Offbeat 28 August 2015
I almost forgot the anniversary of HP Lovecraft’s birthday on 20 August. I suppose it has to be called an anniversary because he is dead now, and somehow a birthday for a dead person seems wrong, almost like pretending that the person is alive, and maybe baking a cake.
A post from a fan page alerted me to the anniversary, so I dutifully hauled out my Lovecraft meme, an old photo with a birthday hat stuck on it, and posted it on Facebook.
HP Lovecraft is not remembered well now. He was quite popular a few years ago when the craze for independent publishing bloomed, and every single horror writer out there wanted to stick his or her finger in the Lovecraft pie, writing a Lovecraft-styled story being the mark of a horror writer’s arrival.
Nowadays, everyone remembers his villain Cthulhu, a fictional demonic being that inspired Captain Davey Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, the one with the tentacles on his face. During some or other US campaign race, ‘Cthulhu for President’ memes started showing up. In return for whatever vote was available, Cthulhu promised to wipe out all the iniquities on earth by destroying humanity. I am sure you can understand why the meme caught on like wildfire, and has been used in connection with so many elections ever since.
As for HP Lovecraft, he invented most of the horror genre, and a large part of science fiction and fantasy. And even Steven King uses Lovecraft’s devices from time to time. I chose to remember Lovecraft, even though there wasn’t much hype or sense of camaraderie on my wall, because he has filled my mind with challenging metaphysical ideas, particularly the dark literary philosophy of cosmicism, and a lot of shuddery thrills involving horrifying things from other dimensions. That is the sort of thing I am happy to pay homage to by putting a brightly coloured party hat on a black and white photo of a dead writer.
Days like the 20th of August come few and far between for me. A couple of weeks ago there was International Beer Day. That is celebrated on the first Friday of August. I posted something motivational about that, because none of the local brewers took note of it. I also registered International Black Cat day, because I rather like cats, and black cats seem to have a poor reputation in the adoption standings.
I also remember International Women’s Day this year, but maybe because of the feminist criticism that women should be respected all year round, not just on one day of the year. That seems valid, even if I am programmed to open doors for them, and let them go first, much to their disgust.
The Women’s Day thing makes me think the most. I initially wanted to say something about the fact that memory should be preserved within memory, and that if a memory, or an event, becomes emotionally irrelevant, then it should be allowed to die out. But using the memory of Lovecraft, I find use in the reminder of what he has contributed. Remembering the concepts of cosmicism set me off on a chain of thought that led me to the current conceptions of the Abrahamic version of God, the spiritually barren and naive concept of light without dark to define it, and onwards towards Halloween which is the 31st of October (save the date).
Memory is fleeting. Placing prompts to remember on life’s timeline actually makes a lot of sense, except probably for feminists.
The question of the value of prompting memories is solved for me. Now I have to solve the question of which prompts to save and how. Christmas, Easter and Saint Valentine’s Day are no brainersz, awash as they are in greedy commercialism.
Halloween is spiritual. Lovecraft is a reminder of callow gods, insignificance and humility. I should add Saint Anthony, the Patron Saint of lost things to that. Missing keys always arouse my religious fervour.
I can’t think of much else to add. Except perhaps the first Friday in August. That seems to be important as well.