One of the ways in which I enjoy the weird fiction of H. P. Lovecraft is to listen to audio readings of the stories found on YouTube. To listen to Lovecraft's prose is one way in which to discover its beauty, its poetry, its excellence. I listen'd, this morning, to this reading of "The Festival," inspir'd by a re-reading of Essential Solitude: The Letters of H. P. Lovecraft and August Derleth. In a letter by Lovecraft of 14 November 1931, we find:
"The plot I am now experimenting on concerns another fictitious Mass. town--'Innsmouth'--which is vaguely suggested by the ancient & almost dead city of Newburyport. Of course, there is no sinister, un-human shadow over poor old Newburyport--but then, there never was a festival of worms at Marblehead (Kingsport)!"
That phrase--"A festival of worms"--struck a cord with my imagination, & I now have a hankering to write a wee tale thus entitled, set in Kingsport. It is one of the pleasures of listening to a Lovecraft text that certain words or phrases pop out, as they don't when I am silently reading ye text. Listening to this story this morning, I was impress'd again at its dream-like quality, and it occurred to me that it may indeed be a dream narrative. There are other tales that strike me as such--"The Outsider" and "The Music of Erich Zann" being two such--in which the things that happen seem so outlandish and unlikely that the narrative can only be a recollection of dream. "The Festival" is a favourite of mine, and it has had a profound effect on my own Lovecraftian weird fiction. I am obsess'd with using, over and over again, certain images from it, such as ye antique grimoire, the spinning wheel, and the mask. And so I am slowly dreaming a wee idea that I hope I will be able to write out, a tale set in Kingsport, "A Festival of Worms."
The writing goes well. Some friends requested that I write a wee thing that they can publish as separate chapbook, & this inspir'd to finally write an idea that has been itching at ye back of my brain for quite some time, a story set in that region of secret worship evoked in "The Call of Cthulhu," the place where lies a hidden lake with its formless white inhabitant, and where Black Winged Ones perform ritual murder. I completed the polish of my new story to-day, at 3,000 words. I wanted the tale to be that length, as my last publish'd chapbook, JESTER OF YELLOW DAY, was too wee, being little more than 1,000 words.
I continue to be entranc'd by The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft!!!
|Ye above illustration is by Pete Von Sholly, for ye forthcoming volume THE CALL OF CTHULHU in ye PS Publishing LOVECRAFT ILLUSTRATED series. This scene is ye setting for my newly completed weird tale.|