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Fright-days welcomes, drum roll please, Howard Phillips Lovecraft

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Greetings and Salutations,

Today we are back at the unconsecrated graveyard to visit with another author. I’ve been hoping for weeks that our next guest would grant us an interview. I am very excited to have him with us.

He is a writer who is widely seen as the most significant 20th century author in Horror Fiction. At the time Weird Tales Magazine was building a reputation, he was a regular contributor, he turned down an offer of the editorship. Some of his most celebrated tales including The Call of Cthulhu, canonical to the Cthulhu MythosHorror, fantasy and science fiction author Stephen King called him “the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.” Graham Harman said, “No other writer is so perplexed by the gap between objects and the power of language to describe them, or between objects and the qualities they possess.” So with no further a due, I present, Howard Phillip Lovecraft.

220px-Howard_Phillips_Lovecraft_in_1915_(2) 220px-H.P._Lovecraft's_grave

HP; Thank you, Bob warned me the accommodations were less than ideal, but he assured me the warm welcome would make up for it.

You’re referring to Robert Bloch?

HP; Yes, he convinced me to come. I tried to make two weeks ago, but something happened on our end and some other guy jumped through ahead of me. A Richard Baitman, or something? He was too big for me to argue with.

Richard Bachman.

HP; That’s it, Bachman. He wasn’t a very nice fellow.

That was very unsettling for us all. He hasn’t returned either. I do hope that fellow Steve Brown, and Stephen King are doing alright. He made some thinly veiled threats as he left. Enough about him please let’s talk about your influences.

HP; Of course Edgar Allen Poe was very big. Arthur Machen’s tales of ancient evil returning to the modern world. Joseph Addison and Jonathan Swift. My own vivid nightmares are certainly a contributing factor.

E.A Poe and yourself have many biographical details  in common. Like Poe your work was out of step with your time. You both passed on at a young age and you were both penniless when you did so.

HP; The loss of our parents, bouts of deep depression, self-imposed isolation, the list goes on. 

You must be happy with the high regard with which you are held today and the endless list of authors you have influenced.

HP; Happiness is not something experienced in the plain where I exist. It would have nice if all this veneration presented itself in my life time. It does me little good to know that I am appreciated years I died a painful, lonely, penniless death.

Sorry I brought that up. One of your reoccurring themes is the mysterious information stumbled on by unsuspecting characters.

220px-Weird_Tales_March_1944220px-Cthulhu_sketch_by_LovecraftHP; Ahh yes usually with a Promethean ending. You say unsuspecting character, yet they are driven to learn knowledge that is forbidden them. Their curiosity, ambition, and the temptation of acquiring power compel them to open Pandora’s box and unleash the evils within. They are not naive dupes as you suggest. on the contrary they often make choices without consideration to the consequences. hence the person who acquires the knowledge is utterly destroyed.

Of course you’re right, but the reader identifies with the character as somehow being coerced or deceived into making those choices.

HP; That would be naiveté on the part of the reader. Just as in the Cthulu stories the antagonist is an alien being who is indifferent to humans at best more often hostile, and yet they are worshipped by clans of humans as Gods. You may see the worshippers as poor savages, Where as my view is they bring this on themselves at the hope of becoming the beneficiary of the god like powers.  They are not innocents, they are greedy, manipulating, and selfish. They perpetuate a modern era decadence, and they receive their just deserts.

What of, The Rats In The Walls or The Alchemist, surely you make exceptions where a character gets punished through no fault of their own.

HP; Inherited guilt is something of a paradox. Where the fortunate circumstances of the character are due to the misdeeds of a forebear and yet they themselves are innocent. The piper must be paid, Mr. Benneman, better he is paid in this life than in the next.

I see my flame is burning low, so allow me to leave you with one thought. Support living writers and artists now, while they are among you. Do not wait until they have long passed on to acknowledge their commitment to society.

Whooosh

“Wow that was a pretty dramatic exit. I didn’t get to ask him about all the films based on his stories. OH, well. What an amazing guy.

Let’s close with a quotation from the man himself.

“It is only the inferior thinker who hastens to explain the singular and the complex by the primitive shortcut of supernaturalism.” H.P.Lovecraft.

Thanks for stopping by,

Write On,

Dave Benneman

  

It’s Fright-day, Welcome E.A. Poe

Greetings and Salutations,

Sorry I wasn’t here last week, Fridays aren’t the same when I don’t check in with those of you on the ether. I had to kick the mud from between my toes and venture into the real world of writers, publishers, and agents. Oh my. That’s a wordy way of saying I attended the Writers Digest West Writers Conference last week. It was great, I met and had discussions with wonderful people, who understand or pretend to understand writers. I was enlightened, overwhelmed, and energized. Horror is my thing and while I believe all fiction has the possibility to be frightening, not every writer has the courage to turn to the dark side. Not every reader is hoping for that either.

With a full charge in my batteries I’ve decided to change things up here on Fridays. From this day forward Fridays will be known as Fright-days at the Swamp. So come my children of the night, and we will tour the The Swamp in the dark. The way it is meant to be seen. When it is at its most terrifying.

Jami Gray’s wildly popular interview series has given me the idea to follow her lead. Fright-day will take a slightly different tack. Taking a small diversion from the comfortable setting of the Interview pavilion, we will venture to the unconsecrated graveyard for our ghostly interviews with those authors who are no longer in our midst in the physical sense. As you will find out they are very much with us on the spiritual plane.

Our first guest is the man credited with invention of  the detective genre. A poet, author, publisher, magazine editor, and literary critic. A man who’s very death is a mystery to this day. Please welcome, Edgar Allen Poe.  

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EA: As you know, I do not have an abundance of time. Please, let us get on with it. 

“Of course Mr. Poe. Thank you for coming. Do you agree that a man is the son of his work?”

EA: I should imagine this is so.

Your body of work is disturbing in its representation of madness, and morose subjects. What kind of son are you?

EA: A son whose life was snuffed out too soon. A son whose experiences colored his writing. An honest son, whose work reflected the mistreatment of men by those who perceived their high station granted them the right to do so. The egotistical Fortunato for instance. Do you not agree the world is a better place without his ilk?

The Cask Of Amontillado, one of my favorite tales. Yes Fortunato was not a likable person, but Montressor buries him alive in the cellars.

EA:I believe the vile deserve a vile ending. What of poor Hop-Frog whose very name was taken from him? Forced to entertain the King and his advisors. Was setting them alight to brutal a punishment. I think not. In Masque of The Red Death, Prince Prospero flaunts his wealth, lords over his realm even as his loyal subjects die in streets of the plague. Is it not poetic justice that plague, attends his most magnificent party of the season, killing all in attendance?

I see. The punishment should equal the injustice.

EA: Precisely.

You mentioned poetic justice. Can we talk about The Raven? What caused you to write a poem about a man mourning the loss of his love?

EA: I chose this topic because the death of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetic topic in the world.

Many think the raven represents the devil.

 EA: a harsh laugh. What do those fools know? The raven symbolizes mournful and never-ending remembrance. The death of a flower before the frost, of a love no matter how much it is felt, can not be received by the intended.

What of the prophetic nature of the poem itself? Two years later you found yourself sitting in that very chamber?

EA: Turns his head away. I believe our ship has arrived in port.

You call the Raven a prophet. 

EA: I imply it may be an Angel, also a thing of evil, bird or devil, do not impose upon my good nature. With a rustle of dry leaves he is gone.

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anger you. Quiet darkness is the answer to my apology.

That was rather abrupt, but all good things must come to a timely finish, lest they where out their welcome.

I leave you as always, with a quotation.

All the ancient classic fairy tales have always been scary and dark.

Helena Bonham Carter 

That’s what I’m talking about.

Write On,

Dave Benneman

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