mental health

Sunday with Lovecraft

Spending too much time dwelling on my past is having adverse effects on my depression. I still wanted to write something for this experiment. I think it will be beneficial to have a track record of my thought patterns. Maybe if I do it long enough, I’ll learn something new. I am going to try to give my brain a Sunday rest and focus on less depressing thoughts.

“The most merciful thing in the world is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.” — H.P. Lovecraft

I totally get that. I have always stipulated ignorance is bliss. It doesn’t sound as refined that way, but it’s a personal motto nonetheless. I’ve never read any Lovecraft before last night. I think he’s a brilliant man with a beautiful mind, but he was phoning it in on most of the stories I read.

Some of his stories are shorter than my blog posts. Sure, he is arguably the better writer, but I can’t help the genius in my head goes AWOL when I try to communicate.

I own every Stephen King book, and he quotes Lovecraft all the time. Looking back, I can see I set an unreasonably high standard for Lovecraft’s work simply because King is a fan.

When I first heard of the Necronomicon, I knew I had to have it. I found explanations of Lovecraft’s work to be a touch confusing and chalked it up to well that’s how things were back then. I got myself a copy of his complete works to be safe. I wanted every word of that weird shit at my fingertips.

I excitedly searched for the actual Necronomicon. I wanted to read them all, but I wanted to see what kind of creepy stuff he put in the actual book first.

I really have to be in the right headspace to read older books. The old-timey language requires more concentration than I am use to exerting during downtime. If there was anyone worthy of such effort aside from Poe himself, it has to be Lovecraft. Right?

Wrong! Let me tell you about Mr Lovecraft’s History of the Necronomicon, which is the only story with Necronomicon in the title. It’s maybe three pages long. Much of those three pages contain repetitive statements, and all it did was make me want to read the actual book (that doesn’t exist) more.

I was upset, but still couldn’t sleep. I remembered, “King was a fan,” and decided I owed the guy another chance. I flipped to a random short story. I believe I can relay the entirety of that story here easily.

Picture a large ship sailing the sea back in the days of pirates. A man finds a bottle with a note in it. The note is a treasure map. The captain sails to follow the instructions given.

His crew digs up the treasure chest. Everyone is super excited.

Inside the treasure chest is another note stating: “Got you! It was just a joke, but I feel bad. Here are some more instructions on how to find the money I really buried to cover the expenses of anyone who was fooled. Ta.”

The kicker? This stuff was so polite back then, they really did get the money in the next box. It was just enough to cover the costs of the expedition.

I’m sorry, but that is not horror. That isn’t even suspense. I struggle to call it a story. To have those two pages published, I can only assume he wrote everything else, but was two pages short of the required minimum.

I imagine he must have been arguing with his editor. Telling him, “Yes, I know it’s a little short, but what’s two pages.”

Then the editor is like “It’s two pages we have to have, you knew that H. If you don’t bring me two more, we can’t do anything with this.”

But, of course, you can’t treat an artist that way. So Lovecraft grabs a piece of paper and hands it over like, “Alright old chap, here is a short story. I call it Little Glass Bottle.”

Either that’s exactly how it happened, or there was some magazine begging him to write something, but he didn’t like them very much. So he’s like “Fine, take this and leave me alone.”

I was ready to give up on him entirely when a familiar title caught my eye. The Call of Cthulhu is a title I’ve heard often. Books-a-Million has Cthulhu swag coming out of their asses so it’s hard not to recognize the name.

Here’s the one.

It seems to be of a more respectable length for a Short Story. After reading the first few pages my hopes are rising again. If I enjoy the story I see there are more I can read involving Cthulhu. I also see a few other stories contain mentions of the Necronomicon.

This is a fun one! How did we survive before Google images?

I am going to use this Sunday to fully explore the world Lovecraft created. I hope to be pleasantly surprised after I have read the stories to completion. If not, I will be back on horror podcasts for the foreseeable future. Wish me luck imaginary peeps, you guys are my rock.

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