Filed Under (Writing (Other)) by Tansy on 27-08-2011
A child prodigy born into a suspect gene pool (his family was afflicted with serious mental illness on both sides), Howard Phillips Lovecraft was reading and writing poetry by the age of six.
A brilliant loner fascinated by chemistry and astronomy, his own mental anguishes prevented him from receiving his high school diploma. Financial hardship, failed relationships, and the laundry list of growing fears and obsessions troubling Lovecraft made him a recluse and challenged his health.
Although changing the course of fiction writing through his sci-fi and horror contributions to “Weird Tales”, H.P. could not support himself with his literary endeavors and lived entirely on the estates of his family, which dwindled to almost nothing by the time he was 40. He was diagnosed with colon cancer, Bright’s disease and malnutrition and died in 1937 at the age of 46.
Lovecraft had a very small readership while alive which, as we know now, would grow into a global cult following after his passing. I am fascinated by how prolific he was while being extremely frail and destitute. Here is a delicate agoraphobic who is writing about vast open spaces filled with unspeakable terror. Completing his own works must have made him a nervous wreck, compounding his suffering. As a horror fiction writer, I have to give legendary props to someone who writes what scares them.
Image credit: unknown
Filed Under (Writing (Other)) by Tansy on 21-08-2011
I find it difficult to write when I’ve had a long and stressful day, feel a cold coming on or simply am not in the mood. On the Edgar Allan Poe scale, this is the equivalent of not writing out of fear I’ll break a nail.
Poe’s short life (he died at age 40) was fraught with true misery and hardship: orphaned, taken in by a foster family who would later disown him, loss of job, home, relationships and credibility … he wrote through it all. In fact, Poe was the first American author to live in the public eye supported by his craft alone (without support of family money, a benefactor or a day job). It went poorly.
A headstrong, difficult man with a weakness for gambling and booze, Poe’s was a life that seemed hell-bent on spiraling out of control. Through it all, however, he created works of prose and poetry that would become legendary in his publishing circles and throughout time. You can’t bury your wife, go on a bender and write “The Raven” if the talent and technique of writing aren’t in your DNA.
The indignities of the creative life are many, from arguments with those who hold it in less esteem than any other effort to the painful self-awareness that most of what you crank out just isn’t that great. Poe’s life re-affirms that, over time, fortune will prove that the application of your gifts is never a wasted enterprise.
One last thing about Edgar: his death. The found-in-the-gutter-in-a-drunken-coma bit comes from a lengthy obituary that appeared in print after his demise had been publicly announced. Written by a man who had held Poe in contempt for many years, he seized the opportunity to make the author out to be a lunatic and drug addict. While it cannot be argued that Poe had a problem with alcohol, the exact cause of his death is unknown; he was delirious in the hospital for four days, never coherent enough to give a proper account of his condition. What we do know is that he was in great distress wandering the streets of Boston, and that he was wearing clothing not his own.
Image by Roddy Douglas
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Filed Under (Art) by Tansy on 14-08-2011
Don’t be afraid to smile, dear Gothlings; think of it not as a dour mood breaker, but as a means of spontaneously revealing the bones in your face to an unsuspecting world.
From an interview with Herrick Grimmer, head butler to the Redde-Chapel sisters:
“The ladies are delightful. Oh, some call them strange and keep their distance, but walk out one’s door and try to avoid the brutish and intellectually tepid … it’s simply impossible.
For Mrs. Undercrypt’s birthday, Mrs. Dreadpenny insisted on making the cake herself. It was unheard of! Madam in the common kitchen in her dress blacks wearing the cook’s unpressed apron! (He shakes his head.)
It was a red velvet cake – frosted to look like an animal. Grey. An armadillo, I believe it was. No candles or bows of icing. Mrs. Dreadpenny, presenting the creation, pulled a small cleaver out of her pocket and chopped the thing in two at the neck – exposing the red cake underneath.
Mrs. Undercrypt squealed with genuine happiness and they both erupted into peals of laughter. They’re so very childlike, really. In the light … (his voice trails off) … their eyes … (barely a whisper) … the same yellow …”
Filed Under (Art) by Tansy on 07-08-2011
From the genius of “Unspeakable Vault (of Doom)“:
Violinists get eaten first; that’s why I play the cello.
Filed Under (Writing (Other)) by Tansy on 03-08-2011
If you haven’t treated yourself to a reading of Joe Hill’s “Horns”, you don’t know what you’re missing. Absolutely the best literal use of Christian iconography in a horror book to date. Fresh and darkly delightful, frightening and funny. All kinds of win on top of win with extra win sauce.