Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Nativity That Reshaped The Universe - Happy Birthday, Howard Phillips Lovecraft

Artwork courtesy of Marc Simonetti*

"I never ask a man what his business is, as it never interests me.  What I ask him about are his thoughts and dreams."  - H.P. Lovecraft

August 20th is the birthday of one Howard Phillips Lovecraft, who is, for my pasty pound of flesh, the greatest horror writer who ever breathed.

His writing and themes weren't without precedent, but his distillation and expansion on the Weird works of those who came before him is staggering.  Call him the Quentin Tarantino of horror fiction - sponging up his myriad, groundbreaking influences, binding them at a subatomic level, and wringing out a totally new solution onto the parched, thirsty land, creating a new level of extraordinary, innovative creativity that dwarfs those who proceeded him. 

I wouldn't be writing prose at this very second if it wasn't for H.P. Lovecraft.  While that backstory has been told before, trust that it's the fierce, fearless imagination combined with the generous gesturing of sharing his boundless universe and Mythos that took me by the hand and led me down the Path I Was Supposed To Travel.  For that, I'll always be grateful and indebted to the odd, complicated Gentleman of Providence.

I and my Weird writing peers are all Children of Lovecraft, but we will never outdo our Father.  And that's fine, as sometimes the children shouldn't outshine the parent, especially when that Family Fountainhead changed the very fiber of thought, curving reality into a new, terrible, vastly interesting shape (of a decidedly non-Euclidean origin).

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lovecraft.  You truly changed the world, the known (and unknown) universe, and all of us scuttling insects crawling and dreaming across the great, strange plains of reality.  These last 121 years would have been been far more hollow and uninteresting without you.

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind if fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."
* (Find Marc Simonetti's AMAZING work here)

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