Wednesday, March 27, 2013
We had a party in memory of Mother on Sunday, and it was well-attended. Perhaps now I can overcome these queer feelings of loneliness and guilt that I have been suffering and move forward with my life. The queer dilemma is that I don't know what to do; or, rather, that I cannot do the one thing that I know I should be doing--writing new books. I'm told that I need to mourn and relax and get used to life without living parents, and that this is something that may take years to adjust to. Honey, I ain't waiting "years" when it comes to getting back into ye creative swing of things. And yet I feel mentally lost and incapable of fixating on any solid ideas for work. My lack of mental discipline is one of the reasons I tell myself that I could never be a commercial writer--not that I ever would want to be such a beast. I find a certain kind of "romance" in being a ghoul of ye Lovecraftian underground and writing my books for a very small, very select audience. That has a keen appeal.
The one thing that I can always depend on is the aesthetic nourishment that comes from reading, and for the past month I have been doing little else. Reading has a multitude of effects on me. When I read a book such as The Poet's Dante, shewn below, it makes me marvel at the richness of great poetry, and at the strange peace of mind that comes not only in reading and writing poetry, but being around poets. There is a sense of well-being and "belonging" that I get only in the presence of poets, and I used to attend numerous poetry readings or discussion groups just for that purpose. It felt like I was a member of a cool unique tribe. Poetry is a special mental realm, and one that is ever-uplifting. I wish I was a better poet, that I could write a worthy collection of verse. I love writing sonnets, but I can no longer read the sonnet sequence that I wrote for Sesqua Valley and Other Haunts because--gawd!--they reek. More and more, I include snatches of my poetry in my weird fiction, in ye tradition of Poe.
And there is always Lovecraft. H. P. Lovecraft is an eldritch key that can unlock my creativity as none other can. I am forever returning to his weird fiction and poetry; to read it is to feel inspired, always, even if I cannot always act of that inspiration. Returning to HPL is one reason why I love new editions of his Work, because it gives me a new package of elder beloved lore. That's why I am so freaking excited about the forthcoming THE ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT that Leslie Klinger is editing for Norton. It's going to be a beautiful hardcover edition, with wondrous illustrations and captivating annotations. It will be an awesome exploration of Lovecraft's text, and a celebration of his genius. Alas that it won't be publish'd until 2015.
And so I seek my Silver Key of creativity. I know that I will find it. I just grow so weary when the path is so elusive for so long a stretch of time. In the meantime, I have books to read. And if I get really bored, I can go to YouTube and make a bloody fool of myself.
Monday, March 18, 2013
Above is ye colour version of Gwabryel's illustration for my sequel to "The Hound," "Some Distant Baying Sound." Below is me with mine beloved hound, Buster. Ghostboy and I got him from ye pound in 1995, when the doggie was three months old. The boy got bored with the dog, complaining that he was "stupid," and so he gave the beast to me. I bonded with that animal as I have never bonded with another mortal, and we had ten wonderful years together. I miss the mut ferociously.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Thursday, March 14, 2013
We met yesterday at ye cemetery and I placed mom's ashes into ye earth, next to dad's. It was a difficult experience, but it really helps to close the chapter of the ordeal of mother's final illness and death. I was holding on to mom's ashes, and I got there early, so mom and I sat in my car for about an hour while I played a Tony Bennett cd. Mom loved Tony Bennett and never tired of watching my dvd of his DUETS. So we sat in the car and listened to Tony until everyone shew'd up for the wee informal service. I can now try to live my new existence, living life on my own terms (what a huge responsibility!), and dedicate my final years to writing the finest books I can bring forth. The Literary Life is my balm. Having an awesome family is vital as well.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Whenever life becomes "too much" and I feel like I am constantly trying to catch my breath due to anxiety--I return to those writers who, alone, can soothe my malform'd mind. I am in need of such a psychological anchor nigh, because the weird emotional turmoil that has resulted from my mother's death on the 22nd weighs heavily on my soul. I'm a mess and I cannot function. My natural inclination to laziness intensifies, and I do nothing but sit and fret because I'm doing nothing. For over a week now I have been meaning to begin writing my first novel, which I have entitled The Fabulous Darkness, and mean to be a Sesqua Valley novel inspir'd, in part, by Derleth's The Lurker at the Threshold. I need to approach life with as much sanity, inner-strength, and genius as I possess; I am in desperate need of order and function and facility. And so I am reading Henry James--and about Henry James. He was every inch an artist. He lived the Literary Life as I wish I could. People sometimes think I want to be a new Oscar Wilde--but I would much rather be a new Henry James. Oscar was brilliant, but James was a magnificent work-horse. I've lived my hedonistic existence, doing only that which brought me pleasure--and thus I see that pleasure is useless and empty compared to industry and literary work. Pleasure and bohemianism has given me some wonderful friends and gobs of good memories, but such things lack substance when one is antique and staggering to one's grave. Oscar was idle--and Henry produced. More and more I hear, echoed within my skullspace, James's cry of "Produce! Produce!"
Wilde has taught us that whatever is realised is "right"--and I realise now that my main pleasure in life comes from being Literary. I have spent the past few years writing like a madman. I have "produced." A new hardcover collection this month, another next month. They are good books--but I want to write better ones. I want to do my life's best work. And thus I return to the artist who most influences my need to write beautifully, honestly--the writer I most want to emulate: Henry James. Now, when I open a James novel, or one of the five volumes of his collected stories from The Library of America, I feel as if I am entering a fantastic cathedral, a place of divinity and genius and art. It is a sanctuary indeed, a place of peace and sanity. The Works of Henry James is my Holy of Holies, and I go there now to drench my mind in the wonder of his Work. And peace of mind will blossom into inspiration and determination. And I will write my finest things. Selah.
Monday, March 4, 2013
Things here go very slowly and strangely since my mother's death on the 22nd. It's not just the grieving process. For the past five years I have lived with her as her live-in caregiver, and the past two years she was unable to stand or walk on her own and was confined to a wheelchair, which made taking care of her an intense job and one that posed problems to my own health, due to my congestive heart failure. But ever since we placed her into an adult residence, where she obtained superb care, life in this house, her house, has felt weird and keenly lonesome. I shall be 62 in May--and this is the first time in my entire life when I have felt the freedom to live my life exactly as I wish to, something my soul has ached for. But to live such a life brings a great responsibility, and I am finding it all a challenge. I used to joke about my parents, complaining that they had no life--"all they want to do is stay home." Now, all I want to do is stay home, reading and writing.
Writing goes well yet very very slowly. I'm working on a new Mythos tale for an anthology I've been invited to write for. The invitations to submit to anthologies has increased dramatically, and last year I wrote for quite a number of forthcoming titles. I have no real need to work on books of my own, as I have written too many in too short a time, and I'm feeling burned out. I'll have a new book out late this month, and another late next month, both expensive limited edition hardcovers. It's time to take a break, and at the moment I have no desire to have a new book of my own released in 2014. I have a number of collections I want to work on, but I will do so slowly. I want to relax and just take it easy. I want to experience growing old.
One book that I am excited about is a second omnibus of my work, hopefully to be publish'd by Centipede Press three or four years from now. I intent to make this the finest of all my books, and plan on writing a number of significant things that will see their first publication therein, including my wee Derlethian novel inspired by The Lurker at the Threshold. The book will also reprint Some Unknown Gulf of Night, in its heavily revised version. I am determined to take my time working on this title and write for it the very best original work that I can create. I want the book to be magnificent, as far as I am able to make it.
So, there's lots of stuff to do. I'm looking forward to attending the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in May, in Portland at the Hollywood Theatre. And then, in August, is that wondrous event -- Necronomicon 2013!! Oh! That is going to be fabulous!