So you can read my books

Saturday, January 14, 2012


{"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, Raymond Chandler, Will Rogers, and Ernest Hemingway (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 Roland, 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. My story came to me and wouldn't let go. When I thought about writing a book, it was always a different genre. So, yeah I guess my genre must have picked me.

  2. Roland, this was absolutely amazing! So insightful and true.

  3. I agree, the "imperceptible hints and touches..." are what great literature is about.

  4. I've read a little Lovecraft. He doesn't have problems finding the words. He finds a lot of them in fact.
    I think I chose my genre. I wanted to explore other worlds and could've done that through either fantasy or science fiction, both of which I enjoyed. The excitement and flash of science fiction appealed more.

  5. Jessica :
    It was the same with me as well. (Roland talking not Lovecraft! LOL. He has gone off into the welcoming shadows again.)

    Sangu :
    Welcome back and thanks for the nice words. Hopefully, your little one gave you a bit more time for sleep last night!

    Tonja :
    Yes, aren't they? Lovecraft just nodded. He came back ... and brought a friend. Hey, fella, those tentacles tickle. And say hello to my Spirit Cat, Gypsy.

    Alex :
    Yes, an Ernest Hemingway style of writer he was not!! Neil Gaiman likes that in him. Yes, science fiction is a favorite read of mine. Like my inspiration, Roger Zelazny labeled it, I write Science Fantasy! Thanks for visiting. Your comments always make me feel less alone and with a friend, Roland

  6. Crafting stories for young people is my writing pull. Did I pick it or did it pick me? Well, I'd say the constant chatter of kids and teens inside my head is either a "Write me!" moment or something else entirely. When I put them down on paper, they quiet down.

    I'll have to go with it picked me.

  7. Candy :
    I believe that is true with most writers ... although John Locke picked the genre he would sell easiest -- then, as an "I'll show them how great an author I am", he picked the worst selling genre (Westerns) and did two books in that style.

    Ego ... it drives some folks to do strange things. LOL. Thanks for visiting and caring enough to stay and chat in my cyber-home, Roland

  8. Lovecraft was the first horror master. He's not an easy read, due in part to his style and the time in which he wrote, but his stories are so effective and imaginative.

    My first genre (YA) chose me in a dream. I had no plans to write YA, nor had I read many YA books. (Technically, my series would now fit in the 'new adult' genre, which is a much better placement.) I had no intentions of ever writing fiction based on the here-and-now though. However, the wisp of a dream inspired five books.