Thursday, February 25, 2016

An Eldritch Life


I hold, above, my very favourite volume of S. T.'s Penguin Classics editions of Lovecraft's weird fiction. It contains so many of Lovecraft's very best tales, including the wee novels The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and At the Mountains of Madness. It also includes one of my Lovecraftian obsessions--"Pickman's Model." That story has influenced me in a way I cannot quite understand, especially after I spent time haunting ye lanes of Boston with my chums and stumbled among ye tombstones of Copp's Hill Burying Ground. It was wonderfully weird, after having imagined the scenes of Lovecraft's fiction during my myriad readings of ye tales, to actual walk their ground and drink in their aura with mine eyes. I felt a tremendous surge of unspeakable joy when I walked up to 10 Barnes Street and touched my hand to the number 10 fastened to the house, while behind me S. T. Joshi was chanting all the masterpieces that Lovecraft had penned while living there. That was the moment, I think, when Lovecraft completely took over and became my core lifestyle, because the aesthetic energy of which I thrive. 

Because of my heart condition, I am not able to hold a job, and this disheartens me because I love being part of a kitchen crew and miss my job at Stellar Pizza big-time. It's a real responsibility, taking hold of one's life and trying to make every day count, especially for a Taurus who is inclined to be lazy. Every time I finish a new story these days, it feels like a real accomplishment. I'm supposed to be working on new stories for two collections I'm writing with chums--a book of CAS-inspired stories with Henry Vester and a book of Enoch Coffin tales with Jeff Thomas--but none of those new stories have been completed, although some few have been feebly begun. Yet I have been active, thanks to Pete Von Sholly and PS Publishing.  Pete asked S. T. to suggest people who could write new essays for their LOVECRAFT ILLUSTRATED volumes in their PS Pulps Library series, the first nine volumes of which have been publish'd. These books, such as ye one pictur'd at left, contain one of Lovecraft's classic tales, a new Introduction by S. T. Joshi, and various essays and other fun features. For The Whisperer in Darkness series Ramsey Campbell wrote a new Foreword and I compos'd a new essay, "Cosmic Trickery," in which I insist that Nyarlathotep does not appear in ye tale in any guise. The series has been well-received, and PS Publishing is preparing three more volumes: THE MOUND, THE HAUNTER OF THE DARK, and THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP. Pete Von Sholly ask'd if I cou'd write new essays for two of ye volumes, and I must say that working with him has been an absolute delight, because he obviously loves and is intrigued by Lovecraft's stories as much as I am. I spent the past few days writing my essay on "The Thing on the Doorstep," and it went through various stages as Pete reread the story and asked about certain aspects of it. The essay is now complete at 1,350 words. I love having these individual editions of Lovecraft's stories, and it enhances the reading experience to turn a page and find a colourful illustration for it, sometimes even a dynamic two-page spread. Nothing wou'd please me more than to see the series continued so that all, or at least most, of Lovecraft's weird tales are thus presented. 

Now my essay writing is at an end, and so I must try again to concentrate on original composition of my own fiction. I have ideas, and hopefully I can smooth my mental chaos and find my Muse and work my craft. Shalom, my darlings.
in Providence, 24 October 1707--photo by Greg Lowney, Esq.

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