Thursday, August 20, 2009

H.P. H.P. Hurray for Lovecraft Day!

According to Wikipedia (and blessed be its name), today is the birthday of the immortal (for "that is not dead which can eternal lie / and with strange eons even death may die") Howard Phillips Lovecraft. That makes today... Tentacle Day? Lovecraft Day? Extra-Galactic Horror and Hatefulness Day? The geeks of the world have not yet united behind a single vision of how to celebrate the life and works of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, but I'm sure we will. Soon. The revolution is coming.

To do my part to spread the Lovecraft, here are a few links you might find titillating (or terrifying) (or both):
  • A list of lovecraft quotes I found, just now, looking to confirm the exact wording of the "death may die" quote above.
  • The Drabblecast's newest episode features some H.P. Lovecraft poetry and a Lovecraft-inspired story.
  • A Pseudopod story from some weeks ago that pokes gentle (and loving, I'm sure) fun at Lovecraft's Yog-Sothoth.
  • To toot my own horn: a rather silly (musical) Burning Zeppelin post from quite a while ago, a Call of Cthulhu character posted on my blog as part of my (currently suspended) project to make a character for every game I own, and another blog post (I think) from Rabbit Hole Day 2007.

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Seriously, though, what is it about H.P. Lovecraft that we (ok, I) find so compelling?

The first is, simply, that Lovecraft is the father of a subgenre, and there's something kind of nifty about that. Despite never achieving much commercial success, despite honestly not being a very good writer, Lovecraft managed to touch a nerve. He tapped into something we thought we'd forgotten - some primal fear of the dark - and made art out of it.

But you know what? You've heard that already. If you're reading my blog, you know all about H.P. Lovecraft and how he came out of nowhere after his death and redefined horror and blah blah blah blah blah. You want to know what really inspires me about Lovecraft?

First of all, Lovecraft had balls. Huge writerly balls. Lovecraft made up words left and right, wrote the absurdly dense and flowery prose that he felt best served his fiction, and told stories that were far ahead of their time. As China Meiville said in a recent I Should Be Writing interview, (paraphrased) there's something to be said for tight, sparse prose, but there's also something to be said for lush, vicious, enticing prose that draws you in, sucks out your brain, and gives it back backwards.

Secondly, Lovecraft turned his life into art in a way that I admire. He was afraid of shellfish, so he wrote stories about tentacled horrors from beyond space and time. He loved Providence, Rhode Island, so he wrote stories in which the beauties of Providence were sufficient to draw the gods of earth from the rightful thrones to cavort among its steepled roofs. He was a vaguely racist, nativist, eurocentric weirdo, so he wrote... ok, let's leave that one alone. The fact remains, however, that Lovecraft wasn't afraid to mine every last thing in his life for inspiriation, and I like that.

So let's here it for Lovecraft! What the world needs now is Lovecraft! All you need is Lovecraft! Make Lovecraft, not war? Um...


1 comment:

Scattercat said...