greygirlbeast: (Default)
[personal profile] greygirlbeast
Overcast and dreary here in Providence.

Another very good writing day yesterday. I did 1,670 words on The Drowning Girl. Keeping this book's voice on course is a matter of always having to remind myself that I'm writing a book by a schizophrenic, not a book about a schizophrenic. At any rate, the Word Bank grows.

Nothing spectacular about yesterday. It was just a decent day, and those are always welcome. We lit the fireplace for the first time this year. There was a problem with the oven not lightning, but the repair guy came and fixed it. Spooky made corn muffins to go with the second night of chicken and andouille stew. Lately, I love days strewn with mundane events.

---

Before anyone else gets this wrong, I need to clarify the matter about Rhode Island electing its first independent governor. Lincoln D. Chafee is not a Libertarian, sensu the Libertarian Party. He is a civil libertarian, but that's another thing altogether. I would imagine he's many of the things Libertarians hate. For instance, he opposes eliminating the federal estate tax and, on November 17, 2005, was the only Republican to vote in favor of reinstating the top federal income tax rate of 39.6% on upper-income payers. Moreover, I am not a Libertarian. Moreover, I detest the Libertarian Party and have since college. Were I to categorize myself politically, I'd probably say I'm a far-left leaning Democrat. So, hope we're all clear on that now.

---

I've been playing lots of City of Heroes and Villains lately. Too much really, which is what happens when I'm having too much fun. I'm not so much crazy about the game part of the game, which I find clunky and unnecessarily tedious. What I love is the huge pool of actual roleplayers who know how to, you know, roleplay. But there is one thing that's begun to wear on me, and it came up again last night, for about the umpteenth time (LJ can spell "umpteenth," but not "LJ"?). When I created my character, I wrote some very particular Lovecraftian stuff into her background. What I did not realize was how much CoX players rely on the "Call of Cthlhu" rpg for their understanding of Lovecraft, rather than relying on Lovecraft's actual writing.

The problem with this is that the rpg is drawn from the "Mythos" invented by August Derleth, and not from HPL. Yes, Derleth likely saved Lovecraft from oblivion, but in the process he managed to mangle the basic Cosmicism if HPL's work. I'm not going into all the whys and wherefores right now, though I'm thinking of devoting a post to it later on. I would refer people to Richard L. Tierney's essay, "The Derleth Mythos," only it's pretty much impossible to find****. I'd refer people to S.T. Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos, only few people are going to take the time to read what is, essentially, an entire book on the problem of what Lovecraft actually wrote vs. how Derleth rewrote Lovecraft, and how it's the revisionist stuff that has embedded itself so deeply in pop culture (including the "Call of Cthulhu" rpg).

But no, you cannot ward off Nyarlathotep with an elder sign, any more than you can fend off a cometary impact with a Hostess Twinkie. No, elder signs are not like Raid to the Old Ones. No, the Lovecraft Mythos (as opposed to Derleth's "Cthulhu Mythos") is not a battle between "good" and "evil," which is, to quote Derleth, "basically similar" to the Christian Mythos. No, the "Elder Gods" (mostly invented by Derleth and successors) are not powers of "good" at war with the "evil" Great Old Ones. And so on, and so forth.

Mostly, it's becoming clear to me (and Joshi points this out in the aforementioned book) that many who utilize various elements from Lovecraft's writing have never actually read Lovecraft. They've come by his "gods" and various entities and elements and fictional texts secondhand, via such wrongheaded sources as "The Call of Cthulhu" rpg or writers who followed Derleth (such as, ugh, Brian Lumley). Now, I can be very naive, I admit, and this comes as a shock to me. And I will not rp pseudo-Lovecraft. It squicks me out. But I love CoX, and pseudo-Lovecraft is everywhere...so...I don't know. Maybe I'll just drop all the HPL elements from Erzsébetta's backstory and steer clear of the silly stuff.

I don't want to be off-putting to other players, almost all of whom I've enjoyed rping with, but also can't, in good conscience, as a writer, Lovecraft devotee and HPL scholar, take part in the propagation of the bastardized ideas I've spent so much energy trying to dispel.

I imagine maybe five people who read this blog will give a give a rat's ass about all this. I just had to vent.

---

Anyhow, donuts and all...

**** My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] jreynolds for pointing out that Tierney's essay is, in fact, online, so it's not hard to find, and you may read it if you so desire.

Date: 2010-11-04 05:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jreynolds.livejournal.com
Out of curiosity, is this the Tierney essay you meant?

http://www.epberglund.com/RGttCM/nightscapes/NS04/hplnf3.htm



Date: 2010-11-04 05:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Actually...it is. Thank you for finding that! I should've have Googled.

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Date: 2010-11-04 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] david lemoine (from livejournal.com)
I always felt bad Lincoln Chafee got the shaft in the 2006 elections. He was a great civil servant, and got tossed out just because there was an "R" next to his name. I'm glad he's found a way back into politics.

PS. I have no idea why I have such issues with Facebook accepting friend requests and then screwing it up in my news feeds. I think I have it figured out, at the moment I had to unfriend you, I'll probably get around to sending another invite tonight when I get home from work.

Date: 2010-11-04 05:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

PS. I have no idea why I have such issues with Facebook accepting friend requests and then screwing it up in my news feeds. I think I have it figured out, at the moment I had to unfriend you, I'll probably get around to sending another invite tonight when I get home from work.

I've noticed that something odd's going on.

Date: 2010-11-04 05:21 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sovay
Keeping this book's voice on course is a matter of always having to remind myself that I'm writing a book by a schizophrenic, not a book about a schizophrenic. At any rate, the Word Bank grows.

I am looking forward to this book.

(And I finally slept more than two hours, so I have the minimum of brain with which to interact. Hey.)

Date: 2010-11-04 05:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

(And I finally slept more than two hours, so I have the minimum of brain with which to interact. Hey.)

Kudos on sleep. And yes, interact. I'm hoping we can get together soon, though November is looking awful. I begin to fear I'll be unable to leave the house for a month.

Date: 2010-11-04 05:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laudre.livejournal.com
Ah, yes, Brian Lumley. The books I stopped reading (or taking remotely seriously) when Titus Crow met Cthulhu's good twin and his beautiful daughter clad in the highest of 1973 fashions.

Date: 2010-11-04 05:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Ah, yes, Brian Lumley. The books I stopped reading (or taking remotely seriously) when Titus Crow met Cthulhu's good twin and his beautiful daughter clad in the highest of 1973 fashions.

I'm not even going to get started.

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I'm Feeling Particularly Thick Today.

Date: 2010-11-04 05:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cucumberseed.livejournal.com
I imagine maybe five people who read this blog will give a give a rat's ass about all this.

As it specifically relates to CoX?

Ah, no. I see. As someone who came to know Lovecraft through Call of Cthulhu the RPG first, the stories themselves second and is only now making anything like a study of Lovecraft and his work (guided largely by the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast)I'm only just getting the picture of what Derleth did to the corpus while he was doing for it.

Re: I'm Feeling Particularly Thick Today.

Date: 2010-11-04 05:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

As someone who came to know Lovecraft through Call of Cthulhu the RPG first, the stories themselves second and is only now making anything like a study of Lovecraft and his work (guided largely by the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast)I'm only just getting the picture of what Derleth did to the corpus while he was doing for it.

It is so pervasive, and unless you really stop to read Lovecraft, and contrast and compare...you wind up with this skewed idea of the "Mythos."

Count me as one of the 5!

Date: 2010-11-04 05:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darkarmadillo.livejournal.com
Even as a rather uninitiated teen, I could tell that there was a serious drop off in the Derleth/HPL 'collaborations' and found myself getting bored with the whole Mythos genre anytime I tried to plow through too many of them. As I read more about the whole phenomenon, it became clear why that happened. The 'Cthulhu Mythos' stories are all fundamentally weaker because there is always the hope (and usually the reality) that good will somehow come in and save the day. The original Lovecraft stories can be generalized as having the same conclusion (Cthulhu doesn't take over; the stars never really do end up being quite right; etc), but it's because of some freak accident, not because of some opposing force. Nothing saves nobody.

The latter will always be more terrifying/rewarding to me.

Re: Count me as one of the 5!

Date: 2010-11-04 05:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Nothing saves nobody.

You just did a marvelous job of summing up Lovecraft, in three words. I may quote you repeatedly.

Re: Count me as one of the 5!

From: [identity profile] darkarmadillo.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-11-04 06:00 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: Count me as one of the 5!

From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-11-04 06:07 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: Count me as one of the 5!

From: [identity profile] whiskeychick.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-11-04 06:37 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2010-11-04 05:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] poesillchild.livejournal.com
Thanks for the title knod to Godzilla. It made my weary self smile.

Date: 2010-11-04 05:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Thanks for the title knod to Godzilla.

You're welcome.

Date: 2010-11-04 05:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thebacchanal.livejournal.com
Although this is completely unrelated to your entry, I thought I would make you aware of the new Decemberist's song "Down by the Water" which you can download for free from the band's website. I repeat: for FREE.

Date: 2010-11-04 05:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Although this is completely unrelated to your entry, I thought I would make you aware of the new Decemberist's song "Down by the Water" which you can download for free from the band's website. I repeat: for FREE.

I was unaware of this. Thank you!

A rats ass and a link for you.

Date: 2010-11-04 06:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moto-chagatai.livejournal.com
I give a rats ass about the bastardization of HPL's Mythos. So, 1 of 5 I guess.

And I thought this book (links to pictures on the website) might be interesting or usefull to you.. http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-03684-7.html

Re: A rats ass and a link for you.

Date: 2010-11-04 06:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I give a rats ass about the bastardization of HPL's Mythos. So, 1 of 5 I guess.

It's beginning to look as if more people who read this blog care than I would have thought, which is cool.

And I thought this book (links to pictures on the website) might be interesting or usefull to you..

That looks rather awesome. Thanks!

Date: 2010-11-04 06:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kurtmulgrew.livejournal.com
Our state just got it's first female governor. And she is part Indian too. Too bad she is a republican.

Date: 2010-11-04 06:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Our state just got it's first female governor. And she is part Indian too. Too bad she is a republican.

That's just...sad.

Date: 2010-11-04 06:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashlyme.livejournal.com
Count me in as one of the (more than) five! I didn't read Lovecraft for *years* - hacks like Lumley put me off. Fortunately, I've managed to blot out Titus Crowe...

Am I being a heretic if I admit my favourite HPL is The Colour Out of Space?

Date: 2010-11-04 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com


Am I being a heretic if I admit my favourite HPL is The Colour Out of Space?


Absolutely not. Why would you be? It's one of his very best stories?

Date: 2010-11-04 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fornikate.livejournal.com
I'm one of the five, haha

Date: 2010-11-04 06:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I'm one of the five, haha

I think the five must be up to twenty, by now.

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Date: 2010-11-04 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neutralgenius.livejournal.com
I'm not going into all the whys and wherefores right now, though I'm thinking of devoting a post to it later on

I'd be very interested in reading that.

Date: 2010-11-04 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I'd be very interested in reading that.

I'll see if I can find the patience and the time to write it.

Date: 2010-11-04 07:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashlyme.livejournal.com
I know a lot of people who came into Lovecraft through rpgs (and that's *not* a diss) who've not heard of Colour, or The Music of Erich Zann. I urge them to read those stories. Colour parallels the Mythos ideas anyway, I guess. Scared the crap out of me when I first read it.

Date: 2010-11-04 07:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I know a lot of people who came into Lovecraft through rpgs (and that's *not* a diss) who've not heard of Colour, or The Music of Erich Zann. I urge them to read those stories. Colour parallels the Mythos ideas anyway, I guess. Scared the crap out of me when I first read it.

A good Lovecraft story need not invoke moldering text or alien god things. "The Colour Out of Space" is Lovecraft breaking free of many of his shortcomings and writing splendid science fiction.

Being one of the five...

Date: 2010-11-04 07:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stsisyphus.livejournal.com
(Hey, we're like Cylons)

I tried writing a response and it got really long. Should I post here or in my journal or send you an email? I don't want to have to spam up your LJ, but you did sorta say that I could...

Re: Being one of the five...

Date: 2010-11-04 07:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Should I post here or in my journal or send you an email? I don't want to have to spam up your LJ, but you did sorta say that I could...

I did. Post it here.

Are you going to point out how the Derleth Mythos is more amenable to roleplaying than the "nobody saves nothing" scenarios presented by genuinely Lovecraftian fiction? I've been waiting for that objection...

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Date: 2010-11-04 07:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whiskeychick.livejournal.com
As a sidenote, my small circle of HPL -- i guess devotees is the best word since we can't claim scholars (yet) -- any time someone does something misguided we call it pulling a "Lumley." Thought you might get a kick out of that.

Date: 2010-11-04 07:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

As a sidenote, my small circle of HPL -- i guess devotees is the best word since we can't claim scholars (yet) -- any time someone does something misguided we call it pulling a "Lumley." Thought you might get a kick out of that.

Hah! Yes...though I'd say pulling a Derleth, getting back to the root of the problem.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2010-11-04 08:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I am no expert and never played the CoC rpg (just loved HPL writing) but Derleth (and Lumley) just had this really tacky way of trying to do every story with a BOO! GOTCHA! style and no idea of the things that made HPL great and frightening.

Plus tiresome moralizing.

. . .

Date: 2010-11-04 10:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] d-quintessa.livejournal.com
I had to see what the issue was with Lumley, I'd never read any of his stuff. Lucky me it turns out. What he appears to do to Lovecraft isn't even derivative, it's just drivel.

The term 'Cthulu Mythos' really wasn't around when I read HPL, but with the onslaught of Ballatine books at the time reissuing everything from Bramah and MacDonald to the pulp writers from the 1920's more people had more to say. Including 'mythos'.

Lovecraft was refreshingly bleak during a time of 'peace love and flowers', and that no one got out alive or sane was quite an improvement.

Date: 2010-11-04 10:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] queen-bellatrix.livejournal.com
I had no idea that there were such distinct differences between what HPL actually wrote and what is perceived to be the HPL mythos. I'm enough of a lit geek that discrepancies like this fascinate me, and I definitely intend to check out the book and essay you mentioned. If you ever feel like making a post outlining your thoughts on the subject, I'd be extremely interested to read.

Date: 2010-11-05 12:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] birgitriddle.livejournal.com
I'd refer people to S.T. Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos, only few people are going to take the time to read what is, essentially, an entire book on the problem of what Lovecraft actually wrote vs. how Derleth rewrote Lovecraft, and how it's the revisionist stuff that has embedded itself so deeply in pop culture (including the "Call of Cthulhu" rpg).

This actually sounds interesting to read because I have been becoming greatly confused when reading Lovecraft's actual stories verses "common knowledge" of his stuff because it doesn't seem to exactly add up. I've never played the RPG, so not familiar with it, so I would find it interesting what exactly the differences are and such.

Then again, I read history books for pleasure reading.

Lumley

Date: 2010-11-05 02:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foolishsage.blogspot.com (from livejournal.com)
I absolutely love HPL so obviously I despise Brian Lumley. It should be noted that his awful Necroscope series also rips off HPL but that's not the point. The point is that Lumley was at Horrorfind Weekend once while I was there. After I was finished seeing everything I wanted to see I took my poor impulse control over to Lumley's area where the following occurred:

Me (loudly): "Brian Lumley!"

*lots of people turn and look*

Me (still quite loud): "You're a fucking hack with not one original thought in your tiny head and you should be glad Lovecraft never had children because they'd probably be suing your sorry ass!"

Than I decided to show myself out before anyone else could.

Anyway, I've been with you since Silk was shiny and new and try like hell to make everyone I know read you. I thought it was high time I thanked you for all the wonderful things your books have done to my brain, so...thank you.

Date: 2010-11-05 01:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] papersteven.livejournal.com
"Lovecraft turned the whole universe into a haunted house, so to speak, linking the findings of modern science to the flavor of Gothic horror... But Lovecraft's followers have never pursued this line of development."

Until, of course, the "spiritual granddaughter" of HPL.

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