of his genius.  Selah.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Available for pre-order at Amazon!



This magnificent edition of CAS is available for pre-order at Amazon, as trade pb or Kindle.  I am especially looking forward to reading editor Joshi's in-depth Introduction to the book, and perusing his always-fascinating Notes.  Whoohoo!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

My Kickstarter Group's acrostic sonnet in memory of Poe




Enchanted by the aura of the past.
Daylight muted, all we ask.
Ghostly figures from memory evoked
Are present with us, spirits provoked.
Receding echoes of the past resound anew,
Allan Poe hovers just out of view.
Light-hearted voices talk of dark matters,
Lingering listing gravestones lay scattered.
Antient forms weave words into the air,
Nodding phantoms that whisper of despair.
Pensive sorrow is the ever-song
On your mortal lips.  You limped along,
Entranc'd by fragile beauty's memory.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Untitled Prose-Poem

~~ eerie artwork by JORDAN KRALL, ye kralling kaos ~~

I see you flying over me, inside the amber sky, and as I watch your ebony feathers fall, to me.  Although I am not a thing of tar, your feathers adhere to my being, clothing me in black ridiculousness.  Soft, midnight feathers, dancing in the gentle wind, and I dance too, beneath the amber sky, and purse my lips so as to echo your warbling far above me.  I see you still, now nude of feathers, pale freaks of meat and bone that circle in the sky.  Your crowing cries could tell me secrets if I understood your language.  Lifting my hands to my head, I pat your feathers deeper into my flesh, until their pointed tips pierce my brain.  Oh, then I visualize the arcane things that you have glanced while circling o'er the globe.  Ah, how my brain tickles with new perception, how my small eyes widen as I see the world anew.  I learn the idiom of wind, as sunset bleeds into the yellow sky; and as I lift my arms that daemon-wind takes hold of me, and I soar, a thing new-made, into the crimson sky.  There I hover, as blur of dark silhouette that fades as light of day becomes extinct, until the night and I are one.  And then the moon, thing of splendor, illuminates my wide eyes, and chills my brain, and teaches me the loneliness of dry dead light.


Friday, September 20, 2013

THE VARIORUM LOVECRAFT &C



In this year's issue's of LOVECRAFT ANNUAL, S. T. Joshi has an article entitled "Excised Passages from 'The Thing on the Doorstep,'" in which he writes: "In my proposed multi-volume edition of The Variorum Lovecraft, which could begin publication as early as next year, I hope to present all the relevant textual variants for all the stories that Lovecraft wrote over his short literary career.  One phase of that project may include the printing of passages from handwritten or typed manuscripts (chiefly the former) that were excised as Lovecraft was writing the story or as he performed a subsequent revision of it."  Yesterday S. T. sent me an fretful email, distress'd because he realised that he has never examined the original WEIRD TALES text of "Dagon," and he wondered if he could borrow the first volume of THE WEIRD WRITINGS OF H. P. LOVECRAFT ( Girasol Collectables Inc, 2010), two handsome hardcover volumes in which all of Lovecraft's writings that were published in WT (tales, poems, letters) are printed in facsimile, including all of the original artwork.  (These wonderful volumes are still available and may be order'd from the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society for $175.  www.cthulhulives.org

So this morning I took the first volume, and as we sat to chat for a few minutes, S. T. sheepishly mention'd that he might want to borrow the second volume as well.  Duh--I shou'd have thought to take both of them to him this morning.  I admit that I am extremely excited about The Variorum Lovecraft, to be publish'd by Hippocampus Press in four volumes.  S. T. shew'd me some of his files for this new extensive edition of Lovecraft's fiction, and they are amazing--huge chunks of writing found in ye original MSS. that Lovecraft crossed out, &c &c.  The first volume will probably cover the stories from "The Beast in the Cave" to "The Festival," and will probably be publish'd next year.  I asked this morning if there will be a hardcover edition, & S. T. was uncertain.  I stress'd that there really MUST be a limited hardcover edition, and I feel that, because it is Lovecraft, such an edition will easily sell out.  S. T. has continued to think about and work on Lovecraft's texts over the decades, and he has made amendments that will appear for the first and only time in The Variorum Lovecraft, bringing the texts closer, S. T. feels, to how Lovecraft wou'd want them preserved.  So these four volumes will have textual differences from the Arkham House, Penguin Classics and The Library of America editions.

I cannot get enough of Lovecraft's poetry & prose, and I thrill at ye idea of new editions.  I am drooling at ye mouth over ye forthcoming The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft that Leslie S. Klinger has edited for W. W. Norton.  I saw Leslie at NecronomiCon, and he mention's that the book (publish'd in folio size) will be as huge as a telephone book, and it will contain all of the original art that illustrated Lovecraft's works in Weird Tales.  Because I am forever returning to Lovecraft, to study his prose and continually learn from his genius, I desire different editions of the stories; & I have a special fondness for annotated editions.  I have much to look forward to.

 I finally got a close look at S. T.'s Robert Bloch award--in ye photo to ye right presented to him by Niels Hobbs, Esq.  The award is shaped as ye box in which lurks ye Shining Trapezohedron from "The Haunter of the Dark"; & with ye flip of a wee switch, the crazily angled stone lights up to reveal, at its center, a three-lobed burning eye!!  Ia!!  I will, at year's end. begin work on a new book, In Dark of Providence, in which all of the stories will take place entirely or partially in Providence.  The book will be publish'd by Hippocampus Press, in ye summer of 2015 so as to coincide with ye next NecronomiCon.  S. T. will be working with me as ye book's editor, and that will ensure no dreck--and correct grammar.  S. T. has been lecturing me on my grammar, & I confess it is difficult to stop my habit of adding "of" after the word all.  It just feels natural to write "all of Lovecraft's fiction thrills me" rather than, correctly, "all Lovecraft's fiction thrills me."  S. T. is obsess'd about correcting bad grammar, so lessons will be learn'd!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Black Winged Ones



"...the killing had been done by Black Winged Ones which had come to them from their immemorial meeting-place in the haunted wood."  The Call of Cthulhu.

And again: "Mankind was not absolutely alone among the conscious things of earth, for shapes came out of the dark to visit the faithful few.  But these were not the Great Old Ones.  No man had ever seen the Old Ones.  The carven idol was great Cthulhu, but none might say whether or not the others were precisely like him."

What are these Black Winged Ones who meet the acolytes of Cthulhu in ye haunted wood?  I don't think that they are night-gaunts.  Could they be related to the winged things mention'd in "The Festival," which one assumes are black because they are described thus:  "They were not altogether crows, nor moles, not buzzards, nor ants, nor vampire bats..."  Daniel Harms' The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia does not mention them (I met Daniel in Providence, when he came to buy a copy of Weird Inhabitants of Sesqua Valley).  I am curious about all of this because the story I am now writing, for Black Wings III, is a semi-sequel to "The Call of Cthulhu," and I want to mention these murderous Black Winged Ones as they appear to my narrator in dream.  I love that Lovecraft mentions these supernatural beasts; for too often some commentators want to stress that such tales as "The Call of Cthulhu" are cosmic but not supernatural--and that is nonsense.  The intense stress on dreams, the fiendish Black Winged Ones, and "There were legends of a hidden lake unglimpsed by mortal sight, in which dwelt a huge, formless white polypous thing with luminous eyes; and squatters whispered that bat-winged devils flew up out of caverns in inner earth to worship it at midnight"--all of these make it crystal clear that "The Call of Cthulhu" is first and foremost a horror story.

But what are they, these Black Winged Ones?  Did they drift through space & time with Cthulhu when he first secured a foothold on our planet?  Were they among the nameless things that built R'lyeh in honor of their great and dreadful lord?  I love that there are so many things in Lovecraft, hinted and unexplain'd, that stir the imagination and haunt the soul.  Ia!  Yog-Sothoth.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Happy Memories on a Sad Day


I am still, over one decade later, traumatized by the terror attack on Manhattan on this day in 2001.  This is the day when I simply cannot watch the news, or my favourite shows on MSNBC (Martin Bashir and Rachel Maddow), because I don't want to look at footage of the tragedy.  To any reading who suffered family loss on that day, I send my love and prayers to ye; I cannot imagine the personal pain this day brings you.  So, although I am--mentally, emotionally--still a victim of that terrorist attack on the wonderful souls of my country, I try to counter it by concentrating on the good, the joyful, the beautiful things of life.  For me, the huge source of happiness is my life as a Lovecraftian.  It is a passion that has rewarded me with intense happiness for decades, and will continue to do so for my remainder of days.  And the root of that intense happiness is those others, those beloved fans of Lovecraft, who share this passion with me, especially S. T. Joshi.  I cannot express deeply enough how utterly blessed I feel to have S. T. living here in Seattle, that I can spend personal time with him on a regular basis.  It's like some awesome miracle.  And the pure pleasure of being a writer of Lovecraftian weird fiction is to have such loyal and delicious fans--my fans are great, and I adore them.

One of the coolest sources of Lovecraftian joy is that awesome journal edited by Robert M. Price, CRYPT OF CTHULHU.  I am pictur'd above with my horde of issues.  I return to these magazines time and time again: for ye pure pleasure of reading once more my favourites among ye articles, or just dipping into the memories that some of those articles supply.  Crypt has never been replaced, and I sorely miss it.  It was entertaining, edifying, brilliant.  Reading those issues helped to mold me as an author.
I am pictur'd, at left, reading from Crypt #57, from an article by David E. Schultz entitled "In a Sequester'd Churchyard."  In this article, David relates how Lovecraft enjoy'd taking friends to St. John's churchyard, just below Benefit Street; and the article reprints the acrostic sonnets that HPL and his chums wrote while haunting that churchyard and sitting on its tombs.  Also included are sonnets written in memory of Poe by others who had not visited ye churchyard, such as Henry Kuttner and Maurince W. Moe.  This charming article is one to which I constantly return, and I felt a keen desire to read from it in St. John's on the opening day of NecronomiCon, during a poetic picnic that I shared with a Kickstarter group.  We also ventur'd to pen our own acrostic sonnet to Poe, but didn't finish ye task--and I have yet to return to the poem & complete it--but I will.  The church in ye background is not in use, and is in a state of decay, which seems sad yet, somehow, fitting for those of us who enjoy morbid moods.

This picnic was a wonderful way for me to begin the convention, because my group of Lovecraftian souls were so pleasant, so fun to be with.  That our picnic ended with a thunderstorm and heavy rainfall, through which we stagger'd on our way back to ye Biltmore Hotel, was delightful for me.  By ye time I got back to ye Biltmore, I was dripping like some nameless thing on a doorstep.  I have never walk'd through such a torrential downpour!  And I'm from Seattle!

I love these photos of our picnic there.  This churchyard has a magical aura for me, and to see these photos of our little group there charm me intensely.  I first visited the churchyard in October of 2007, when my friends Maryanne and Greg took me on a three-week tour of New England and new York.  By nameless coincidence, S. T. Joshi was in Providence that week, doing work at John Hay Library on ye forthcoming volumes of Clark Ashton Smith's poetry that were publish'd in three beautiful volumes by Hippocampus Press.  Joshi led us from the churchyard on an exhausting walking tour of Lovecraftian sites.  He gets so excited when leading these tours that he cannot help but rush along ye lanes of College Hill, and for we who are antient antique things, it is a challenge to keep up with him.  He still, to this day, gets so excited when in Providence, discussing E'ch-Pi-El.  Here he one of my favourite photos of S. T. in such a state of excitement.

And here is another shot, of S. T. in a moment of enthrall'd Lovecraftian story-telling as he stands before ye neglected edifice of the church.  It's cool, isn't it, the way that our love for H. P. Lovecraft triggers a kind of adolescent enthrallment in us no matter how hoary we grow with age?  I am still such a fanboy, as S. T. has pointed out in an introductory note he has written for the special forthcoming Pugmire tribute issue of the Lovecraft eZine (to be publish'd in November).  I embarrass myself constantly, when at conventions, when on panels, at how I crow to everyone that I am still and will always remain a super-excited & obsess'd HPL fanboy.  But how could I not be?  Lovecraft, and my obsession with him, has blessed me with the best things in my life to-day, good friends, good books, and my cherish'd existence as a writer of Lovecraftian weird fiction.  I'm a lucky guy!



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

1971


It was on this day, September 4th, in 1971 that I left for my mission in Ireland for the Mormon church.  It seems another lifetime to me nigh.  I remember, just before leaving, seeing on the news a report of the troubles, the violence in Northern Ireland (where I spent most of my mission), and thinking, "Holy crap, I'm going there?"  But it was in Ireland that I became a writer of weird fiction.  I was discouraged from going to see horror films, my passion at that youthful time.  Robert Bloch was a pen pal, and I decided to substitute reading horror fiction for horror films, beginning with the novels of Bloch; & then I began to hunt for horror anthologies in which Bob was one of many writers.  This served as my introduction to Derleth, Jacobi, REH, and so many others.  It was in Northern Ireland that I bought my first edition of the tales of H. P. Lovecraft.  And it was there that I began to write my own stuff and submit it to American magazines.  I remember how thrilled I was when a very poor early story, "Whispering Wires," sold to SPACE & TIME.

Gawd, I got homesick.  I was never a really spiritual guy, and walking day after day and knocking on doors trying to preach religion in Ireland was hard work, and frustrating because so few people were interested.  Finally I got so homesick that I faked that I was suffering from poor lungs due to the chimney smoke in Ireland.  Instead of sending me home, I was sent to the Arizona/Las Vegas mission, to dry out.  I was a very strange missionary, for sure.  I took my plastic vampire fangs with me, and would wear them at times wehen knocking on doors.

This is a photo of how I would sometimes dress on my off-day in Vegas.  It's one of the photos of me that Forry published in FAMOUS MONSTERS.  All the other Elders would be having fun playing baseball or whatever, and I would sit in the bleachers (is that what they're called) dressed like this.  Finally my mission president put a stop to it, as well as asking me if I was homosexual.  I confess'd that I had those feelings but that I had never "done anything."  Some of my companions guessed that I was gay, as I recently found out when my companion from Vegas, Ron, came to visit me.  It was the first time we had seen each other in 40 years.  Being a closeted gay missionary was no fun.  Being in the closet is a soul-crusher; but when you are surrounded by a group of other guys your own age, all of whom seem "normal," it makes a young queer feel mighty lonely and malformed.  I love that we now have so many positive gay role models for young gay kids.

To have gone from being an LDS missionary to looking like I do in ye photo to ye right has been a weird trip, to say the least.  I've always enjoy'd dressing weird, but it was when I became a punk rocker in 1981 that I was able to be as extreme as I wanted to be and not have to explain "why" when people asked.  "There is no 'why,' I'm just being me."  I think I'm getting a bit weary with dressing up--maybe it's just part of growing old.  But I certainly had fun with it.  I enjoy getting on YouTube and looking utterly bizarre and acting like a fool.  It's such an innocent form of decadence.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Three-lobed burning eye




S. T. is presented with ye Robert Bloch Award by Niels S Hobbs, Esq.




Niels in an earlier incarnation...


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

NecronomiCon 2013

this was the "Writing Mythos Today" panel
at ye Masked Ball
awaiting Rev. S. T. Joshi to assume ye pulpit
I love this image of S. T.

H. P. Lovecraft in St. John's churchyard

with Jordan Krall, for whom I am writing my next weird tale