Knowing that a second NEW ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT volume will be forthcoming next year or early 2018 has me contemplating what illustrations will be used for some of the stories; and that made me reflect on some of ye cool illustrations I have seen for "The Lurking Fear." I love that story and have an almoft-intimate relationship with it. When I was ask'd to write a story for the weird journal, Fungi, the editor told me he wanted a story of around 11,000 words, he wanted it in segments or chapters, and he wanted each chapter to have its own title. This made me think immediately of "The Lurking Fear," a story of 8,170 words that Lovecraft divided into four episodes, each with its own title. My fanboy juices began to bubble, and I knew that I was going to write my own Sesqua Valley version of "The Lurking fear." I had my own Martense mansion, located on Tempest Hill, near Sesqua Valley's monstrous Mount Selta. I had a doomed character named Arthur Munroe, as did Lovecraft. My one change was that my daemons were ghostly rather than physical creeps. I took my chapter titles from those in "The Lurking Fear" and "Herbert West--Reanimator." I wrote the story quickly, effortlessly; I think it was so easily done because the writing of it was such rad fun. It felt illicit and irredeemably fan-boy, writing a story that was so like one of Lovecraft's tales, at least in inspiration if not completely in approach. Lovecraft is the only writer who can influence me to commit such a reckless act--again & again & again. (I was once going to write my own version of Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, but eventually came to my senses, thank Yuggoth...) So, anyway, thinking about Leslie Klinger's 2nd volume of annotated HPL has me dwelling on all this, and I am rather shock'd to find that I want to write yet another story inspired by Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear"--perhaps this time using his actual setting. Maybe I can have Enoch Coffin visit the site for one of my new stories that I'm writing for a second volume of Enoch tales. Hmmmm.......
So, I have started a very slow, careful re-read of Lovecraft's tale, in S. T.'s wonderful volume, A MOUNTAIN WALKED. Actually, S. T. didn't choose to have either "The Lurking Fear" or "Pickman's Model" in ye hardcover edition of that book (it was publisher Jerad's idea), which is why Lovecraft's tales don't appear in ye recent trade pb edition of the book from Dark Regions Press. And now I have this new queer hankering. My version of "The Lurking Fear" was originally publish'd in Fungi and then reprinted in my book, In the Gulfs of Dreams and Other Lovecraftian Tales. There it wore its original title, "A Presence of the Past." I have since grown bored with that title, so when the story is publish'd in my forthcoming Centipede Press collection next year it will wear ye title "The Horror on Tempest Hill"--yes, for real, bitches! And I am thinking of asking my publisher, Centipede Press, to use the Clark Ashton Smith illustrations for "The Lurking Fear" when it first appear'd in Home Brew to illustrate my story! Is that crazy or whut?!
So now I have much to do. I need to reread Lovecraft's story, in the way I study tales to which I want to write a sequel, which requires a different kind of mental approach to ye reading process. Then I need to begin to mentally outline a new Enoch Coffin story in which he visits the site of Lovecraft's original tale (I think Lovecraft destroyed the daemonic mansion of his story, but I can invent a kind of macabre ambiance that is left behind and affects (pollutes) ye mind & soul. Oh, this is going to be fun!
Here's a reading from a story I rather regret having written--I think it was a mistake to try and use Lovecraft's Pickman as a character in a Sesqua Valley tale. But, you know, we try and try, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it fails.