oy, I'm missing YE WALKING DEAD cos I can't stop watching Streisand videos on YouTube.....
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
In his snippy review of a pro-Derleth book that attack'd him continuously (a book for which I wrote a pro-Derleth foreword), S. T. Joshi wrote: "(The genial W. H. Pugmire, in his preface, now also vaunts Derleth's Mythos tales, but no one takes him seriously as a critic.)" O, sweet ducklings, people were outraged & expected me to be annoy'd with S. T., who is my greatest friend and has encouraged my writing more than any other soul. I wasn't at all annoy'd, I found it all hilarious; too, I understood S. T.'s emotional dislike of Derleth, a complicated issue. Shortly after this incident, Pete Von Sholly asked S. T. if he knew of anyone who cou'd write new essays for the forthcoming LOVECRAFT ILLUSTRATED volumes from PS Publishing, a nine-volume set of wondrously illustrated books, for each of which S. T. had provided the Lovecraft text and penned new Introductions. To my amazement, S. T. suggested that Pete ask me for some new essays. I was delighted and have written new essays of about 1,000 words@ for several volumes. It is a magnificent series, of which six volumes are now in print. I found that I really enjoy'd writing essays about HPL, even though I can never pretend to be a Lovecraft scholar. Thanks to mine beloved S. T. Joshi, I was given ye chance.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Alas, that we must wait until mid-October for ye release of this collection fromPenguin Classics. I have a passion for Penguin editions, and own three sets of their H. P. Lovecraft volumes. I have this book by Ligotti on pre-order, & will need to own at least two copies. To me, Tom is the perfect weird fiction author--a writer who is, in every way, superb. I think he is the finest supernatural/horror writer that has ever put pen to paper--or fingers to keyboard. I love Lovecraft, but Lovecraft wrote some rather poor stories, I admit. Thomas Ligotti has not.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Saturday, March 14, 2015
I am far more haunted, as an artist, by H. P. Lovecraft, this year, than ever before. I sense a need to do so much more with Lovecraftian weird fiction, and to improve the way I write it. I strive for excellence, although I doubt I can ever truly achieve it. Still, one has to try. I've just finish'd proofing my next book for Hippocampus Press, MONSTROUS AFTERMATH, having printed out ye entire pdf file so that I could read the book as hard copy. My final piece in ye book is my revised/extended version of "Some Unknown Gulf of Night. When the piece was first publish'd in book form by Arcane Wisdom Press, I consider'd it the finest thing I have ever written. Reading it anew, these past several days, has left me a wee bit disappointed with it. I could have done so much more. I was obsess'd with having a repetition of motif. of character and language; but this new reading points of that there is too much repetition, especially if the piece is read entirely in one quick sweep. Another odd thing is that, in comparing some segments with the Lovecraft sonnets that inspir'd them, I can no longer comprehend how a particular sonnet inspired my prose response--there seems no clear correspondence at all.
This feeling of "I could have done so much more with this" came to me some time ago when I was rereading my other prose-poem sequence, "Uncommon Places". Indeed, I return'd to some of the segments in that work and, thinking they wou'd be so much better as actual short stories rather that prose-poems or vignettes, rewrote a number of them as regular short stories; & some few of those rewrites will be included among ye tales in MONSTROUS AFTERMATH. As I read over "Some Unknown Gulf of Night" to-day, and compared my prose-poem segment with the actual sonnet by H. P. Lovecraft that inspir'd it, I found myself thinking, "This could have been so much better. There is no connection between HPL's original sonnet and whut ye have written here. You could put the inspiration received from this sonnet to such better use." I felt this keen, some few hours ago, when I compared segment XXXI of "Gulf" to Lovecraft's "The Dweller" sonnet; and I experienced a wee ache to "try again," to write a full weird tale inspir'd by "The Dweller" that actual had real solid connections to Lovecraft's poem. I have a feeling I will be studying the sonnets anew later on this year, and use them as inspiration for a horde of new stories in ye Lovecraft tradition. I'll have, come summer, some new editions of Lovecraft's poems with which to cull inspiration: for PS Publishing will be bringing out a wee illustrated edition of Lovecraft's poems that were publish'd in Weird Tales, a number of which were ye Fungi; & Hippocampus Press will be bringing forth David Schultz's The Annotated Fungi from Yuggoth, complete with about 40 new illustrations created for that particular edition.
I need to improve, in order to excel. That will come about only with ye writing of many, many, many more Mythos stories. Happily, I have a feeling that there are going to be more Mythos anthologies forthcoming in ye next few years--I've just been invited to write for two new ones.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
My introduction to the weird fiction of H. P. Lovecraft came not from reading but from listening. The bloke who lived across the street owned his own record store, and knowing of my love of monsters, he would sometimes give me horror records. One of these was Roddy McDowell's reading of "The Outsider" and "The Hound." Thus, those two tales served as my introduction to the fabulous world of darkness that is ye fiction of H. P. Lovecraft. Perhaps, having so loved these audio renditions of the two tales, that is why "The Outsider" and "The Hound" remain among my all-time favourite tales by H. P. Lovecraft, stories that have so keenly influenced my own writing.
Monday, March 9, 2015
Writing has been difficult this year, & one way of trying to keep myself busy has been going over older stories and doing a very slight re-polish; when Paula Guran re-worked my story for her anthology, THE COLOSSAL BOOK OF CTHULHU, she deleted many instances of my use of the word "that", thus cluing me in to ye fact that I used it where it need not appear. So I've been going over my old texts and removing excess wordage. Looking for my story, "The Zanies of Sorrow," I found that I had entirely lost ye doc, and so I decided to retype ye entire tale. I had always considered it one of my best, really original stories; but going over the text I found myself displeased with portion of it, and with one section where I now felt I could have improved considerably. The section takes place about mid-way into ye tale, as the narrator and his new friend pass by a secluded cemetery and decide to enter onto its grounds. In my original version, I had no supernatural effect occur among ye tombs; the importance of the scene came in this exchange:
"You have such an odd expression on your face, Albert," Lucretia said, laughing lightly. "Does this place unnerve you?"
"On the contrary. I feel almost audaciously at peace. As a child I often spent many joyous afternoons haunting an overgrown and abandoned graveyard that was situated high on a hill--Graham Hill, as I recall its name. The place was overrun with with sticker bushes and shrubbery and bending trees. Neighborhood hoodlums had violated many of the markers. But I loved it there, among the happy dead."
"The dead are happy?"
"Of course they are; they're dead, you see." We laughed together.
"But what of the spirit?"
"I never think of that. I abhor the notion of eternity. You and I are material things, chemical components. We end as dust and ash. That, at least, is my fervent prayer. To go on, as spirit or any other thing! God, what could be more damnable than eternal life?"
I saw her momentarily stiffen.
In this rewrite, I have added just a wee bit of supernatural event, which serves as a prelude to a similar even, on a grander scale, at the conclusion of the tale.
"Have you been in there? It's a calm and pleasing place. You're not morbid about graveyards, are you?"
"Not at all," I reassured her. Coming to its entrance, we strolled into the cemetery. There was a slight breeze, and I watched the subtle sway of the laburnum, with their poisonous yellow flowers. I took in the plumes of white and pale pink lilac. At one corner of the old stone wall stood a gigantic willow tree, its long pale vines drooping to the ground. With a burst of boyish glee, I rushed to the willow and wrapped some vines around my hands as I frolicked on the sod. "I dance with the dead, and evoke their shades from their immemorial pits of blackness. Rise, neglected souls, and join me in my gambol."
Lucretia laughed and clapped in time to the movement of my feet. I watched, as she lifted her hands above her head and formed her fingers queerly. A cloud must have swallowed sunlight, for the place darkened and the air grew cool. I noticed some few peculiar spots of shadow that formed on the ground just beyond her, and I ceased my movement as those patches of gloom seemed to writhe and swirl and rise. I had seen something like this before, the little whirlwinds of dust and debris that formulate at times--dust devils, I think they're called. These were very small, and yet something in the way they formed themselves unnerved me. I watched, and a kind of worry engulfed me as one of the minute whirlwinds took on a quasi-human form. Lucretia turned to smile at me; but when she noticed the expression on my face she lowered her hands and stomped one foot onto the ground. Swiftly, the tiny whirlwinds broke apart and faded as the sun regained its splendor.
"That was a merry little performance," she told me as she walked to where I stood.
I shrugged "I sometimes play the fool. But I do love graveyards, to dwell among the happy dead."
"The dead are happy?"
"Of course they are--they're dead, you see." We laughed together.
A vast improvement, I think. The story was inspired by the Oscar Wilde quote, above. It is from the letter he wrote in prison to his lover, Alfred Douglas. The letter in its publish'd form is known as "De Profundis." I came across that line about "the zanies of sorrow" and knew I had to use it as the title for a story.
The cemetery on Graham Hill, now called Comet Lodge Cemetery (established 1895) has now been cleaned up and beautified. As a teenager, I used to dress up as Count Pugsly and have my buddy photograph me among the weed-choked tombstones. A happy youthful time.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
I cannot really complain about our chilly weather when there are those who are suffering from snow. But, dang, I have been so cold for days now. Every morning there is frost outside, and I turn on ye furnace until the house is slightly warmer; but then, ye moment I turn off the heat, these rooms become very chilly once again. I dress inside as if I were going outside, and that helps a little. I cannot go outside for my daily walks around the block when it is this cold, because the cold air triggers asthma attacks.
Days have been spent, moftly, in reading H. P. Lovecraft, as I am going over ye texts in H. P. LOVECRAFT'S COLLECTED FICTION: A VARIORUM EDITION, to be publish'd probably in summer by Hippocampus Press. I find myself constantly rereading Lovecraft's fiction, and always enjoy it no matter how many times I have read ye tales. It's like entering a cozy world in which I feel thoroughly at home. It's the same with Shakespeare, whose characters now, when I watch the plays on telly or read them anew, seem like beloved old chums that I have known forever.
Happily, it appears that I have finally return'd to regular work. Last week I wrote a new wee thing for an anthology that S. T. is thinking of editing (no firm decision yet at this time). And this morning I put ye finishing touches on a new story of 3,000 words entitled "Smooth Artifact of Bone," whut I will probably save for my next collection for Centipede Press. I've jsut found an old abandoned tale, "Maenad of Bone," and I find the 800 words already composed promising, although the title will certainly need to be changed. I seem obsessed with bones these days...
I hope this finds ye well, my darlings.
Sunday, March 1, 2015
Some have been concern'd because of ye rumour that I am planning to stop writing. I will never stop, but I need to slow down a wee bit. I have found it extremely difficult to write this year--it's not so much a writer's block as writer's boredom and apathy: I just can't be bothered. I no longer feel that keen compulsion that lures me to ye keyboard with an ache to create. I'm certain that part of this is linked to the weariness I've felt because of my boring ill-health, but I am also feeling utterly uninspired. It may be, as I have suspected, that I have written too much over these past few years and have "burned out".
I had planned to work, this year, on a new collection of Enoch Coffin stories with Jeffrey Thomas, and on new stories for a forthcoming second collection for Centipede Press. I have put both projects on hold--indefinitely. I'm not going to waste my time trying to write when ye inspiration is so obviously not there. I am also going to be extremely selective in any future anthologies I may write for.
This weariness is not linked to being tired of writing Lovecraftian weird fiction. Indeed, my need to write Lovecraftian horror stories has never been keener. As an author, I identify with Lovecraft more and more, and want to create more weird fiction in which I pay homage to his genius. When I write Lovecraftian stuff, I am myself absolutely--it is who I am, entirely, as an artist. H. P. Lovecraft clutches my aesthetic soul as never before. I've been reading, slowly and aloud, volumes II and III or S. T.'s Variorum edition of Lovecraft's fiction. Last week I finish'd reading At the Mountains of Madness, and it thrill'd me as never before--to ye point where I want to read it again, immediately. This morning I began my first reading of it in THE NEW ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT. And it never fails--the more I read Lovecraft's excellent fiction, the more Lovecraftian fiction I want to write. I have told myself that I want to experiment with writing some non-Lovecraftian work, especially for the second Centipede Press book; but moftly, all future work will wear ye Eldritch Taint of Providence.
But I've not stopped writing. Last week I wrote a new story for a proposed tribute anthology that S. T. is co-editing. Yesterday I got my copies of Spactral Realms 2, and it is so amazing that it fill'd me with an ache to work on more poetry.
Of course, I will have gobs & gobs of stuff publish'd throughout this year, so those who enjoy my work will have an endless amount of it. I have stories in about five or six forthcoming anthologies, new stories and reprints. Next month, Dark Renaissance Books will publish a huge new collection, written in collaboration with David Barker, IN THE GULFS OF DREAM AND OTHER LOVECRAFTIAN TALES. The book will include 13 stories written on my own (including my 11,600 word Sesqua Valley version of HPL's "The Lurking Fear" in its first book publication), plus two new pieces written in collaboration with David, one of which is a wee novella of about 23,000 words entirely set in Lovecraft's dreamland. Then, in August (or sooner), Hippocampus Press will publish my third collection for them, MONSTROUS AFTERMATH, and that will include my new revised/expanded 40,000 word version of "Some Unknown Gulf of Night," ye text of which will be followed by a reprinting of the entire sonnet cycle of H. P. Lovecraft, Fungi from Yuggoth. So, my ducks, there will be so much Pugmire wank for ye to feast on this year.
David Barker and I are slowly writing a novel set in Lovecraft's dreamland, to be publish'd next year.
The new Enoch Coffin and Centipede Press books will happen, in some dim future time.
Shalom, my loves.