So you can read my books

Friday, September 10, 2010


{"Men of broader intellect know
that there is no sharp distinction
betwixt the real and the unreal."

- H. P. Lovecraft.}

Ah, you say. The ghost of H. P. Lovecraft.
Now, he will tell us if what he wrote was true.

Short-sighted mortals. I dare not say. I can not say.

I will but put forth this : my imagination was too stunted,

my words too feeble to paint what lies beyond.

Sometimes I believe that this less material life is our truer life,

and that our vain presence on this terraqueous globe is itself

the secondary or merely virtual phenomenon.

Then, what brings me to Roland's blog?

I was wandering Thalarion, the City of a Thousand Wonders,
where many have passed but none returned,

where walk only daemons and mad things that are no longer men,

and the streets are white with the unburied bones of those
who have looked upon the eidolon Lathi, that reigns over the city.

Abruptly, the ghosts of Clemens, Chandler, Rogers, and Bogart (all heavily armed) made their cautious way to me.

And well they should have been careful, for I am no longer altogether ... human.

I watched them from the shadows with some amusement. They stepped warily around shards of marble that thrust up from the misty ground.

The shards gave the illusion of ancient bones of some grotesque corpse protruding from an ill-made grave.

The ruins projected a diseased aura as if the very stones were cursed.

Clemens approached me. "You can roll around in your horrors like they were catnip for all I care, Lovecraft. But you owe Roland."

"Indeed I do. What would you suggest?"

"Write a piece for his ... computer newspaper."

"How quaint. On what exactly, Clemens?"

"Why the blue blazes you chose to write what you did."

"It chose me, Clemens."

"Then, write that. And try to remember what it meant to be human while you're doing it."

I fought down the gibbering darkness. "You are lucky I owe DreamSinger, ghost."
So I am here. Why did I come? I came because of my lost childhood :

There are not many persons who know what wonders are opened to them in the stories and visions of their youth;

For when as children we learn and dream, we think but half-formed thoughts,

and when as men we try to remember, we are dulled and prosaic with the poison of life.

But some of us awake in the night

with strange phantasms of enchanted hills and gardens,

of fountains that sing in the sun, of golden cliffs overhanging murmuring seas,

of plains that stretch down to sleeping cities of bronze and stone,

and of shadowy companies of heroes that ride caparisoned white horses along the edges of thick forests;

and then we know that we have looked back through the ivory gates

into that world of wonder which was ours before we were wise and unhappy.

Enough of me. I ask : Did your genre pick you?

I know mine did.

My reason for writing stories

is to give myself the satisfaction of visualising more clearly the

fragmentary impressions of wonder which are conveyed to me by certain
ideas and images encountered in art and literature.

I choose weird stories because they suit my inclination best -

one of my strongest and most persistent wishes being to achieve the
illusion of some strange suspension or violation of the galling limitations

of time, space, and natural law which forever
imprison us

and frustrate our curiosity about the infinite cosmic spaces
beyond the radius of our sight and analysis.

These stories frequently emphasise the element of horror because fear is our deepest and strongest emotion,

and the one which best lends itself to the creation of Nature-defying illusions.

Horror and the unknown or the strange are always closely connected,

so that it is hard to create a convincing picture of shattered natural law
or cosmic alienage or "outsideness"

without laying stress on the emotion of fear.

As to how I write a story - there is no one way. The following set of rules might be deduced from my average procedure :

1.) Prepare a chronological order of events.

2.) Prepare the narrative order of those events if you are beginning in the middle or the end.

3.) Write out the story - rapidly, fluently, and not too critically.

4.) Revise the entire text, paying attention to vocabulary, syntax, rhythm of prose, proportioning of parts, niceties, and convincingness of transitions.

5.) One last note : Prime emphasis should be given to subtle suggestion.

Imperceptible hints and touches of selective associative detail

which express shadings of moods and build up a vague illusion
of the strange reality of the unreal.

Avoid bald catalogues of incredible happenings which can have no substance or meaning

apart from a sustaining cloud of colour and symbolism.

**And so now I ask you again :

Did you pick your genre, or did it pick you?

Why has this genre captured you?

Do have a blueprint you follow when you write your story or novel? Let me know. The remnant of humanity still clinging to me is interested.

And remember :

"Pleasure is wonder —

the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability.

To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral;

the past in the present; the infinite in the finite;

these are to me the springs of delight and beauty."


  1. I could read this one for days, chew on it for hours at a time, and still probably not get everything out of it that you put!

    You know, I haven't ever read Lovecraft. I HAVE to remedy that asap.

    As a teen, I read romance (natch) but quickly tired of it. The only things that varied were the time periods, types of dresses, and foods. A few were really well done and I would gladly read them again....

    But, see, I cut my 'teeth' on Aesop, Grimm, Edith Hamilton. When I was a little child, Disney would come on at the weekend. The first time I saw the cartoon Sleepy Hollow, my preference was set.

    Give me a cold frosty autumn night, a dark deserted road, and no moon. Let me stand, alone and shivering, waiting for a highwayman to come along a take me to meet real adventure-LOTR, Robin Hood (Stephen Lawhead). Narnia, Dragonlance....

    I used to creep outside and shiver under the moon, the smell of frost and decay wrapped around me, close my eyes and try to will the magic to happen....I guess it picked me.

  2. Sigh... I love Lovecraft!
    Oddly enough, my genre picked me. I had no intentions of writing YA and certainly nothing set in real life. But dreams do inspire, and thus, my series was born.

  3. Lovecraft was a genius. I'm not sure if my genre picked me or I picked it. I've loved fantasy for as long as I can remember!

  4. I know I shouldn't be, but I am still flirting and sometimes dating multiple genres. I'm not ready to settle down. But that's the beauty of it all.

    I also find it fascinating that you chose to speak on what you did and then ref. "In The Mouth of Madness", as just last night, my son talked me into watchng the movie "Mullholland Drive" - Lynch. So when I read: "the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability" - it was a little dejavu. While "Mullholland" was not a horror story in the purest sense, I'd like to think of it as a close relative. Lynch says he'll never give an explanation for the ture meaning of the movie - personally, I don't think he can. But it's one of those things everyone should see just once because the opinions and ideas after seeing it will be as varied and confusing as the movie was. When I read: "imperceptible hints and touches of selective associative detail" Yep, that's "Mullholland Drive".

  5. I believe my genre did pick me... or I suppose that's the only way to put it. Despite all the other genres I've tried out, fantasy is the only one that I can truly never cease being fascinated by.

    Great post, Roland. Look forward to reading more soon. Hope you can get the chance to stop by my blog sometime soon; I always love hearing from you:)

    Happy writing,

  6. You've got a point there, Roland. It is a shame that everyday someone is suffering just as bad as people did in the 9.11 tragedy and many times society ignores this entirely.

    I understand what you mean by not having a lot of time to comment. I've been really busy lately, as well. Thanks for making the effort to stop by and comment.
    Happy writing,

  7. I fell in love with Lovecraft indirectly, through Peter Straub, but I've read a number of his works, and I think you've captured him well. He is a master of suggestion, and letting the reader fill in the blanks (because of course we always come up with what would be most frightening to us)

    You've captured him well, Roland!

  8. Oh my, just friggin Oh my Roland!!!
    What a brilliant piece of prose channeling all the mystery of ontological fiction that is Lovecraft. Maybe we've found another successor to H.P. and his initials are R.Y.
    A truly cyclopian post. I am in awe.

  9. Awesome post, my friend :) While I'm definitely a Lovecraft devotee, I'm not too keen on his writing style - but the originality of his monstrous pantheon is staggering. Always draws me back in!! And my genre chose me, as well. Oh, and the Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 revolver?? That's my favorite weapon!! I lurves me a 7.5-inch barrel. Sigh.

  10. Zoe : Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Yes, that barrel helps with the recoil.

    Sandra, my best friend, chortles, "Yeah, you never know when you're going to be attacked by a brick wall. Jeez, Roland, you're expecting to be jumped by one of your characters or what?"

    Lovecraft did indeed have an original imagination. I have to trim back his style a bit to be more accessible to today's readers. Thanks for liking my efforts.

  11. "Pleasure is wonder —

    the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability.

    To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral;

    the past in the present; the infinite in the finite;

    these are to me the springs of delight and beauty."

    Loved this post but especially loved this quote.

    ~that rebel, Olivia