Sunday, December 14, 2014

Reflections from a former diva......




These days I rarely have ye energy for drag--but there was a time, before I became a car owner, when I did my Boy George drag every day, when each day began with a morning ritual of makeup before heading off for work.  I was lucky indeed to find employment at restaurants that allowed me to dress in drag on the job, beginning with Cyclops Cafe.  Working at Cyclops changed my life in more ways than I cou'd have imagined.  It became one real link to the Seattle music scene, and that was important because as I grew older I went to less and less shows.  It was because I worked at Cyclops that I got to know members of my two favorite local bands, Nirvana and Soundgarden.  It was while I worked at Cyclops that I returned to the Mormon Church, and they allow'd me to celebrate my return with a photo exhibit, Mormon Fag, featuring brilliant giant-size photos of me in various drag shots taken by David Balisle.  One of the things I really miss, now, in my hermitage, is being an active part of the Seattle music scene.  Nothing felt more like home than being at a live gig--although one of the last times I went to a punk show I had to waddle out of the pit and take one of my nitroglycerin pills, as being knocked about by all of yem young thangs had a bit of an effect on my congestive heart failure.  I am so lacking in energy these days, and because I almost never do any socializing, I have started to toss out a lot of my drag.  I had a bunch of stuff in a plastic bag, ready to take out to the garbage can--but then I had a panic attack at the idea of tossing out my Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte lipstick, & had to retrieve it.  

It was great fun being a queer punk exhibitionist when I was riding public transport and walking downtown looking fabulous-ridiculous.  Part of it was being punk-rock confrontational, using my look and lifestyle to flip ye finger at societal decorum.  But here was the weird thing.  Outrageous as I looked, my personality was that of a very shy introvert.  I was always being picked on when I was a kid, by my parents for being such a weird sissy boy (my transvestite nature began when I was around five or six and used to play house with the neighborhood girls--and I always insisted on wearing a party dress just as they did), by kids at school because I was such a nerdy geek.  I was always being shoved into lockers or having my school books knocked out of my hold.  Being so tormented as a kid made me want to hide from the world, and so I took refuge in a passion for horror films.  Famous Monsters of Filmland was my gateway to wonder and happiness.  My love for monsters led me to my first job, where I was hired to dress up as a vampire and advertise the Jones' Fantastic Museum at the Seattle Center.  This was, naturally, the beginning of my love of exhibitionism, of dressing up and causing a scene in public.  It was only natural that, eventually, punk rock wou'd prove an inescapable lure.  

Growing old and having a car changed everything.  I seldom dress up, except when I do my videos on YouTube, or go out to social events with S. T. Joshi and our local weird fiction gang.  But sometimes, when I watch old videos of Boy George and see him looking especially outrageous, as in ye video above, my heart thumps with drag queen ecstasy and exhibitionist longing, and I find myself wanting to paint my face elaborately and go shopping.  It makes no sense, of course--there is no reasonable justification for exhibitionism.  It's just fun.  And, as Quentin Crisp once wrote, "Exhibitionism is a drug--you get hooked."  It's funny, sometimes in public, when people come up and want to know the "meaning" of my look.  I can only tell them, there is no meaning, I just need my transvestite fix.  Sometimes the reaction is hostile, like the businessman who asked me, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  I replied, "Growing up is being who you want to be," to which he scowled.  

I wish I had more contact with the local drag queen scene, but being so anti-social, I simply never go out to local shows or gigs where queens hang out.  Being a queen is an essential part of my nature, and one that I adore.  It has always been a major part of my being since I was a wee kid.  It will remain so as I approach, more assuredly, geezerdom.


hanging with my favourite local queen, Jackie Hell.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Up-tight Outtasight

(ye blogger as a young Esquimau)

"Speaking of poetical reviewers--I have not yet recovered from the shock the newspaper gave me last night!  At the First Baptist Church in this city, on Friday evening, there occurred the annual ceremony of the award of the 'Spingarn Medal,' which is given to that member of the negro race who achieves the most notable success in 'any field of elevated or honourable human endeavour' during the year.  At these impresses exercises, Gov. Beeckman of Rhode Island gracefully awarded the badge of African supremacy to the Boston poet, critic, & literary editor--William Stanley Braithwaite!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Think of it--chew upon it--let it sink into your astonished & outraged consciousness--the great Transcript dictator, the little czar of the Poetry Review, is a nigger--a low-born, mongrel, semi-ape!--Ye gods--I gasp--I can say no more!  Aid me, ye benign elves & daemons of anticlimax!  So this--this--is the fellow who hath held the destinies of nascent Miltons in his sooty hand; this the sage who hath set the seal of his approval on vers libre & amylowellism--a miserable mulatto!  To think of the years I have taken this nigger seriously, reading his critical dicta as though he were a Bostonian & a white man!  I could kick myself!  William's picture is printed in the Bulletin beside the news item, & from the likeness given I can deduce no visible sign of his black blood.  A heavy mustache droops down over what may be thick negroid lips.  But after all--I suppose he has only a slight taint of the beast.  No nigger blacker than a quadroon would be likely to attain the intellectual level he has undoubtably reached.  I am not minimising what the fellow knows, but I think it monstrous bad taste for the Transcript to foist a black upon its literary readers!"  --H. P. Lovecraft to Rheinhart Kleiner, May 5, 1918.  Great Yuggoth!  How dare this creature pose as being as intelligent and accomplish'd as a real human being!  My gawd, I can't even tell by looking at him that he isn't fully human!  Such deception!  

The above letter bewilders me.  And it makes me wonder--if I had been Lovecraft's pal by correspondence, and we got along really well, & then he saw that photo, above, of me when I was a wee kid & cou'd see that I, too, am tainted by ye blood of ye non-white beast (my particular beast being Jewish and Native American), wou'd he have reacted the same way to me?  And if so, then why ye fuck do I continue to write book after book in homage to this pathetic uptight fool?

Because, bitches, I adore the freak.  I continue to insist that Lovecraft's racism, ugly as it is, is eclipsed by everything that was wonderful about him, as a human and as an artist.  The racism is indeed sickening--it is why I had to get rid of my copy of one volume of Lovecraft's correspondence, Letters from New York (Night Shade Books, 2005)--those letters to his aunts, who, like his mother, encouraged and applauded HPL's racism (it was for their amusement that Lovecraft wrote that awful poem) turned my stomach.  My reaction was, and still is, one of utter bewilderment:  how could a man who was otherwise so intelligent be such a damn moron?  How cou'd, in writing ye letter above, Lovecraft not see that a man's race means nothing when accounting for intelligence, poetic sensibility, &c &c.  Lovecraft's Jewish friends and wife were applauded because they were able to cast off their ethnic stain and behave as real men and women--as whites.  Yet this is part of Lovecraft's dismay regarding Braithwaite--his blackness was not evident, in facial features or intellectual ability.  Hey, that shou'd have told ye something, H. P. Dumbfuck.  Damn sneaky of that Brother, to pass hisself off as human.  "...for, though in deceitfully slight proportion, Marceline was a negress."  Damn deceitful darkies.

E'ch-Pi-El also abhor'd sissy queens, so he wou'd have been doubly grossed-out by me.  Yet--still--I adore him.  My adoration began when I return'd home from my mission and began to collect Arkham House books, and I order'd ye first three volumes of Lovecraft's Selected Letters.  The personality reveal'd in those letters, for the most part, captivated & delighted me.  I was utterly charm'd, to ye point where I began, in my personal correspondence, to ape the eccentricities found in Lovecraft's letters.  I began to date my letters 1783, wou'd begin them (even to much older professional writers) "My dear youngster," and wou'd do things like spelling "would" "wou'd".  Those Lovecraftian affectations taint me to this day.

The man's bigotry has indeed affected what I write.  I deliberately have more black characters in my fiction as a reaction to Lovecraft's racism, and more women characters as a result of his (less obvious, perhaps) misogyny.  My fiction is, at times, queer-up-ye-arse, in celebration of my nelly transvestite soul.  I am not certain if the concentration on the supernatural in my weird writing is a reaction to ye lack of supernaturalism in Lovecraft's tales.  Too, I am far more concern'd with character than Lovecraft was--although I insist that his characters are perfect for their purpose in Lovecraft's story-telling.

Yet, with my fiction too, I revere Lovecraft as an artist.  Gawd, how I love to read his Work, again & again.  I get so excited when a fine new edition of Lovecraft's tales is publish'd.  The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft is a thing of pure eldritch bliss for this old duck.  His excellent fiction, & the work it hath inspir'd by mine own humble pen, is my pure font of happiness.  I have found such excellent friends in the Lovecraftian community.  I have found the meaning to my life.  

Shalom.



Sunday, December 7, 2014

December


I do not celebrate holidays, but used to love them as a kid.  My annual holiday event now is going to S. T. Joshi's choral group concerts.  Been feeling very ill of late, and I wasn't planning on attending last night's concert; but I like to support S. T. in every way that I can, so I attended the first half and sat with his wife, Mary.  The music was gloriously beautiful, but I just couldn't get comfortable and left after the first half.

Haven't been able to write at all, such a boring situation.  One reason I love writing is because I love the grace and beauty of language, and I love how I can express myself with words.  I try'd for two months to write a story for S. T.'s forthcoming anthology, Gothic Lovecraft, but every idea I had never got beyond two pages and always seemed so lifeless.  I've tried to behave in a professional manner and force the writing--but that always produces false art, which I abhor.  I have so many ideas I want to work on, especially a book of weird fiction inspired by Wilde and another inspired by Clark Ashton Smith; but I cannot get to work on either.  I've decided that writing a novel with Jeffrey Thomas concerning our Enoch Coffin is something I cannot accomplish, so Jeff and I have agreed to work on another collection of stories, each writing 40,000.  I have a feeling the book will be a long time in coming.  I usually snap out of these funks and suddenly find myself writing as of old, furiously and happily; but this funk feels different from all others.

I have lots of stuff forthcoming.  My new chapbook, These Black Winged Ones, has just been publish'd.  An Enoch Coffin story has been selected for a reprint anthology.  I will have new tales in volumes 4 and 5 of S. T.'s Black Wings series, and the story I co-wrote with Jessica for Black Wings III will soon be reprinted when Titan Books brings that book out in paperback (as Black Wings of Cthulhu III).  PS Publishing will soon release The Starry Wisdom Library, for which I wrote a wee thing about a Sesqua Valley grimoire.  PS will also soon release Darrell Schweitzer's book of historical Cthulhu Mythos stories, That Is Not Dead, for which I wrote a story concerning the great Seattle fire of 1889.  And I have written "The Imps of Innsmouth" for Lois Gresh's book for PS Publishing, Innsmouth Nightmares.  I may have things for other anthologies that escape my mind.  I wrote a new thing some months ago for a forthcoming mythos anthology, no word yet from ye editor.  And, of course, there is ye new collection with David Barker, Spectres of Lovecraftian Horror, for which Dave and I have written two substantial new novelettes; and next summer, in time for NecronomiCon 2015 in Providence, Hippocampus Press will publish Monstrous Aftermath--& ye book will not only include the full 40,000 word revision/rewrite of Some Unknown Gulf of Night, but will conclude with the entire of Lovecraft's Fungi from Yuggoth, so that ye may compare Lovecraft's original sonnets with my prose-poem "take" on them..

Dang, that's a lot of stuff!  Maybe I really do deserve a long break from work.  I have become deeply intrigued with Mormon history and scripture study, and have returned to the study of Jewish scripture as well as the Book of Mormon.  I am studying the latter in its Penguin Classics edition, which reprints Joseph Smith's original 1830 version.  Out of boredom, I have even started a new blog, Mormon Journal, in which to discuss religious mania (not wanting to bore ye with it here).  My new blog has no followers as of yet, but what ye hell...???

Oh yeah, sometime within ye next fortnight Chris from Dark Regions Press will be driving down from Portland with two boxes of the deluxe slipcased edition of World War Cthulhu for me to sign.  I love the illustration (pictured here) for my story therein, "To Hold ye White Husk."  I hope to talk Chris into doing a YouTube vlog with me during which we will shew ye book.

And, of course, I will have critical essays in four of the six volumes of ye Lovecraft Illustrated series being published by PS Publishing.  Volume four will be The Shadow out of Time, for which I have written a wee essay, and for which S. T. has written a new Introduction.  I will also have essays for the volumes The Call of Cthulhu, The Colour out of Space, and The Whisperer in Darkness.  Dang, I have been a productive wee Lovecraftian!  Ia! Ia!!