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Posts Tagged ‘H.P. Lovecraft’

Unexpected Role Models

Posted by Dirck on 21 August, 2017

Today, I wasted my lunch period; rather than return the flayed flap of skin on the front of my face to the proverbial grindstone, I raced home to share the Great Eclipse(!!!) with my son.

That is pretty much the peak of totality where I was standing.

Wait a minute… by “wasted” I mean “utilized in the best possible manner,” because while eclipses happen regularly enough, they don’t happen here a great deal; the last one like this was in 1979.  But this is all digression, really, because it is writing I will eventually touch upon.

Today at The Regular Job has been very quite, so much so that I have tacit dispensation to do whatever I liked so long as I was handy to the telephone; thus, I have done a little tidying of the back room of my site, soon (I hope) to appear with a shiny HTTPS in its address and prevent Google from blacklisting me.  In the course of this, I found some backtracks from this very blog hiding among the apprehended spam, and entertained myself with a bit of reading– because, once upon a time, I actually produced content on this thing, some of which was vaguely amusing.

One of the items of past glory I examined was a slightly meta examination of my own writing style, which I’ll synopsize here so you don’t actually have to click that link.  I had found a place which claimed to analyse the style of any text pasted into it, and discovered that the writing of this screed as it existed then was like David Foster Wallace, H.P. Lovecraft, Mary Shelley, Cory Docotorow, and (shudder) Dan Brown.

All of which was somewhat interesting to the current version of me.  Then-Me was about a year away from getting nearly serious about fiction writing, and somewhat further away from getting as serious about it as I am now (which some might say is still “insufficiently so” but I work with what I’ve got).  What, Current-Me wondered, would be the effect of feeding some of my fiction into that purported analysis engine.  Indeed, did it still exist?

Why, yes, it did!  And here’s me with idle hands!

The results are… interesting to me.  Certainly satisfactory, although in a head-scratching way which I’ll explain presently.  As with the last attempt, I gave thing ten samples in an effort to see if there was any consistency in it.  Whole stories, too, not just snippets.  I was told with one of them that it was stylistically like the work of Arthur C. Clarke.  That story, the only one of the bunch that has yet been shown publicly, was aiming for more of an M.R. James flavour, but I will never decline to be likened to Clarke.  Two others came up with Anne Rice as the style-mirror for me, and seven of them produced Agatha Christie.

And here I became bemused.  I understand the presence of Clarke in these estimates.  Rice and Christie confuse me.  This is not a fragile male ego baulking at being compared to women, because really, honestly, that’s not the way I roll.  The source of the confusion lies in what I know about my own reading.  I have read loads of Clarke.  His influence creeping into my own work?  Sure.  However, my reading of Anne Rice is limited to Interview with The Vampire, once, in… I think 1990.  I have read Christie more recently, but rather less of her; a single story, about two years ago.  I have watched the entire run of Poirot Mysteries, but that’s hardly like reading the books upon which they are based.  The similarity of style is unlikely to be a result of emulation, however unconscious.

Bemused, then, but not exactly put out.  No reference to Dan Brown, which pleases me greatly, however commercial his work might be.  “Commercial” is a word one might apply to any of the three this recent sampling produced; not only are they all considered good writers in the literary art sense of the word (none without debate, of course– that’s art critics for you) but they have been widely published.  I am very content to be compared to people who got publication galore.

…of course, one also say “widely published” of Edward Bulwer-Lytton, for a particular period.  Ulp.

Today’s pen: Parker Senior Duofold
Today’s ink: Waterman blue (vintage)

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Blast… er… Subtle Menaces From The Past!

Posted by Dirck on 16 June, 2017

If you’re like me, you shouldn’t be out wandering around without a minder appreciate a carefully constructed fictional reality.  There are few more careful craftsmen of such things than the HPLHS, and this little gem is one of theirs:

If that didn’t make enough sense, or is only ringing a small and distant bell, here’s the inspiration.

Today’s pen: The Nameless One (based on past entries, it moves me toward films like that)
Today’s ink: Waterman blue-black

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There’s an Old Saying…

Posted by Dirck on 2 June, 2017

Actually, it’s a pretty new saying: Just because there’s tentacles, it’s not necessarily Lovecraftian.

The applicability of this is open to debate on today’s little film, but it’s kind of fun, so I’m open-minded.

Probably Lovecraftian.

Today’s pen: Whatever this thing is (don’t be afraid; it’s mysterious, but it’s pretty)
Today’s ink: Waterman blue-black

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Olden-Timey Entertainment

Posted by Dirck on 26 May, 2017

Today’s film isn’t, although it comes from the usual repository.  Rather, it’s an audio drama, which in ages past was called a radio play.

It’s also good fun, if rather steeped in pastiche.  If you want to follow it, they’ve got a web-abode of their own.

Today’s pen: Parker 65
Today’s ink: Herbin Bleu Myosotis

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Happy Belated

Posted by Dirck on 2 September, 2016

I suddenly realize that I missed Lovecraft’s birthday this year. YIKE!  Today’s film is a back-tracking based on that realization, but I’ll mention that if you haven’t read the story upon which it is based, you probably won’t get as much joy from watching as if you had.  Go ahead and read it– it’s one of the least racism-inclusive stories of his, and is probably also the least stilted, told as a conversation over drinks rather than a fevered diary entry set down by someone who has only ever read Poe.

Read it?  Good!  Time for the film:

Today’s pen: Pelikan P488
Today’s ink: Waterman Florida Blue

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I Need Cheering Up

Posted by Dirck on 13 May, 2016

Yet another rejection for a story yesterday, alas.  The fact that I’ve gotten more rejections this year than I have previously made submissions is, in a way Superman’s imperfect duplicate would understand, positive… yet I do find I’m a little blue.  Therefore, today’s imported film is a comedy.

There, that’s buoyed me up a bit, and reminded me that it took one of my favourite authors a while to find a market.  All set for tomorrow’s free tuning clinic.

Today’s pen: Waterman Phileas
Today’s ink: Herbin Poussière de Lune

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Unearthing Some Entertainment

Posted by Dirck on 5 February, 2016

For today’s Found Film, a freshly-posted treatment of a moldering short work of literary fiction.

Tee hee.

Today’s pen: Pilot Vanishing Point
Today’s ink: Waterman blue-black (modern)

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There’s Still a Little Cake

Posted by Dirck on 21 August, 2015

After yesterday’s festivities, the theme of the Friday Film was foredoomed.  I think this one does a great job of getting the flavour right, without the striving for a visual presentation that usually scuttles attempts at “Lovecraftian film”.

I think I know what I’m going to start calling the most troublesome moggie in our house….

Today’s pen: Pelikan Signum

Today’s ink: Montblanc Royal Blue

This is what imagination suggests will happen. Imagination is not good at scale.

This is what imagination suggests will happen. Imagination is not good at scale.

But I should also mention that a week tomorrow, there’s another of my pen-tuning clinics happening at Paper Umbrella (or, as they’re known on Facebook, Paper Umbrella).  That’s Saturday, 29 August, for those who want to mark their calendar.  If you show up, I promise not to bore you with jibber-jabber about the trials of authors or the joys of horror fiction.  Nope, all jibber-jabber will be focused upon fountain pens and related accessories (with which Paper Umbrella is stuffed to bulging– ink! Paper! Other kinds of pen!).  Show up with a pen that’s not running quite to spec, and I’ll see about putting it on its feet.  Buy a pen, and I’ll make sure it’s had the right treatment from the factory.  I know I’ll have fun, and I hope you will too.

I made cookies last time.

{edit– if you are going, why not make a note of it on the Facebook Event page?  Knowing people are going to be there would help me mentally prepare myself for actually being seen}

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Thinking of You on Your Birthday

Posted by Dirck on 20 August, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 17 August
  • 18 August
  • 19 August
  • First draft of “Old Home Week”.
  • “Old Home Week” continues, and I should tell you the story behind it when I’ve a moment.
  • Yet more “Old Home Week”.
  • Seven manuscript pages
  • Six pages.
  • Six pages
  • 55 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 40 min.
  • 30 min.

Since it’s the 125th birthday of a gentle professional author and amateur racist from Providence, I might as well do a little open thinking about writing, both his and my own.

I’ll let ego take the fore; what’s that story I hint at in the Progress Report?  Well, it promises to be almost entirely uninteresting, but here it comes:  A few months ago, I had an idea for a story and wrote it down.  During my extended vacation, there came to me a mental image of how a story that fits that idea would start, and I nurtured that image until I had leisure to get it written down (for those without one, a school-age child when there’s no school is a magnificent preventative against sitting quietly and writing, so my vacation had almost no writing in it).  “Decorations” followed thereafter.  When I got the story finished, or as finished as it’s going to be until I pass it through the improving mills of third-party, semi-anonymous readers, I found that there was some dissatisfaction in me.  I still quite liked the mental image that had come on me, and wondering if putting the whole thing into a format that would serve a visual medium would quiet my restless heart, I went through the screenplay effort mentioned on past Reports.

Success of a sort.  I certainly think the exercise was worthwhile.  At the workshop I attended at the end of May, our guide mentioned that it is useful to try handling the same story with different points of view.  Usually, this is meant to be more internal to the story, moving from “I walked along the street, carefree, until a squelching sensation underfoot and a rank smell brought me up short” to “Halfway along the block, old Mr. Crun is pausing in his morning constitutional to briskly scrape one shoe on the edge of the curb, while shouting imprecations at the whole genus Canis.”  What I did was a little more meta- than that, moving the point of view from reader to viewer, but the effect on writer I think was much the same.  I saw the story from a new place, and I realized what my problem was.  Success!

…of a sort, because the problem was this: I didn’t actually write the story that the idea described.  That was the source of the dissatisfaction.  Thank goodness it wasn’t a novel, eh?  If you look at the few paltry things I’ve got in the Art Department here, you’ll get a good sense of the sort of thing I habitually do.  I like the shiver of effect more than I do committing a satisfying arc.  This is probably a result of my frequent indulgence in Lovecraft’s writing, and while I don’t think it’s wrong, it’s not always right.  In the case of what I meant to write, I realized I shouldn’t be trying to hang out in Arkham or points along the Aylesbury Pike, but should rather be thinking more in terms of October Country.  I get to begin again, with dials in my head adjusted properly– “Shocking Revelation” is turned down, “Sweet Melancholy” turned up a little past half-way.  As much as I honour the Old Man, sometimes art lies in directions he tended to avoid.

All of which is a very long way of reiterating the importance of reading if one means to be a writer.

I cannot discover the true source of the image; if you click on it, you'll end up whence I lifted it.

I cannot discover the true source of the image; if you click on it, you’ll end up whence I lifted it.

Today’s pen: Waterman 52
Today’s ink: Reeves blue-black

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Non-Thematic

Posted by Dirck on 8 May, 2015

Well… the disarticulated corpse of Old Man Winter has made a strange and alarming twitch around here, so I guess there’s something marginally thematic to today’s slightly chilling amusement.

Slightly chilling, and rather unexpected.  Damn it, that’s right on point for today’s weather.

Today’s pen: Waterman Préface
Today’s ink: Pelikan violet

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