In the writing room right now ...

In the writing room right now ... I have taken down the brown "butcher" paper that held ideas, photos, drawings, and my hand-drawn maps and plot outlines for the past five or six books. I've placed all those items into three-ring binders, and cleared the deck for paintings and photographs that involve courage, as I move forward in GHOSTKEEPER, the new novel set in Lyndonville, Vermont. My 1850 Vermont adventure THE LONG SHADOW is under contract with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you a publication date as soon as I know! Scribbling lots of poems, too. And there's a possible route to publication of the "Vermont Nancy Drew" novel I built on Wattpad (see right-hand column). Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Vermont Halloween-Season Connection


Pumpkins are sprouting on doorsteps, silhouettes of witches dance in the breeze, and kids are intently trying on and reconsidering costumes -- it's almost Halloween.

For those attached to Vermont's history, it's also almost November 3: 89 years since the great flood that devastated so many of Vermont's roads, bridges, and homes in 1927. The flood damage lived well beyond the normal lifetime of such disasters, as it took root in the fertile imagination of a writer named Howard Phillips (H.P.) Lovecraft.  Lovecraft first visited the Green Mountains in 1928 at the invitation of his friend Vrest Orton, a prominent publisher and businessman (and founder of the Vermont Country Store).

To H.P. Lovecraft, Vermont was a wild place -- lovely, yes, but also with the potential for the dark, the frightening, the weird. He carried the scary side of his mixed impressions into his writing, creating a story called "The Whisperer in Darkness." We would now call the tale "speculative fiction" but for many years it was simply seen as horror: the genesis, in fact, of today's best horror writing.

Lovecraft's long career included many more brilliant stories, and he also served on the board of a "little literary magazine" of the period called Driftwind, where the publisher and editor in chief was Walter P. Coates of North Montpelier, Vermont. Issues of Driftwind that include Lovecraft's own writing, mostly poems, are treasured highly.

A collector of Lovecraft writings and related documents is allowing me to display today's images of the front and back of a postcard sent by Lovecraft to Coates, an amazing item that portrays the working relationship of the two men. Many thanks for the permission to show these.

[Transcription: Still on the move! Visited a week in North Wilbraham, + am now bound for the Mohawk Trail. I mean to see something of the country before I die! YrobtServt (Your obedient Servant) HPL] [Postmark date appears to be Oct 7 1928; the Mohawk Trail is a major road across northwestern Massachusetts.]

And if you have a Lovecraft reflection of your own, please share it in a comment on this piece.