Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Chicken or egg?

I can't see who the people are who read this blog, but I can find out - in some cases - what they were searching for originally. Top choices are the lyrics to Honey, the words to a verse that used to hang in my granny's bathroom, Please remember, don't forget, never leave the bathroom wet... and also, weird writing. I was surprised by this last one, until I googled it myself and found this blog came about 10th in a list of 4,550,000 references to weird writing. So, of course, I investigated further, which took me, wonderfully to the horror writer, H P Lovecraft. I'd expected his essay, Notes on Writing Weird Fiction to be too, well, weird for me, but I ended up inspired right from the beginning paragraph:
My reason for writing stories is to give myself the satisfaction of visualising more clearly and detailedly and stably the vague, elusive, fragmentary impressions of wonder, beauty, and adventurous expectancy which are conveyed to me by certain sights (scenic, architectural, atmospheric, etc.), ideas, occurrences, and images encountered in art and literature.
This idea of capturing an atmosphere, rather than a hard plot:
There are, I think, four distinct types of weird story; one expressing a mood or feeling, another expressing a pictorial conception, a third expressing a general situation, condition, legend or intellectual conception, and a fourth explaining a definite tableau or specific dramatic situation or climax. In another way, weird tales may be grouped into two rough categories - those in which the marvel or horror concerns some condition or phenomenon, and those in which it concerns some action of persons in connexion with a bizarre condition or phenomenon.
seems to be captured in Michel Houellebecq's biography, H P Lovecraft Against the World, Against Life, which has just arrived in one of those exciting Amazon cardboard parcels. It's described in an introduction by Stephen King as 'a kind of scholarly love letter, maybe even the world's first truly cerebral mash note,' and looks fascinating.

So I'm grateful to those searchers who have let me join in their internet trail, which I'm sure is going to take me to even weirder places in the best possible way. These trails are a bit like one of those conga party dances - we're all joining in at different stages and dropping out in different rooms too.

My writing prompt comes from Stephen King's introduction to the book above - he dreams of finding Lovecraft's pillow in a junk shop, and sleeping on it so thus absorbing all of the horror writer's nightmares. It's a story he never writes because:
"I paused too long to consider the drop and the possible consequences. Thus I was lost."
So without pausing, or considering, choose whose dreams you'd like to absorb and imagine sleeping on their pillow.

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