Category Archives: Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft, please call your office

Moa Claw

From Ancient Origins: The Frightening Discovery of the Mount Owen Claw

Nearly three decades ago, a team of archaeologists were carrying out an expedition inside a large cave system on Mount Owen in New Zealand when they stumbled across a frightening and unusual object. With little visibility in the dark cave, they wondered whether their eyes were deceiving them, as they could not fathom what lay before them—an enormous, dinosaur-like claw still intact with flesh and scaly skin. The claw was so well-preserved that it appeared to have come from something that had only died very recently.

Read the rest at Ancient Origins – if you dare.

If I’d discovered that claw, I would have set new land speed records skedaddling out of the cave.

Best Fiction and Writing Blogs

Lovecraft

The best fiction and writing blog posts from around the ‘net, all guaranteed to make you a literary cult figure. Compiled by lovecraft

Alice OsbornHow the Right Kind of Criticism Makes You Grow
Rick LaiThe Foundations of “The King In Yellow” and “The Necronomicon”
Steven Ramirez Writers, Start Building Your Brand Early!
The Book BloggerThe New Fatherland?
A.D. Martin 10 Tips For Better Writing!
Fergus McCartanInterview with Age of Iron author Angus Watson
PurpleanaisThe Night Owl and Tolkien
Nurse KellyBe The Peace
Once Upon A Time Living in Fairy Tales

Cthulhu in Foxholes?

My wife and I went to the Sensoria Celebration of the Arts Festival at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte yesterday. We thoroughly enjoyed Molly Manning’s presentation on her latest book, When Books Went to War, which tells the story of the massive and successful effort to provide desperately needed books to America’s fighting men during WW II.

In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry devised a simple and brilliant plan to provide reading material to millions of men in the U.S. armed forces. The first step was to study standard issue military uniforms and determine the appropriate size for a book that would be easy to carry yet still readable. The end result was the Armed Services Edition book, which was smaller and much lighter than a standard hardbound book. Here’s a picture of some on display at the CPCC library:

ASEBooks
Click to enlarge

Funny thing, I noticed a copy of Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror, and decided I had to sneak a picture. But while I was there, I did not notice the letter beside it. I was delighted when I downloaded the picture to my laptop and read it. Here’s my transcription:


2-16-46

Gentlemen,

My brother, now serving in the occupational army in Germany, asked me to see if I could secure for him through you the following special editions for soldiers:

Max Beerbohm “Seven Men”
H.P. Lovecraft Anthology
Algernon Blackwood Anthology

He writes that these small volumes have been published by you and he is extremely interested in them but cannot locate them in the vicinity; if possible he would like to own them. He says I couldn’t send a nicer gift as far as books are concerned than those three little books.

Your help would be much appreciated. I would be happy to cover expenses.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. A.C. Klay

That gives you an idea of just how important great stories are to morale. And it suggests the depth of Lovecraft’s appeal.

120 million of these little books went to both the European and Pacific theaters, where they were devoured by eager, grateful GIs. These books introduced a lot of young men to literature, and boosted the careers of Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. They also made possible the paperback book industry that followed the war. Paperbacks were revolutionary. They were the eBooks of their time. (And I like eBooks!)

Wouldn’t you love to have a copy of that ASE edition of the Lovecraft anthology? Wow.

Best Fiction and Writing Blogs

Bierce

The best fiction and writing blog posts from around the ‘net, all guaranteed to make you a literary adventurer. Compiled by ambrose.

Michael Chabon and Neil Gaiman: Video Tribute to Terry Pratchett
P.J. Parrish: What does your character want?
Alice Osborn: 5 Tips on How to Make a Living as an Author
Rod Dreher: First You Change the Language…
James Machin: H. P. Lovecraft’s pivotal moment
Jami Gold: Write what you want to learn about
Stephen Masty: Awareness of the Past Heightens Creativity
Jacqueline Seewald: Overcoming Writer’s Block (Part 2)

Lovecraft and Howard and the Forces of Chaos

CthuluRising
I have an article up at the traditionalRIGHT blog:

Both Howard and Lovecraft saw civilization and order as not only fragile but necessarily short-lived. In the fictional worlds these imaginative writers created, the values and beliefs that made life possible had to be defended against forces of chaos that inevitably had the upper hand. What counted was the protagonist’s resolve and dedication.

Read the rest at traditionalRIGHT.

Quote of the day

“I’m not a really good writer, and I’m okay with that. What I do have is this ability to dissect my emotions and feelings, and write about my deepest secrets, about what terrifies me, about what I hate.” Cristian Mihai 

Now one could counter that the ability to capture your deepest secrets and fears with words is the definition of good writing.

Consider H.P. Lovecraft. His characterization and dialogue could be laughably bad, but his ability to construct scenarios and concepts that thrilled and challenged readers made him a giant among fantasy and horror writers.

Bottom line: We can’t be good at every aspect of life, or even good at every aspect of our chosen craft, but we can focus on what we love and make the most of what we have.

Best fiction and writing blogs

Lovecraft
The best fiction and writing blogs, compiled by lovecraft

A Vase of Wildflowers: Links for Readers and Writers [Good stuff here, folks!]
Writerish Ramblings: Critique Group
Captain’s Log: Notes on Money and Self-Publishing [Practical advice from a writer who’s walked the walk]
Kill Zone: Don’t Muddle Your Message [How to think like an editor]
Alice Osborn: 4 Tips for a Writing Mom to Stay Sane
Jacqueline Seewald: How to Increase Your Creativity and Productivity
Flavorwire: The 50 Sexiest Literary Villains
A Writer’s Path: Ten Quote Tuesday [Need inspiration? Ryan has it]

The Call of Lovecraft

Now this is fun! Take an armchair tour of Providence, Rhode Island, where H.P. Lovecraft lived most of his life. It’s eerie to see the actual sites from Lovecraft’s home town that made their way into so much of his fiction. The accompanying text shows real understanding of this tortured but gifted author’s work and vision.

Be careful, though — the Old Ones are always near. And Cthulhu doesn’t like to have his dreams interrupted.

News that Stays News

Lovecraft
The best of the writing web, compiled by howie

The Passive Voice: eBooks Could Finally Inch Past Print
A Writer’s Path: Showing vs. Telling
Alice Osborn: 5 Ways to Keep On Truckin’ After Rejection
Kendall F. Person: A Lesson in Marketing from Evel Knievel
The Better Man: Live a great story
Quinn’s Books: Naming Jack the Ripper
Dave’s Corner of the Universe: He Stole Enstines Brain!
Cristian Mihai: You’ll Live Forever if a Writer Falls in Love with You

The Body Keeps the Score

Hemingway Writing

There’s an old saying that nothing bad can happen to a writer because it’s all inspiration. We’ve heard about writers pouring their hearts onto the page to confront and expel inner demons. Edgar Allen Poe. H.P. Lovecraft. Ernest Hemingway. For them, writing was therapy.

Now we have science that confirms that insight:

It is now widely accepted that stressful experiences — whether divorce or final exams or loneliness—have a negative effect on immune function, but this was a highly controversial notion at the time of Pennebaker’s study. Building on his protocols, a team of researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine compared two groups of students who wrote either about a personal trauma or about a superficial topic. Again, those who wrote about personal traumas had fewer visits to the student health center, and their improved health correlated with improved immune function, as measured by the action of T lymphocytes (natural killer cells) and other immune markers in the blood. This effect was most obvious directly after the experiment, but it could still be detected six weeks later.

Numerous experiments have since replicated Pennekbaker’s findings. Writing experiments from around the world, with grade-school students, nursing-home residents, medical students, maximum-security prisoners, arthritis sufferers, new mothers, and rape victims, consistently show that writing about upsetting events improves physical and mental health. This shouldn’t surprise us: Writing is one of the most effective ways to access an inner world of feelings that is the key to recovering from genuine trauma and everyday stress alike.

The goal is a sound mind in a sound body. It’s not either/or. I’ve long felt that Cartesian dualism is as wrong-headed as it is mechanistic and dehumanizing, and that living and feeling and thinking as a whole person rather than as a ghost in a machine is the path to fulfillment. That theme often inspires my writing.

Rather than rejecting the body and nature as lowly, and the mind as somehow imprisoned in dumb matter, we need to grasp the unity of both and live — and write — accordingly.