Friday, October 28, 2011

All Hallows' Eve 2011: A Look Back, and a Look in the Mirror - Finding Light in The Dark

'Tis the Season for Family, both Addams and Grau
As anyone who doesn't still paint the walls with their own fecal matter could surmise, All Hallows' Eve is extraordinarily important to us here at The Cosmicomicon.  In fact, it was just a little over a year ago that I first cracked this minty fresh tome of empty, eager pages, tapped my quill into the electronic ink well, and set off on my bloggish journey as the creator and (current) caretaker of The Cosmicomicon.

It's been one HELL of a year, in all the cuddly and sometimes grueling connotations associated with the word.  But as we again hover just above the specters of the season, The Cosmicomicon and my career as a writer of dark fantasy, horror, and cosmic weirdness have never been stronger, both being hailed and well received all over the globe.  I didn't know it at the time of founding this living and ever-mutating document, but The Cosmicomicon has grown larger than just my own personal dumping ground for inane musings, cool shit, and career happenings.  It's become a HAPPENING itself.  And I owe all of this to you, dear readers, writers, and overall supporters.  I couldn't - and wouldn't - do it without you.  The feedback has been amazing, both published and private.  I'm humbled and proud to be the captain of this interdimensional voyage, and am thankful for all of my crew, including the stellar array of guest bloggers and commentators who have put their hard work and talents into this endeavor.  Cheers to all of you beautiful bastards.

Turning my head from behind toward the mirror in front, we find a Trio of Weirdlings, captured in our near-natural habitat in the image above.  That picture has truly become more than just three assholes mugging in our makeup.  It has become a visual representation of who we are as individuals, and as a family.  Us inhabitants of Grau Haus have truly EMBRACED the dark and the gothic, the monstrous.  For us, it's not a celebration of anything negative or dreary, or even "evil".  We're happier and goofier and more positive than your average bears.  That pictures is an expression of who we are and what we love. 

Basically, we find what could be described as "the dark" incredibly cool.  It brings us comfort, and sparks our imaginations.  It makes us smile, and talk, and create amazing things deep into the wee hours, fueled by this passion born of shadowed places and things that should not be.  It's what we do. 

Indeed, when Ives spends three entire months prepping for a Halloween party, designing and hand painting/adorning/hanging three miles of chic decor when not tracking down bizarre animals skulls, preserved bats, vintage apothecary jars, and industrial bags of webbing, in between banging out pages for her latest horror short story, you know this is no passing fancy. 

When my seven year old daughter takes it upon herself to create a birthday card for H.P. Lovecraft, brings home drawings every single day of strange, hybrid creatures with names and complete backstories, and has focused all of her little girl obsession toward Monster High, you know that it's real.

We're a house devoted to The Dark.  There's no other way around it. 

For a writer of speculative fiction, nothing makes me happier than this organic leap in the direction we've all leaned for so long (including Angelina, who's first non-cartoon crush was on Ron Pearlman's Hellboy when she was just barely three... She'd literally blush when he'd appear on screen).

So, that brings us back up to the present, back to my comfortable chair at The Cosmicomicon and All Hallows' (mentally place the apostrophe wherever it feels the most comfortable) Eve 2011.  This year, the sands in the hourglass are escaping like quicksilver, and writing deadlines loom darker and more foreboding than any lurker at the threshold, so the countdown to Samhain hasn't been as structured, nor as daily, as original intended.  But, we will do our best to celebrate as much as we can the season and the reason behind the shrieks and howls, the moans and the growls.  We also celebrate my choice to not pursue poetry as a serious endeavor, as evidenced by the preceding sentence.
Let's kick off our truncated All Hallows' Eve 2011 jubilee with a pictorial array from our recent Addams Family photo shoot, taken in Grau Haus by the dashing photog and classic horrorhead Trever Swearingen, who is another tentacle in our every growing family of Dwellers in The Dark...

The inspiration:  Angelina IS Wednesday
When Ivy swoons, so does the rest of the world

Little Brothers Forever, recently described as "The Lovecraftian Power Couple"
Incredulous, of beauty so creamy and dangerous
It's a dance, a waltz, these steps we take

Trever, in action.  Me, inert.
Photog and creative director/makeup artist/model entranced by how handsome I am.
L.A. sass, dropping deuces like only she can, cuz...
... my Morticia was raised on Hollywood Boulevard, before it became Disneyland.
It's Friday.  It's nearly Halloween.  Find your best, truest mirror and see what sort of wonderful shadows are cast across your face.  What looks back at you when you truly See yourself, without fear of retribution or damnation.

Loving the dark isn't bad.  The dark can provide shade, a place to rest, a chance to dream.  Things grow in the dark.  You can, too.
Peering into your soul with my One Good Eye

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Cosmicomicon Exclusive: Sneak Peak at the Grau Haus Addams Family Photo Shoot

We here at The Cosmicomicon - headquartered in the vine-ensconced confines of the Grau Haus Compound hovering ten feet above terra firma on the less hoody cusp of NorEastern L.A. - take All Hallows Eve VERY seriously.  Indeed, we live it every single day, and the blessed month of October is our time to let down our proverbial hair - and beard - and howl at the goddamn moon.

This year, in our neverending attempt to out-do the last, we decided to stop denying the obvious and fully become the Addams Family in earnest for a photoshoot tomorrow, snapped by our very dear friend, elegant horror connoisseur and ace photographer, Trever Swearingen. The family photo will serve as the invitation for our upcoming Grau Haus Halloween Party 2011, which promises to be an epic event, combining the chic and the horrific, if my Ives has anything to say about it.

So, in order to bring my end of the shoot to life as Gomez Addams, a sacrifice had to be made.
Kinda like that, but more beardy and toward the face and neck and chops
No, not a virginal maiden, as I love my daughter too much, and have had too many "Parent meetings in the bedroom" with my wife Ives for her to qualify.

It was the beard.  The goddman beard.  My "deep thought" stroking tool.  The tiny tribute to my Viking heritage.  A weak sauce homage to Bearding worldwide (with a genetic bias toward the creative Germans, Elder Gods bless 'em).

The become Gozmez, even for a day, the beard had to go.  My daughter actually wept when she saw me, sans-facial rug.  That hurt.  But, the life of artistic horror is all about hurt and tears - and sacrifice - so this bold and callous move had to be done.  It'll grow back.  I just hope my little girl's new mental scab will do the same.  The poor thing couldn't even look at me.  Chalk it up to bad parenting in the pursuit of the ideal Halloween greeting card.  Some day she'll look back and thank me.  At least I hope.  But for now, I wish I had access to this savvy salesman.

In light of the above preamble, this is how the destabilizing event went down, which of course included a bit of facial hair shenanigans in the Grau Haus Green Dali Bathroom:
I've been begging my girl for a long while to let me rock some Biker chops, but she's always said no. Judging from the huge smile on her face in this photo, I'd say there's a pretty good chance they'll be making an appearance in the very near future.
Ives calls this "The Hetfield."
I am The Naked Face Now.  All for horror's sake... Strangers glare, small children weep...  What WON'T we do in service to the Beautiful Dark?  Apparently, not much.

Look for another sneak peak, possibly tomorrow, depending on the tides, the winds, and the vagaries of photography on a Saturday night...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Transmission" Gets Some Love from Two 'Craftian Giants

As any regular reader of The Cosmicomicon knows by now, my story "Transmission" was published in the acclaimed anthology Dead But Dreaming 2 from Miskatonic River Press.  That's the news already in circulation.

What's more recent is the reception "Transmission" has received, which has honestly blown me away and humbled me in identical measure.  As I've shared on various platforms and shouted conversations, "Transmission" was the very first short story I ever penned since I dashed off some overly long and breathless heroic fantasy tale in my Honors English class my senior year of high school (which received an "A+++" and a note from my teacher encouraging me to pursuing prose writing, which I promptly ignored as I focused instead on God awful psychedelic poetry, music journalism, a humor/satire column, and finally a Lost Decade of screenwriting).

Since the release of Dead But Dreaming 2, friends, peers, and reviewers have responded favorably to "Transmission", which has lately included some of the biggest names in Lovecraftiana, most notably HPL scholar, critic, editor, and High Priest S. T. Joshi, as well as the Eldritch Queen of Lovecraftian Horror W.H. Pugmire.

Just today, a hastily scrawled note was slipped under my electronic door, containing a forthcoming review of "Transmission" (and I assume Dead But Dreaming 2) by none other than Mr. Joshi himself, who wrote:

"T. E. Grau’s 'Transmission' effectively utilises the remoteness of the parched Southwest to evoke horror—a horror that comes from the chilling and potentially cataclysmic messages heard on a radio transmission." - S. T. Joshi
Impressing Joshi, even in the slightest, is a major accomplishment, as not only is he the Kingpin of Lovecraftian academia and critique, but he's also a notoriously tough editor and discriminating reader, known far and wide for his strong opinions on the state of modern Lovecraftian fiction, and the quality of the many, many books he has compiled.  That he even noticed my story is a coup.  Drawing a positive mention is a feat I would never have dared contemplate.
Weeks prior, W.H. Pugmire, arguably the most acclaimed and sought-after pure Lovecraftian scribe working today, posted a review of Dead But Dreaming 2 at the site, which included this lovely note about "Transmission":
"It astonishes me that 'Transmission' is T. E. Grau's first published story. He is off to a brilliant beginning. He has been working for a decade as a screenwriter in Hollywood, but that is a very different kind of writing than the short story form. This is one of the creepiest stories in the book, superbly told." - W.H. Pugmire

It might seem crass to share reviews of one's own story, but I really couldn't keep my yapper shut about this.  I'm so incredibly thankful, and feel blessed and lucky (or blessedly lucky) to have received such a warm reception for my writing, especially coming from two Cyclopean Big Wigs such as S. T. Joshi and W.H. Pugmire.  They're the swirling yin and yang of the HPL Omniverse, and I somehow managed to please both of them.  Oneness has been achieved.
The positive cosmic hum continues, and I'm lulled to contentment by the song it plays.  Thanks to ALL who have read and supported my work, and continue to do so, as more of my stories leak out into the candlelight.  I'm indebted beyond words.  It's the juice that makes the squeeze totally worthwhile.