Wednesday, July 22, 2009

John C Lewis' Note to Chrispy

John and I correspond a lot. Through my blog you know a lot of how I feel about Lovecraft, but I like to allow other people to express their opinions, too. Many do so in the "Inner Sanctum" of Chrispy's Lovecraft Group, but sometimes on the public page, too. This post generated a great deal of debate on The Haunt, and notably by Larry Roberts. Debate is good. Most controversial may be the term and use of "God" with Lovecraft. Im sure John will read your comments when you post them. :)

John's sincere expressions are listed below.
Hello Chris:

I'd like to thank you in advance for posting this where others will see it. I've liked Lovecraft for many years and have actually created a few stories that are "Lovecraftian" in nature. My novel "Pillars of Fire" is definite Lovecraftian but is all my own. I'll have to post a pic of one of my creations for the story. It's a real cool, but completely alien, creature.


What Makes A Lovecraftian Story
By: John C. Lewis

Greetings from the South.

I have long admired the works of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. The mastery of his "world weaving" has left a lasting impression upon me. Interestingly, his style has had an impact on many others as well for though he has been gone for over sixty years his work continues to grow in popularity to this day. The mysterious world he has created within the fabric of our own has been an inspiration to many writers who continually add to the "mythos" he has left behind. Quite often the question is asked; What makes a story Lovecraftian? Lovecraftian literature and what constitutes it is a very interesting subject indeed. So let's get all the disclaimers out of the way before I give you my take on what makes a Lovecraftian story. First of all I am no expert on Howard and to date I have only read about a third of what he has written. I read a new piece every few weeks so that I always have something to look forward to. I have read his treatise on supernatural horror in literature which was fascinating and have read lots of articles about the man, his life, and his works. I have followed the progression of his rise to stardom since the late sixties so I feel as though I know him. Now, with all that said, here we go;

I believe Lovecraft to be somewhat of a fantasy writer though a darker form of fantasy with Science Fictional elements. Sure he wrote his share of purely horrific stories but in essence, I see a large block of his work as gaslight fantasy with an otherworldly, supernatural twist (ah, maybe I've coined a new category of horrific fiction, maybe not).

What makes Lovecraftian stories unique is that they are steeped in realism. Not the realism that you and I see in our mundane day-to-day existence, but the realism of the world around us. We look out into our front yards and see a tree growing. If it blocks our view it is cut to the ground. Lovecraft could feel the essence of the tree as it beckoned him to stare out the window for that daily visit. Lovecraft would shift his position from one side to the other to see that which lay in the distance yet leaving the tree to forever guide his sight to the wonders beyond. As the tree grows we worry about it shedding leaves all over the place thus becoming a chore to get out there and clean it all up (What a Pain). Not Lovecraft, to him, watching that tree continually sprouting newer vegetation outside the window opens a new page to it's life and how it grows from a mere sapling to a mighty tree, full of a sentient life of it's own. He further connects with that tree as it sends it's tangle of tendrilly roots through the soil to seek the nutrients needed in order to sustain life. Similarly, man obtains a house, then a fence to be followed by a car and a job to earn the money to buy the trappings he needs for survival. In comparison, bringing subconscious attention to the life of a tree, on nature's terms, renders it full of intrigue, mystery, commensul relationships, times of hardship, and eventually, death. An unknown everyday fact that both fascinates and drags the reader in.

This is what makes the essence of a story Lovecraftian. The ability to see both the forest and the trees and, in turn, releasing the reader into that knowledge base. In essence, one could say of Lovecraft, "He saw the world as it really was, not as we created it." That's what makes a story Lovecraftian, creation of a whole new world within the fabric of the one we live in. Like a brood parasite, he leads us to consider the extension of the reality of this world, our world. I don't know how many people I've met that believe the Necronomicon is a real book, not just a tome created for Howard's mythos. That is the power his words wield..

Another thing he does is create legends for us to believe in. Though fantastical in nature, we still have that nagging tingle in our spine, wondering what is real, what is not. In many parts of the world the stuff of legend is considered reality. Who's to say. We all live on the same planet but our sphere of influence is different. One man's trash, An other's treasure. In his stories, Creatures of legend become creatures of fact, some even the stuff of nightmares. Man crawled from the seas millions of years ago yet before us the old ones arrived, creating this reality that we call our own. Now...they want it back.

The other thing that Lovecraft saw different was the universe. While we see the sun and moon, the stars are but lights in the sky, whereas Lovecraft envisions a vast oasis of life-bearing stars, and, the face of God. I'm convinced that in his wanderings in the dreamlands he came face-to-face with the essence that is God. Such a thing could have motivated him to create otherworldly beings that stretch the fabric of reality to it's utmost endurance. I wrote a book I hope to get published some day that is rife with Lovecraftian reality. In one section I have a character that is confronted by the group. The character is asked if she is who she appears to be or is she something entirely different. Angel says to them, 'Those who seek the truth shall never be blinded by darkness. You must unquestionably trust your faith, for to reveal it's mystery, is to destroy it's existence." Howard never reveals the mystery. Therefore, we believe, and try to reproduce that. John Carpenter saw that with "Out of The Mouth Of Madness." He gets it. He is in on the secret. Like any good magician Lovecraft kept the secrets to his worlds inside.

But speaking of the world of magic, one must realize that Lovecraft lived in a world very different from the one we frequent. His was fraught with the likes of people like Regardie, Crowley, Blackwood, and the occult lodges made popular at the turn of the century. The Order of the Golden Dawn and other groups all bent on magically manipulating our world into one to suite themselves. He lived in a world where many people believed in the mysterious land of the Hollow Earth with access at the poles when holes would appear large enough to swallow up entire ships. His was a world full of mystery and wonder and Charles Fortean discoveries of things unknown to us but real on some plane of existence here on Earth. These were the lines of reality from which he drew his fantastical vision of the Earth we live on and the stars that haunt our skies.

You want to know what a Lovecraftian story is, that is your answer. It is the real world, the world of wonder and imagination and natural energies., not this concrete shell of death, pestilence and artificial nutrition. A world you, and I can visit. Just follow the sounds of the Wendigo, the light of the will-o-wisp traverse through the misty moors surrounding the town of Drossligoth, and beyond to the city of Zadnikur.

John (aka, the "Creature")

No comments:


Blog Archive


Google Analytics