Today is August 20th. It happens to be HP Lovecraft’s birthday and a mere three days after my own which seems to be a good enough time to bring this blog back to life – or rather wake it up from its long slumber, if you prefer.
I recently self published my first novella the Monitor as an eBook on Amazon and since this story actually started as an homage to Lovecraft it seems to me that the stars have aligned and it is a fitting topic for the rebirth of this blog.
To begin with, I have a confession to make. I used to hate Lovecraft. I couldn’t stand reading him, it was all “blah blah blah, ah! It is terrible but I can’t describe it”. Granted, this was in high school, and I think I first learned about Cthulhu and the other great old ones in the original Dungeons and Dragons Deities and Demigods. Just as a quick aside, it certainly says something that the spell check on the macbook I am writing this post on is informing me that Lovecraft is misspelled but Cthulhu is just fine. It wasn’t that the words were long or bizarre – I have always been quick with a dictionary to look things up and never felt bad not knowing a word (thanks Mom). No, it was that his stories were, well, boring.
Anyway, I remember that even though his stories tended to be extremely short, I had difficulty wading through them and the ones I did were always a let down. I moved on from there to lighter reading (probably something of Tolkein’s though it might have been King) and likely wouldn’t have given him a second thought were it not for the Evil Dead. If you are reading this blog, you are likely familiar with that movie so I am not going to go into how awesomely terrible and terribly awesome it is (I am referring to the original 2 here, by the way).
I returned to Lovecraft with a vengeance and this time around it was… ok. Still not great, though I was starting to get a greater appreciation for the cosmology underneath it all and, far more importantly, the concept of taking a normal person and putting them face to face with something that was incomprehensible. It wasn’t that he couldn’t describe in (excruciatingly painstaking and verbose) detail these supernatural encounters, it was that the characters themselves were facing things so beyond their ability to relate that there was literally (apparently I can use this word incorrectly now and it is okay) no frame of reference they could draw upon in order to relate this experience.
So, let’s flash forward several more years. My life has just entered a new epoch. 1 of 3 has been born now with all of the attendant madness that brings. I recall laying there in bed with the baby monitor on and just staring at the red light. Every now and again the baby would flop around and the eye would blink at me and I could hear a soft rustling. For some reason I started to recall “The Statement of Randolph Carter” and the way Lovecraft told that story from basically the point of view of a guy on the phone when the other guy was getting all the action. My daughter also used to whisper and mutter as she was learning to talk and it was kind of creepy to just hear nonsense syllables coming through the monitor. It seemed to be a good enough time to revisit HP and see if I liked him any better. I did. A bit.
At around this time I was starting to get back into an old hobby of mine that had been long neglected – writing prose. At this time I was living in Los Angeles and doing a bit of screenwriting because, well, it’s LA. Screenwriting is a very tight form and I will probably write more on that another time, but because of that I found I was really missing the free flowing and rambling and exploration that is prose. I decided to get back into it as I could with what little free time a new father has by acting on this inspiration and writing about the thing which inspired me and trying it in a style similar to Lovecraft. Thankfully, I edited quite a bit of the blah blah blah out and kept the kernel of what I liked best about his work. At least I am hopeful that came across. There are still quite a few little nods to Lovecraft – one of which is the protagonist deceased son’s name (Phillip). If you caught any others, either stylistically or content, feel free to share them with me either on twitter @somnicide or here on the blog.
Thanks for spending some time with me.