Sunday, September 2, 2012

Autumn Days

Lord: it is time. The huge summer has gone by.
Now overlap the sundials with your shadows,
and on the meadows let the wind go free.  

-- Rainer Maria Rilke, "Autumn Day" (trans. Stephen Mitchell)

September 2nd. Three weeks remain before the autumn equinox, but the winds are soft and dry and faintly scented. Across the river from Bellows Falls, the trees on Fall Mountain are beginning to blanch and yellow, turning sere as the nights cool and lengthen. 

This past summer has been as “huge” as any I can remember, a span of months characterized by near-suffocating levels of heat and humidity. Work has kept us busy at the Inn, but we’ve also found time to make short trips to Burlington and Maine. Last month, my wife and I took a full three days and drove down to the old port of Marblehead, Massachusetts—or “Kingsport, Rhode Island,” as Lovecraft christened it—where we stayed at a B&B in the heart of the historic district.

I’ve wanted to visit Marblehead since I was a teenager. When I was fourteen and fifteen, I used to stay up late reading Lovecraft’s work in those old Ballantine paperbacks—which for all of their garishness, I can’t help but remember fondly. At that early age, stories like “The Festival” and “The Strange High House in the Mist” instilled in me an almost palpable longing for Lovecraft's New England. 

And Marblehead itself did not disappoint. While we there, we spent the best part of two days walking the narrow streets of the Old Town and seaport. Old Burial Hill—established in 1638 and famous for its elaborate gravestone art—proved a definite highlight of the trip, and I found myself stunned into silence again and again by the beauty and strangeness of the old gravestones.

Last week, Jason Rolfe was kind enough to interview me for his (excellent) Bibliomancy blog. Here you can read some of my thoughts on landscape, repression, ghost stories, and the role of the sublime in the literature of the weird. While you’re there, be sure and check out Jason’s recent interview with Daniel Corrick, the proprietor of newcomer Hieroglyphic Press.

Hieroglyphic recently released the first issue of its Sacrum Regnum journal, which eschews “the dregs of the 21st Century” literature in favor of “the High and the Holy, the Sacred, the Rare.” Sacrum Regnum I contains work by some of the genre’s finest writers, and I’m honored to have two of my poems included therein alongside fiction and poetry by Mark Samuels & Brendan Connell, among others. My poem “The Minister’s Last Sermon” provides a fairly concise summary of my views on Calvinism. 

Likewise I was just terrifically pleased to hear that my short story “The Wayside Voices” will appear this fall in the UK’s Black Static magazine. Around this same time, I was thrilled to learn that my tale “The Other Boy” had been accepted to Shadows & Tall Trees. Black Static, of course, requires no introduction, but if you’re not reading Shadows & Tall Trees, then you’re missing out on some of the very best horror fiction being written today. 

Speaking of which: A Season in Carcosa, an anthology of original fiction inspired by RW Chambers’ The King in Yellow is due to be released imminently by Miskatonic River Press. It can be pre-ordered here. With Joe Pulver at the helm—and a list of contributors that includes Richard Gavin, Simon Strantzas, John Langan, and Laird Barron, among many others—this is sure to be one of the finest releases of the year. My short story “MS Found in a Chicago Hotel Room” appears inside.

Finally: be sure and watch for Mighty in Sorrow, an anthology in tribute to the music of Current 93 edited by Jordan Krall. The anthology is due out next year and will include my story “Whistler’s Gore,” a brief story-in-epitaphs that derives its primary thematic inspiration from Current 93’s masterful “Patripassian.”

There are a couple of other projects on the horizon, but I think I'll leave this for now. I can hear the cries of the geese and imagine the wind in distant corn fields. As Rilke writes: "Lord: it is time."

1 comment:

  1. I recently read The Strange High House in the Mist -- Reread? Opening a Lovecraft anthology is like recalling dreams. It's all so familiar and alien at the same time.

    At any rate, more than any other story in the collection, Strange High House made me wish I could go for a ramble through the lanes and forests of Lovecraft Country. What people find there is rarely safe, but the landscape itself is of a bygone day I wish I could visit.