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

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ye Cosmic Wrath!

My convention began with a poetic picnic in St. John's churchyard, just below Benefit Street, in Providence, for a wee Kickstarter group.  We dined on cheese and crackers and coffee ice-cream and other goodies, and I read some acrostic sonnets that Lovecraft and others wrote in memory of Poe while sitting on ye tomb slabs pictured above.  I then read a poem that August Derleth had written concerning the ghosts of Poe and Lovecraft meeting in this churchyard, but I prefaced the poem with a warning that by reading a work of Derleth I was risking arousing ye cosmic wrath of S. T. Joshi, and I waved to the clear early afternoon sky.  Finally we went to the tabletop tombs pictured above so as to pose for a group photo--and suddenly, in ye distance, came the sound of thunder!  GREAT YUGGOTH!!!  I really had arous'd ye cosmic wrath of S. T. by reading Derleth, whom he despises!  Our group parted and I and a couple of others walked up to Benefit Street, where they took my photo as I stood in ye sequestered garden park adjacent to ye Shunned House.  And then ye heavens open'd, and heavy rain pour'd down.  By the time we return'd to the Biltmore hotel, I was utterly soaked.

Then, my room mate came home late Friday night.  The door to our room didn't latch tightly unless one pulled it shut.  He must have left it slightly opened.  Around four or five in the morning I heard someone moving in the room, and I thought it was my room mate.  Then I saw a dark, muscular silhouette holding a penknife flashlight.  I moved, and the figure was gone.  So was my wallet, with its $300, two credit cards and driver's license.  I had ye cards cancelled, and had to jump through hoops to get the airline to let me fly home without any kind of photo I. D.

But things come in threes, my darlings.  I entered the ballroom Saturday afternoon to be on a panel about gender identity and sexuality in Lovecraft, and climbed up onto the platform whereon were our chairs and microphones.  I was walking behind S. T. so as to give Caitlin some books to sign, did not see where the back of the platform ended, and stepped into thin air, falling three feet and landing on my bad foot.

It is a wonder that I survived this convention.  I vow never to read another work by Derleth in public and thus evoke such Cosmic Rage!  Ia!!

with my sweet chum, Pete Rawlik, author of REANIMATORS.

with Jeffrey Thomas, with whom I created Enoch Coffin

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Souvenir from Kingsport

Just home from NecronomiCon.  Made a wee stop in Kingsport and stole one of ye bottles with pendulum from ye cottage of ye Terrible Old Man....  I'm exhausted , but I'll add top this report in a day or two.

with JOE PULVER and LAIRD BARRON on a "Writing Mythos Today" panel

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ye Haunter of Providence

Bryan Moore and his bronze bust of HPL
inside ye Providence Art Club with Angel Dean and Jonathan Thomas

My chums and I fly to Boston on Wednesday, and then we shall probably dine, rent a car, and drive to Providence.  I won't be able to sleep much, and so I plan on spending much of Wednesday night roaming the nighted streets of Providence, soaking up the city's atmosphere.  This will be a very work-oriented vacation, because I need to explore Providence and take notes.  Using the notes, my memories and dreams, I will then, upon returning home, begin work on a new book of weird tales all set in Providence.

Thursday morning I lead a poetic picnic in St. John's churchyard.  I will read some of the acrostic sonnets that HPL and his mates wrote there in memory of Poe, and we will dine on doughnuts (Lovecraft's favourite breakfast), crackers and cheese, and coffee ice-cream.  Then we will, as a group, compose our own acrostic sonnet in memory of Poe.  From 4 pm to 5:30 pm is a celebration commemorating the S. T. Joshi Endowed Research Fellowship at the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library at Brown University.  From 5:30 to 6:30 S. T. and the Providence mayor will deliver speeches at the First Baptist Church ever built in America.  Then it is off to the Providence Athenaeum for ye official unveiling of Bryan Moore's bronze bust of Lovecraft.  After that I shall probably stagger on a solitary haunt of College Hill.  Walking is difficult and painful due to health complications, but I need to visit Prospect Terrace and stand before 10 Barnes Street.

Friday, from 10:30 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. I have a panel on "Writing Mythos Fiction Today," where I will discuss this with Joe Pulver, Laird Barron &c.  From 1:00 pm 'till 2:15 I want to attend "HPL: A Life," featuring panelists S. T. Joshi, Ken Faig, Leslie Klinger, and Peter Cannon.  From 2:30 to 3:45 Jason Brock and I will be reading from our work.  Then at 4 pm is "Rhode Island Horror," in which I will be intensely interested as background work for my forthcoming book; and the panel will include Caitlin Kiernan, Bob Eggleton and Jonathan Thomas.  Friday night will be another night of haunting Providence, either alone of with mates.

Saturday morn at nine I am on a panel concerning "The Unnameable Horror," where I will discuss this with Jason Eckhardt, film-maker Stuart Gordon, Allen Koszowski, Sean and Andrew from HPLHS, Bob Knox and others.  Alas, being on this panel means I have to miss Laird Barron's reading.  The next panel I'm on has me a bit nervous, cos I'm not a scholar and will have to fake like I know what I'm talking about.  I'll probably just sit up there and nod in agreement with what the real scholars are saying.  It is "Lovecraft's Literary Influences," with panelists Joe Pulver, S. T. Joshi, Robert Waugh, Darrell Schweitzer and Faye Ringel.  At one on Saturday I want to attend the panel on "The New Weird."From 2:30 to 4 pm I want to listen to ye readings of Caitlin Kiernan and John Langan.   From 4-5:30 pm I am on a panel "Writing Mythos Fiction Today."  Saturday night I want to go haunt Federal Hill, have dinner at Angelo's (an Italian restaurant that opened in 1923 and where Lovecraft, who loved Italian food, might have dined); and if I have some kind of guide with me, I want to crawl to the site where once stood ye church that Lovecraft mention'd in "The Haunter of the Dark."

Sunday morning at nine I have a panel on "Weird and Fantastic Poetry."  From 10:30 to 11:45 I share a reading with Caitlin.  From 1:00 to 2:15 I am on "Self, Gender Identity and Sexuality in Lovecraft" with panelists Caitlin Kiernan, S. J. Chambers, Jesus Navarro, Lois Gresh and S. T. Joshi.  From 2:30-3:45 I want to attend ye panel "The Lengthening Shadow: Lovecraft's Influence Today."  Some folks are going to visit Lovecraft's grave at Swan Point on Sunday, but I am once again in the mood not to visit Lovecraft's resting place--the first time I did so was such a depressing experience, and I have a feeling that Swan Point will by then be completely fed up with having so many people invading their graveyard.  

Monday we drive to Boston and fly back to Seattle.  And I shall sleep ye sleep o' daemons, & dream ye nameless dreams, & then I will awaken and write until my brain dries up.  Selah.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mormon Missionary Companion

me & Ron as Mormon missionaries in Vegas, 1973

today Ron is mayor of Providence, Utah

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

whut THING is this???

H. P. Lovecraft's map of Arkham

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Here's a photo of E'ch-Pi-El braving cold weather and stalking ye snow at St. John's churchyard.  I will be holding a picnic there next week, a poetic picnic in Lovecraft's honor, where we will dine on doughnuts (Lovecraft's favourite breakfast--mine too...). cheese and crackers, and coffee ice-cream.  Then our little group will compose an acrostic sonnet in memory of Poe, as Lovecraft and his guests did in days gone by.  I visited this churchyard with S. T. Joshi and friends in October of 2007, and ye memory of it has stay'd with me & inspir'd various items of my writing over ye years.  Next week I get to spend over four days in Providence, attending what will be an epic gathering, NecronomiCon Providence 2013, & I am taking my wee travel diary to record, hour by hour, my time spent in the enchanted city.  For we who are obsess'd Lovecraftians, the very air of Providence contains a magical element.  To breathe that air as we walk ye lanes where Lovecraft walked and pause before the houses wherein he lived & wrote--GAWD!!!  It is going to be a tremendous experience.

at H. P. Lovecraft's high school

at 10 Barnes Street, where HPL wrote so many classics

a moment of inspiration within S. John's churchyard, 2007

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What Strange Fervor

I like to go online and find sites where people discuss Lovecraft, and it's always fun, when people say that Lovecraft is a bad writer, to inform those people how utterly stupid they are.  I have my line down:  "To say that Lovecraft is a bad writer is to reveal that one is ignorant, illiterate, and irrelevant."  However, any writing talent that I have is mine by instinct, not by "know-how"--I don't understand the techniques or the vocabulary of literary criticism.  I've learned to write by reading and by writing, not by being taught Literature in school.  Because of this ignorance, I appreciate those who do know this stuff and can articulate it; and no one does this better, in reference to H. P. Lovecraft, than Steven J. Mariconda.  I have pour'd over his wee chapbook from Necronomicon Press for years, fascinated, delighted, and instructed.  But Monday's post brought his new book from Hippocampus Press (pictur'd above), for which he has revised his essays.  And to read this book enhances and intensifies my belief that Lovecraft is not only an excellent writer but a great writer, one who knew exactly what he was trying to achieve in his fiction and, for ye moft part, succeeded.

Great Lovecraft scholarship works on me as potently as reading great fiction--it plants this ache within me, this love of Literature that must be express'd in the form of writing my own weird fiction.  I catch an aesthetic "bug" from reading superb and knowledgeable critiques of Lovecraft's Works, and the only complete cure, the only way to exorcise that bug, is by writing.  My plan for this month was to write a new story to submit to S. T. for Black Wings IV -- but I cannot concentrate on writing because of NecronomiCon Providence 2013, because in order to prepare for this wondrous event I need to read non-stop the fiction and poetry of H. P. Lovecraft and the best books of scholarship concerning his Work.  That's why I'm not asleep at four this morning as I shou'd be--I am too enthrall'd by Mariconda's books and all it has to teach me about the genius of H. P. Lovecraft.  I try to sleep, but all I do is brood about how sleep is robbing me of the intense pleasure of reading this magnificent book, and then I finally say, "Screw it, get up and read."  I am now feeling a bit light-headed because I really need to sleep, but instead I am here at ye keyboard because of my need to proclaim to ye my profound love of Lovecraft and the way that my obsessive fan-boy devotion to him has changed my life--has given me my life.  The Lovecraft fever does not fade with time--it grows brighter every day.  It has never flamed more vigorously within me.  And reading such a fine book as this new one by Mariconda utterly increases that Lovecraftian passion.

I have a feeling that five days in Providence at this convention is going to exhaust me.  If I can't sleep now, how the hell am I gonna be able to sleep while in Providence--at a flipping Lovecraft convention???!!!  It is an actual fever from which I happily and gloriously suffer.  It is an aesthetic infiltration that ignites the need to create Lovecraftian weird fiction of mine own.  It becomes more and more profound.  It feels, at times, like some delicious insanity--and maybe that's what it is.  If so, it is a lunacy that I wholeheartedly embrace.  Soon--soon!--I will be haunting ye streets of Providence, alone or with other Lovecraftians--hordes of Lovecraftians.  I swoon with adventurous expectancy!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Ia!! Yog-Sothoth!!!

I am still awaiting word that this is real rather than a photo-shop jest.  This is a cross-section in Providence that has been renamed in honour of HPL, as part of the huge Lovecraftian celebration beginning in Providence this month.  The bust, above, by Bryan Moore, cast in bronze, will have its official unveiling at the Providence Athenaeum at the convention's opening, following opening ceremonies with speeches by the city mayor and S. T. Joshi.  
I am standing, above, before the house where Lovecraft and his mother lived at the time he wrote "The Outsider."  I am holding all three of the Lovecraft volumes from Penguin Classics, and ye pb edition of Fungi from Yuggoth and Other Poems.  I carry'd those books with me everywhere when I walk'd ye streets of Providence during my four-day visit; & I will be carrying them again, for the five days I spend at NecronomiCon Providence 2013.  I find myself completely distracted as I contemplate this convention.  I think membership now is around 1,200 attending.  Four or five or my publishers will have tables there.  Got a feeling my signing hand is gonna be rather busy.  I'm trying to keep myself limited to only one suitcase, and that is such a dilemma for an old drag queen like me, having to fit all of my makeup and stuff in one wee rectangular space.  I look forward to hanging out with hundreds of Lovecraftians--but also to some quiet solitary midnight strolls in secret places of the city.  To drink the air of Providence is to drink an exquisite elixir that vibrates with the soul of this magnificent artist.  He shade haunts the city absolutely, and we feel that enchantment on our haunted eyes.  O---Providence!  O!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August Derleth's "The Shadow out of Space"

S. T. Joshi has a review of John D. Haefele's excellent book, A LOOK BEHIND THE DERLETH MYTHOS, on his blog, and he makes some interesting points, although he is wrong when he dismisses Derleth's entire Mythos writing as garbage.  I was delighted by this, near ye end of the review: "Only the critical naive--or inept--could find virtues in this mass of sub-literary rubbish.  (The genial W. H. Pugmire, in his preface, now also vaunts Derleth's Mythos tales, but no one takes him seriously as a critic.)"  I am now tempted to collect all of my critical writing into a volume to be entitled . . . Not To Be Taken Seriously.

In the first video below, it should be pointed out that I am very suspicious about the solo Lovecraft byline.  Derleth never (to my knowledge) published these collaborations as anything other than "by H. P. Lovecraft and August Derleth."  -- and DARK THINGS was his final anthology, perhaps brought out just after his death.  I want to believe that some other hand, some last-minute editor other than Augie, is responsible for the grotesquely vile solo Lovecraft byline