Friday, August 29, 2014

About Robert E. Howard

The Phoenix on the Sword

"Know, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars - Nemedia, Ophir, Brythunia, Hyberborea, Zamora with its dark-haired women and towers of spider-haunted mystery, Zingara with its chivalry, Koth that bordered on the pastoral lands of Shem, Stygia with its shadow-guarded tombs, Hyrkania whose riders wore steel and silk and gold. But the proudest kingdom of the world was Aquilonia, reigning supreme in the dreaming west."

As I've written here, Robert E. Howard is my favorite writer, of all time.  He wrote Fantasy, Horror, Adventure, Westerns,  and Boxing stories, perhaps more.  He lived in a time when those genres were considered lower forms of writing, and were often called Pulps.  Pulp is a term that refers to the cheap type of paper used for their publication.  Times have changed, and there is more respect for genres, but Pulp isn't a bad collective term, but it fell out of fashion, along with use of the format of using pulp style paper.

Robert E. Howard (January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936) lived on this earth 30 years only, ending his life, tragically, when learning that his mother went into a coma that she was unlikely to return from.  He couldn't face life without her, apparently and chose to end his life.

He typed this passage from a poem to accompany his passing.

"All fled, all done, so lift me on the pyre;
The feast is over and the lamps expire."

Taken from the poem "The House Of C├Žsar" by Viola Garvin

Queen of the Black Coast

"He shrugged his shoulders. "I have known many gods. He who denies them is as blind as he who trusts them too deeply. I seek not beyond death. It may be the blackness averred by the Nemedian skeptics, or Crom's realm of ice and cloud, or the snowy plains and vaulted halls of the Nordheimer's Valhalla. I know not, nor do I care. Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content."

ENJOY an assortment of great covers of the works of Robert E. Howard

Sunday, August 24, 2014


I am no longer interested in the act of lying to myself about my chance of succeeding in the world I live in.  

Yes I would like to sell many copies of all my books.  Yes I'd like to be considered a new Edgar Allen Poe.  I write poetry in every genre.  I write prose fiction.  I write essays about popular culture.  And no one is interested in my views.  To succeed in this world would require me to change who I am.  After a lifetime of being myself at the cost of being popular, I have no choice but to remain true to my being. But now that I've had my epiphany, I have no belief that I will ever be successful.

Is this me complaining, yet again?  No.  I might have wondered why people, friends, family, colleagues, people who collect exactly what I produce, ignore it.  I've wondered why people who love my poetry blog have no interest in the books I have with my poetry in them.  Despite the number of visitors to my blog being high, relatively, I have little to no support from them.  I write for the purpose of expression.  I write to speak in public.  Not everyone succeeds who attempts to do so.  Not everyone who has talent is sanctioned by society with financial success. I do not blame anyone for their choices.  I am not owed a living by society because I have a voice.  Popularity does not equate talent or quality of work.  Popularity does allow those who do have talent to create great works.  Lack of popularity prevents those with talent, but no support, from creating as much as they could.

I do believe that my work is good.  But perhaps I receive the exact amount of support regarding sales, as I deserve. I have only my hope to keep me afloat.  Hope without fruition however burns inside. I get asked if I make money enough to survive as a poet.  No, I do not.  I have spent a lifetime writing, and it is the only thing that I am fulfilled by.  So I do not have any other choice.  I had at one time counted the number of jobs I've taken, and been paid to do.  The number of jobs that I have had and worked was over 30.  The number that made me feel fulfilled was just as a writer.  I am not going to suggest I was a good worker.  While I am not lazy I find mindless tasks to be unbearable.  I find being mocked at work for having been highly educated to be unbearable.  I do not look at uneducated people working the same job as me as being lower than me, but somehow in most every job I was called names, and taunted for not being similar to those I worked next to, in a plant, office, store...

So, I am sorry.  My wife deserves a husband who can do more than love her, care for her son, and do various jobs around the house.  I am a good father.  But I am not a provider, and never have been, regardless of societal, familial and gender based beliefs about the role of a male in a marriage/family.  I have failed to provide.  I do not provide. This is not a list of complaints, but an explanation.  A writer writes. From an early age I knew it was my life destiny to write.  But without success it feels like a curse, more than any blessing. I can't make myself succeed.  All I can do is continue, and hope for the financial compensation to happen.

Here is a collection of the book covers of the works I've have done, alone or with others.

I am always working on my next project.  Some of the projects involve other creative people.  But, whatever is surrounding me, whatever life is showering upon me, I am always working on my next work.  Some people think I am a fool to write instead of "work".  Strangely, I write for more hours per week than many people "work".  I consider my writing to provide a future legacy for my son, and his family.  If it doesn't pay now, that doesn't mean, it won't be of value, monetarily or otherwise, in the future.

If you are reading this and thinking that I am feeling sorry for myself you are wrong.  I am not.  I am feeling wounded by life, in many areas, and surely, I agree, I'd like to make more money.  But what I am feeling is a sense of determination to survive despite the lack of financial oxygen for me to exist.  I do this because I must.

I do not place myself in any position without knowing it, nor without considering the consequences of my actions.  For much of my life I have tried to fit in.  This has met with failure.  I do not fit in.  Life hurts.  I have three brain disorders that make fitting in almost impossible.  I do not blame my lack of success upon that, I do blame them for making my life much more difficult than I'd like.  But I am not in control of those things, and I have taken therapy and medicine to deal with them.  I can do no more regarding that.

I look forward to writing.  That is all I am able to do.  And that is a good thing.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

When I read Horror, here is who I read

Primarily Anne Rice, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Brian Lumley, and to some lesser extent some others, Robert E. Howard for other reasons, in addition to his fantasy, Robert W. Chambers and Stephen King for some of his works, less than the others.

I like the writing of Ms. Rice more than her subject matter.  Her use of locale and the quality characterizations make her a favorite for me. She writes horror mostly, but, I've enjoyed her non-horror work as well.

The extent that I appreciate Brian Lumley's writing is very great.  But, I should say, I prefer his works in the world of the Cthulhu Mythos.  His own world of Necroscope is well written, but, I am especially fond of his works that show the same arcane horror that Lovecraft created, looked at through the eyes of a different actor.  Lumley is creative with the worlds he has us visit, and the themes are quite powerful.  On more than one occasion I placed the book down for the night due to an unsettling feeling from his words.

Since grade school I've been in the spell of Edgar Allan Poe.  Amongst other reasons, he wrote about worlds that were askew from the world he knew, and treated them with honor and care.  His poetry is great, although some denigrate it.  And I love his short stories, so new to the conscious of the readers, at the time, he was not nearly as successful as one might have expected.  The City in the Sea, which combines science fiction, gothic horror and poetry together is my favorite work, yes, more so than The Raven.

I think of the authors who work primarily in horror, Lovecraft is my favorite, for his writing alone.  While I've written in previous articles that I believe HPL to be a racist, his writing and subject matter were very much right in my taste range.  I am uncomfortable about the man's beliefs, but his work is why I am willing to read it and overlook those beliefs.   And, with his marriage of the existence of beings from distant universes and the human response to massive power by forming cults and worshipers of the beings, but as deities, I think he created a modern work that is particularly powerful even today.
This is a short entry because I do not know much about the author.  What I do know is that he was able to scare the crap out of me, and his work seems to hold promise for more.

Robert E. Howard is and will always be my favorite author.  In terms of writing horror stories his style worked well, and combined action and fear for the reader.  He mostly wrote sword and sorcery, which can be considered an off-shoot of fantasy, itself being a part of the world of speculative fiction.  I am fortunate to have read most of his published works, and I'd go to lengths to read more. 
I respect the writing of Stephen King but his work isn't my favorite.  So I have to say when his work is given special illustrations, such as in Cycle of the Werewolf with illustrations by Bernie Wrightson I am far more interested.  However, it isn't a case of not having tried, nor is it that I definitely dislike his work.  I like it.  I just probably don't love it.