Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Friday, June 21, 2013

Unstable In All Her Ways

(Bela Lugosi as ye Christ)

"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."
                                             --James 1:8

I am discovering ye truth of that wise saying; but I wonder sometimes if being unstable isn't the actual reason for my mental and emotional instability.  There is almoft an aesthetic charm to the idea for me--& when I read the biographies of writers who have "lost it," I sagely nod my noggin and whisper, "Yes, that is ye fate that awaits me," as if it was something not only inescapable but "right."  Ah yes--being such a sensitive soul means that I must suffer for my art.  Nowadays that idea doesn't seem romantic as once it did--it seems like a pathetic load of poop.  It sounds boring.

This is, alas, the fate in which I find myself.  I feel this deep desire, this overwhelming ache, to write--& yet everything I begin is a false start.  One day I overflow with confidence that I am going to begin a new project and write my brains out; & then ye next morning I sit at my keyboard with not one ounce of inspiration and I tell myself, "It's over, I've lost it, I might as well give up."  My brain is like some daft emotional yo yo trying to slide along a string that is hopelessly knotted.  Bah.

I was feeling, now that Bohemians of Sesqua Valley has been publish'd & I no longer have any new books awaiting publication, that that wou'd stir the need in me to begin work on a new book.  I love having a future book awaiting publication, it's become this kind of mental ritual that I've started depending on.  Ah, the future isn't all dim, because I have such-and-such book awaiting its publish'd existence.  But even that has proven false.  I've now had seven books publish'd in three years' time.  Too, too many.  Maybe I'm just burned out.  Maybe I shou'd just sit the rest of the year out and read, let ye creative juices in my brain simmer and fester, until--at last--they are ready to boil over as creative ichor.  The problem with that scenario is that, now, writing is my entire life--it's all I have, it's all I do.  When I am not engaged in ye creation of a new book, I feel but half-alive.  I get bloody bored.  And sometimes it gets so bad that, in desperation, I try to force myself to write.  I try to enforce a daily writing schedule, as my buddy S. T. Joshi does, who has a set time for working and ruthlessly sticks to it.  But I lack S. T.'s discipline, that is not the way I cou'd ever function.  I am a slave to my emotional rhythms.  

It's been a wonderful journey, growing as a writer, although my talent is all a matter of instinct rather than know-how.  I make a lot of mistakes, overuse adverbs, split my infinitives, and all of that.  But that's okay with me, since I am a writer of ye Underground and my fiction will always lack professional polish.  I sometimes playfully call myself "a professional Mythos writer," but I just do that to annoy my tedious critics.  
What I love about my life as a writer is that I have stay'd true to my vision of being intensely and audaciously Lovecraftian.  From my first book, Tales of Sesqua Valley, publish'd in England in 1990, to my two newest books, Encounters with Enoch Coffin and Bohemians of Sesqua Valley, I have remain'd Lovecraftian up ye arse.  To remain so has become a kind of artistic obsession for me; & I have this perverse ache to become more Lovecraftian as time flows forward.  If I have any kind of reputation as an author after my happy day o' death, it will be, "Holy Yuggoth, that guy was really into Lovecraft, wasn't she?!"  That sweet Lovecraftian fever is with me as never before, burning brighter than ever.  I will never allow ye flames to diminish.  But how cou'd they--Lovecraft's fiction is so cool, and I return to it again & again and drink its ingenious elixir.  Oh--oh!  I feel ye need for another deep and dreamy quaff of Lovecraftian horror.  I shall feast with eyes upon "The Haunter of the Dark."  It's such a hearty Gothic brew.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

a wee vlog

Also, S. T. Joshi has just posted his review of the new Oxford edition of H. P. Lovecraft on his blog:
for those who want to read in in-depth (and scathing) review of the book.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Recent Reading

Reading works of Lovecraft scholarship is as rewarding for me, as an author, as studying the texts of Lovecraft's poetry and prose.  I've just finish'd reading a dead good anthology of brilliant essays, LOVECRAFT AND INFLUENCE--HIS PREDECESSORS AND SUCCESSORS, edited by Robert H. Waugh (to whom I dedicated the new prose-poem sequence in my most recent book, BOHEMIANS OF SESQUA VALLEY).  This anthology contains thrilling examinations of Lovecraft and those who influenced him, with essays by J. D. Worthington, T. R. Livesey, Darrell Schweitzer, S. T. Joshi, Michael Cisco and others.  It is a book that I will return to.  I am also reading for the fifth or sixth time Peter Cannon's H. P. LOVECRAFT, in the Twayne United States Authors Series.  Peter seems, these days, to rather dismiss his book, but I find it excellent.  I am also reading again Peter's book from Arkham House, LOVECRAFT REMEMBERED.
I am searching this book of 468 pages, which is made up mostly of memoirs of H. P. Lovecraft by people who knew him as personal friend or correspondent, for mention of his racism.  I am grown tired of this new dreary fixation of commentary on Lovecraft that identifies him primarily as a racist writer.  I find such emphasis misguided to the point of perversity.  Lovecraft's racism was grotesque and ignorant, and it echoes indeed throughout his fiction; but there is much more to Lovecraft's genius that is far more vital and interesting.  This new school of judgmental critics, who emphasis first and foremost that Lovecraft was racist, and then follow this up to explain why he was "a good bad writer," shews the absurdity and ineffectiveness of  much modern Lovecraft critique, critique that reveals far more ignorance regarding Lovecraft and his work than anything else.  So I am searching LOVECRAFT REMEMBERED to see if there were any echoes of such criticism from people who actually knew the man.  I seem to remember reading that there was one correspondent who directly challenged Lovecraft's racism, but I cannot now remember the gentleman's name.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Mike Davis, of ye Lovecraft express'd a desire for me to return to submitting my wee vignettes that I was writing monthly for him.  Still feeling lost in regards to current writing projects, this seems an excellent idea.  I was writing a series of what I hoped would be short stories between 2,000-3,000 words, all of which were inspir'd by HPL's Fungi from Yuggoth.  This project was inspir'd by the brilliant reading of Lovecraft's sonnets by Paul of Cthulhu:
I love love love Paul's reading, just as I love Will Hart's reading, which was the inspiration for my writing Some Unknown Gulf of Night.  So I think I will return to this project, trying to write a monthly "thing" inspir'd by Paul's reading, which may be purchased for download at Innsmouth House-- -- and then my plan is to collect my wee things as a book that I will dedicate to Paul.  

I wish I was in New Orleans at the World Horror Convention to-day, where there will be a Lovecraft panel.  But I know that I will drink my fill of Lovecraft panels in August-- in Providence!!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Book from Steven J. Mariconda!!!

One of my favorite things as an obsess'd H. P. Lovecraft fanboy is brilliant literary criticism regarding Lovecraft's texts.  Robert H. Waugh and S. T. Joshi are my two all-time favorite such critics, but Steven J. Mariconda is easily the third.  His 1995 collection from Necronomicon Press, On the Emergence of "Cthulhu" & other Observations, is a book to which I return again and again.  H. P. Lovecraft is my adored Muse, not only because of thew magnificence of his weird fiction, but because of what he can teach me concerning the writing of such fiction.  One of the services that good solid Lovecraft criticism achieves is to point out that Lovecraft knew exactly what he wanted to accomplish as an artist, and to shew the way in which Lovecraft's excellent tales achieved his aesthetic goals.  In my favorite of Mariconda's essays, "H. P. Lovecraft: Consummate Prose Stylist," we find bits from HPL's correspondence in which he discusses such things; such as this, from a letter he wrote to Clark Ashton Smith:

"As for the unconscious element in composition...I agree with you that it is really very considerable.  In fact, I think it may be fairly said that no first-rate story can ever be written without the author's actually experiencing the moods & visions concerned in a sort of oneiroscopic way.  Unless there is actual emotion * pseudo-memory behind a tale, something will inevitably be lacking, no matter how deft, expert, & mature the craftmanship may be.  Emotion makes itself felt in the unconscious choice of words, management of rhythms, & disposal of stresses in the flow of narration; whilst an image or idea of natural and spontaneous occurrence is a thousandfold more vivid than any which can be arbitrarily invented or consciously adopted from external sources." [Selected Letters III, 212-213]

To which Mariconda adds, "In this lies the true power of Lovecraft's prose, for few authors have felt their work as sincerely and acutely as he."

This is perhaps the greatest lesson that I have learned from Lovecraft.  I rarely have a physical written-down outline of a story.  Rather, I day-dream my story before writing it, dream it again and again until I am intimate with its flow of occurrences and language; and then when I go to write the thing, I see it in my mind as if it were some memory of an actual event.  I combine that pseudo-memory with ye madness of Art, and with those tools I compose my fiction.  I learned this from studying H. P. Lovecraft.

Happily, Mariconda will have a fabulous new book of essays out soon from Hippocampus Press:

H. P. Lovecraft: Art, Artifact and Reality is scheduled for a July release, and is 308 pages.

I. General Studies
H. P. Lovecraft: Consummate Prose Stylist
Lovecraft's Concept of "Background"
Toward a Reader-Response Approach to the Lovecraft Mythos
Lovecraft's Cosmic Imagery
H. P. Lovecraft: Art, Artifact and Reality
H. P. Lovecraft: Reluctant American Modernist
"Expect Great Revelations": Lovecraft Criticism in His Centennial Year
II. Essays on Specific Works
On "Amissa Minerva"
"The Hound"--A Dead Dog?
"Hypnos": Art, Philosophy, and Insanity
Curious Myths of the Middle Ages and "The Rats in the Walls"
Lovecraft's "Elizabethtown"
On the Emergence of "Cthulhu"
The Subversion of Sense in "The Colour out of Space"
Tightening the Coil: The Revision of "The Whisperer in Darkness"
Lovecraft's Role in "The Tree on the Hill"
Some Antecedents of the Shining Trapezohedron
III. Reviews
The Correct Texts of Lovecraft's Tales
Lovecraft's Essays, Poems, and Letters
Some Lovecraft Scholars
Anodyne Amusing Appendix
Works Cited Sources

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Utterly Seduced

"The seductive music wrapped around me, and I knew that I wanted to be clothed in nothing else.  Kicking off my shoes, I unzipped my trousers and let them fall to my ankles.  Some kind creature helped me out of them and took my book as I began to unbutton my shirt provocatively, as though it were one of seven veils.  I wished for a glass of scarlet wine to spill onto the floor, so that I could dance in its ruby pool."
                                      --W. H. Pugmire, "A Quest of Dream"
                                          from Bohemians of Sesqua Valley

Something unexpected is happening, and I am taken by surprise.    I've been feeling the Lovecraft fever more intensely than ever before, why I'm not quite sure, although I think ye upcoming convention in Providence this August, NecronomiCon 2013, has much to do with it.  I think, also, the publication of my newest book has had an effect.  I've been telling myself all year that I am simply not in the mood to work on a new book.  And I wasn't.  I've had too many books publish'd in too short a time, written in quick succession because I thought I was gonna die of a heart attack any day now.  It was like, "I can't kick-off until I've written three more books!," and so I wrote like a thing possess'd.  I wore myself out.  But -- but...  Now that I don't have any new books forthcoming, I feel a bit lost.  I've grown so used to working on a new book.  I mean, it's what I do with my life, it's my full-time occupation.

Suddenly, these past couple o' days,  I've been feeling an aesthetic itch.  Suddenly, yesterday, an idea return'd to mind for a story I've been thinking of writing for a couple of years, a kind of sequel to "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family."  I've mention'd,  in one of two of my tales set in Kingsport, that a white ape-like creature exists in the clutter of the cottage that was ye dwelling of the Terrible Old Man.  Probably something he found during his journeys as a south seas captain.  So I've had this budding idea of a woman who is of ye Jermyn line, whose father was the bastard child of Alfred Jermyn, who at age twenty had joined a band of music-hall performers, and at thirty-six had deserted wife and child to travel with an American circus.  I feel there are many things that I can do with my idea.  I can write a story with one of my favourite themes:  accepting one's own Outsider nature, and I can use the story to have a strong woman character and make some semi-feminist points; & I can use the story to mock Lovecraft's grotesque racism.

But to-day, as I began to work on the story, I felt anew that burning ache to write more and more Lovecraftian weird fiction, which is always a sign that a new book of mine own is being born.  So, what ye hell, I may have a new book out next year after all.

making love to E'ch-Pi-El

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Extreme & Lunatic Lovecraftian Fervor

Is that the face of lunacy, of daemoniacal obsession?  I begin to worry about my mental state.  I cannot stop obsessing about H. P. Lovecraft.  I cannot resist going to forums and beginning Lovecraft threads where I insist that H. P. Lovecraft is an extremely important American fantasist.  And when the fools disagree with me, when they cannot comprehend the truth of my convictions, I howl at them for their stupidity.  I howl.

howling like an obsess'd lunatic fanboy

Perhaps -- mayhap it is but ye growing fervor that boils in my brain in anticipation of NecronomiCon Providence 2013 -- &, my gawd, if I'm this bad nigh, whut will I be like after a week of intense Lovecraftian splendor?  Great Yuggoth!  Perhaps I have caught this infection from having S. T. Joshi live in town and visiting me so oft, & spilling into my soul his own Lovecraftian ecstasy.

Or maybe it comes from my insane over-productivity as a writer of Lovecraftian weird fiction.  My graces, I've written so much these past few years, like one caught within a whirlpool of Lovecraftian euphoria.  Enough already.  I shall not publish a new book for two years.  ( love having a new book publish'd, you're as happy as a wee child on her birthday...especially when your publisher does such a wondrous job in bringing forth a beautiful volume with sumptuous illustrations...)

(but you also have this thing, this paranoia, about misprints.  Like on page 63 of the new book, where you typed "destiny" instead of "destination", or in the same story where you used the word "queer" about ten or fifteen times, such ridiculous overuse.  You've got to become more polish'd & professional; perhaps reading your docs slowly and aloud will help you to maturely proof your texts)

Anyway.  Now I am determined to restrain this impulse, this craving to tell the clueless world that H. P. Lovecraft is not only a good writer but a great writer.  I need to resist the lure of forums, where my passion for Lovecraft cannot be comprehended.  I need to danse my ecstasy in ye privacy of my living room, where only the walls and the cats need hear the echoes of my Lovecraftian euphoria.

Am I strong enough???

I think I am extremely lucky to have ye writing of such books as my full-time occupation!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

An Unfortunate Oxford Edition of E'ch-Pi-El

I've given my copy of the book to S. T., & he will be coming over to my pad to discuss the book on YouTube.  Should be a --um er -- lively video, as Luckhurst is rather snooty toward the idea of Corrected Texts in his Notes.  Joshi told me, "I think I'll have lots to say about his notes".  Oh yeah....

Luckhurst himself comes across as a lovely chappie--too bad he fail'd miserably as an editor of Lovecraft.  Still, this Oxford edition, also available in Kindle, will bring Lovecraft to hordes of new readers, and should result in a growth of reviews concerning the man and his Work.