It's a lovely, soft rainy day. I slept well enough - still having trouble accepting that I do need to go to bed at night. Having responsibilities sucks. I want to stay up all night reading and let someone else handle the mornings. Lately it's felt like all the thoughts are happening in my brain all at once and it's hard to focus on just one to get it out.
I received Down Among The Sticks And Bones on Friday, and I'm so excited. Every Heart A Doorway is... everything. DAtSaB doesn't have to be everything, it just being is enough. But I'm putting off reading it a bit, because I want to clean out my brain some. I also found my misplaced copy of Steering The Craft, which is one of those truly great books on writing. Which is... I've hit this point, where a lot of writing advice just isn't helpful. I may not have gone anywhere career-wise, but in writing theory it feels like I'm well beyond that entry level journeyman advice. So things like Steering the Craft, Get To Work Hurley, Wonderbook, and the occasional twitter thread are precious. You know now that I write that I see how it times in - how the need for more higher level craft insights has driven me to meta, lore, and analysis. The ruthless breaking down of stories, laser focused cause and effect. And let me tell you, Dark Souls and it's relatives are a GOLDMINE for that. I could speculate that it had something to do with how we have to dig for basically ALL the story in the Souls games, but nah.
So yeah, it goes like this: long form Dark Souls lore/analysis videos are great to play to fall asleep - yo Bloodborne is just as good/even better! - ongoing Themes of cosmic horror in my life(if Cthulhu himself arose out of the lake I'd be like 'sure fine it's just another Tuesday around here') - tumblr memes - oh hey this one book is really awesome(EVERYONE READ WINTER TIDE OKAY?!) - I kinda want to write in this vein - ...might as well read Lovecraft now.
I haven't actually, not in any focused way, and I've just been in that mood for awhile so why not? His stuff is fairly short and readable surprisingly. I think there might be a lesson in there, about about how his mythos as he wrote it wasn't that well suited to longer forms, as well as how to craft short stories. And I mean, he was so good at harnessing readers' imaginations that his works seem so much more then they actually are? (Hardly anyone talks about the craft aspect, which is interesting. And well, standard disclaimer here about how he was an actual trainwreck, but that's not what I'm here for today.) (I read something recently about how he encouraged others to take his mythos and run? There are conflicting reports, but I am Intrigued.)
The thing about actually reading Lovecraft's stories is while I am aware that the narrative is pushing me to be repulsed, disgusted, etc, what I actually feel for the characters is sympathy. To use The Dunwich Horror as an example, since it's the freshest in my mind - I can't find it in myself to be unsettled by a disabled woman and her eccentric farmer father? or the woman's heavily autistic-coded son? Ultimately the 'spooky/scary other' falls completely flat for me, doing so so much as to upset the entire tea cart of the story. It's a bit of a quirk of the writing style, that the bigotry can be attributed wholly to the narrator(something that is not helped, confusingly enough, by the Wilbur being a self insert. wtf lovecraft.)
The result of ignoring the narrator's opinions is it then reads as a tragedy of the complications of raising half-human children, and of not fitting the social mold. Our only solid source of for the Whateleys' motivations is the questionable translations of a child's diary. Looking at it that way makes monsters of the stuffy old white men of academia that we're being fed as the heroes. It's kind of amazing that it can so easily be read that way, and explains some of the longevity of Lovecraft's mythos. It's an interesting exercise in itself to view the story through both the lens of the author, and on its own. Death of the author and all that.
I'm not sure if I got out all my thoughts about this. It's taken a long time to write this entry, due to my brain just being a bad brain in general. I feel like my knowledge and understanding of this whole subject is much less sophisticated then it could be. Here is a link to The Dunwich Horror
, in case one might want to read it for themselves.
Addendum: thoughts on the Call of Cthulhu. My audiobook tells me that I've been pronouncing R'lyeh wrong this entire time(audio, btw, is an excellent format for these stories.) My original above thoughts stand, about perspective and how Lovecraft's stories are like prisms, and you can get something totally different with how you turn it. It was a bit amusing that it seemed like he was deliberately padding for wordcount by repeating plot points over and over again, and I got the impression that he didn't really know meanings of all of the big words he used - I wonder how many readers do? "an angle which was acute, but behaved as if it were obtuse." is still objectively hilarious.
Sort of confluence of all this is a story idea, something I'm pondering for an attempt at July's Camp Nano. It's definitely more of a gothic story, the cosmic horror stuff got mushed in there because *gestures upwards* I don't brain good in the summer though, and camp nanos have never gone well for me, on top of potential business, so we'll see if it happens.
8tracks playlist of the week - sounds nice in stormy weather
and "It was so dark that it was even hard to hear"