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|