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


  1. Viktor Frankl when incarcerated in a concentration camp in WWII volunteered in his doctorial capacity to look after typhus patients - "As soon as I had told him with finality that I had made up my mind to stay with my patients, the unhappy feeling left me. I did not know what the following days would bring, but I had gained an inward peace that I had never experienced before. I returned to the hut, sat down on the boards at my countryman's feet and tried to comfort him; then I chatted with the others, trying to quiet them in their delirium" ("Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl) - we all find our peace in our own way and with our own sense of self we can offer something to keep us going with a sense of purpose for the time we have left. Time to sit and reflect is never time wasted, time to clear clutter too and refine that we know is within. Peace to you. שלומ (shalom) mon ami. G. ;-)=

    1. Thank you for your beautiful message. Yes, I feel that I am doing exactly what I need to do as well as what I want to do, and to KNOW that with such certainty gives me a sense of peace and joy.

  2. You certainly have had a busy and very fulfilling life artistically. The peace you are feeling sounds sublime and well deserved. May it stretch into eternity for you. For me I love the absence of self (ego) that comes when absorbed in a good book and the treasured blissful silence that lingers long after its last pages are turned.

    1. Truly a beautiful thought - books are havens from the ruder world (borrowing a phrase from Samuel Loveman and doubtless others...) outside the reader's mind. As Emily Bronte has it in "No Coward Soul is Mine...." - "So hopeless is the world without; The world within I doubly prize" G. ;-)=