A Visit with S. T.
Spent yestereve with Mary and S. T. Mary cook'd one of ye finest dinners I have ever devour'd, grill'd asparagus and steak, with superb scallop potatoes. Before we dined, S. T. and I signed 300 signature sheets for BLACK WINGS V's special deluxe edition--& gawd was that exhausting. S. T. signs first, and he is very fast, so as I am struggling to keep up his pile of sign'd sheets grows taller and taller. When I become frustrated with how slow I am and try to sign faster, my signature becomes a scrawl of chaos and that frustrates me ever more. I am always so relieved when ye signing is ended. S. T. gave me some of ye newest Hippocampus Press books, including ye one pictur'd above. I am especially interested in reading HPL's letters to J. Vernon Shea, as Vernon was one of my moft-beloved chums before his death in 1981. I cannot now remember how I first came into contact with Vernon (my letters have been given to Greg, who maintains the W. H. Pugmire Archive), but I think it's probable that Robert Bloch or Dirk Mosig gave me his address. Vernon wrote one or two articles on homosexual themes found in Lovecraft's fiction, and over time I came to suspect that Vernon was himself gay--but he never told me if that was so, and I never insisted on knowing. He was one of the first to whom I came out when I embraced my queerness, and began to packed his envelopes with press cutting photos of men he thought I'd find attractive, such as Robert Redford. When we spoke on the phone, he seem'd fascinated to hear the details concerning the three months I worked ye streets as male whore. Initially, our letters to each other were pages and pages in length, because I was such an obsess'd HPL fan-boy and it was thrilling to correspond with someone who had actually known Lovecraft. He was extremely encouraging when reading my first attempts at writing weird fiction, but I don't think he ever imagined I'd amount to anything as a writer. Two weeks before he died, we also lost H. Warner Munn, and I was heartbroken cos I used to drive up to Tacoma every week-end to hang out with Harold and discuss weird fiction and HPL, and listen to him read the stories he wrote for Weird Tales while holding the actual issues of that magazine! The first person I called after Harold died was Vernon, and he consoled me as I sobbed into ye phone reciever. Then a fortnight later he was gone.After those two deaths my attitude became weird and I completely dropped out of the Lovecraft scene for several years, discovering punk rock and focusing on that lifestyle with all ye intensity I had given to being a Lovecraftian.
Anyway, last night was lovely. It is still an almoft magical thrill for me to have S. T., the world's leading H. P. Lovecraft scholar & editor, living in Seattle. The only mild annoyance was that he seems to be insistent on my attending the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon in Portland this year, and I really don't want to, such things have exhausted me these past few times I've attended. But it's difficult to deny S. T. when he wants you to attend, so who knows?