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!


  1. Thanks for this, Wilum. I also avoid the news on this day, and it is nice to have something positive to read. So great to meet you in Providence, I hope the fates throw us together in the same place again sometime soon!

  2. Good friends to stand by one in times of direst need are the staff of life. We should all look on the beautiful and smile inwardly when times of darkness strike. It is still an amazing Universe. G. :-)=