The beast

Hermit's Cove

The beast lies awake,

a shambling cage her home.

“I shall take back my throne,

for although they forsake,

I will always remember

I was left here alone.

No one will survive,

even if they surrender.

No time to forgive

dead souls that gave hope”

She eloped with our fate,

she stole our pride while she talked about love.

Treacherous dove of great guile,

insidious curse, deadly allure.

She thrives in the bleak light, so grim,

crimson steed waits her return.

It shall be her turn, once again,

to bleed the land, and proclaim:

“I am the cure!”

Her time now draws near,

to ride once more the storm.

Scorn towards men is her power,

life is her fear,

her dread of the ivory tower,

which she will at last destroy.

A queen among men,

mortal enemy of joy.

They whisper, “what a sin”

to remember her name:

that is…

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The forest

Hermit's Cove

I

“To my unknown reader:

During the almost thirty years I have been alive, there has not been a single interest of mine that others shared or even appreciated. Ever since I was a little boy, such things as a job, a wife to marry, a house, appeared as tedious and alien to my nature. In the same manner, those activities in which regular people spend so much energy and time have never been a priority or even a goal to me. Paintings were the sole concern in my personal world, albeit not the “regular” paintings. I lived for the darkest, most macabre delusions to have been cast upon a canvas I could find. Many a year I spent attempting to replicate “Saturn Devouring His Son“, as well as “The Garden of Earthly Delights“.

This obviously led to me being shunned by the other kids; but…

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3 Random Books from My Shelves

  1. Neil Gaiman – Fragile ThingsgaimanI’m not really sure what to say, as I would imagine most people who visit Examining the Odd have read some or all of Gaiman’s work! Since this book is a collection of short stories (and wonders!), I decided to randomly choose one of the pieces too. The chosen piece was The Fairy Reel, one of the “wonders”, since it is a poem rather than a short story. I’ve heard people liken this poem to a Keats ballad.

 

So plaintive and so wild and strange that all who heard it danced along

And sang and whirled and sank and trod and skipped and slipped and reeled and rolled

Until, with eyes as bright as coals, they’d crumble into wheels of gold…

I’d love to know which Gaiman piece is your favourite, from Fragile Things or elsewhere. People often say he’s hit or miss for them, but he’s all hit for me.

2. George Orwell – Nineteen Eighty-Four1379095168358.cached Ah, the number one dystopian novel.

1984 is set in Oceania, which includes the United Kingdom, where the story is set, known as Airstrip One. Winston Smith is a middle-aged, unhealthy character, based loosely on Orwell’s own frail body, an underling of the ruling oligarchy, The Party. The Party has taken early 20th century totalitarianism to new depths, with each person subjected to 24 hour surveillance, where people’s very thoughts are controlled to ensure purity of the oligarchical system in place… But Winston believes there is another way… “He who controls the past, controls the future” is a Party slogan to live by and it gives Winston his job, but Winston cannot see it like that.Online Literature

It made me laugh that this book was randomly chosen right now (I live in the UK).

The conditions of government repression, censorship, and mass surveillance Orwell foresaw have seemed imminent, if not fully realized, in the decades following the novel’s 1948 publication, though the adjective “Orwellian” and many of the novel’s coinages have suffered a good deal through overuse and misapplication. Just as the first radio play of 1984 warned of a “disturbing broadcast,” this 1965 version begins, “The following play is not suitable for those of a nervous disposition.” Open Culture (hear the play in full)

Behind Winston’s back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously.

3. Ann Leckie – Ancillary Justice9780316246620_custom-1b8a3367be3348eb1c36a41bd0e8c2563decdbfa-s99-c85

A space opera that skillfully handles both choruses and arias, Ancillary Justice is an absorbing thousand-year history, a poignant personal journey, and a welcome addition to the genre. – NPR

Justice of Toren is one being who gets caught up in political crossfire and finds herself reduced to a fragment of what she was: a lone human body, limited and alone. The first part of the book alternates between present and past, plunging the reader into the story and slowly providing the background. This is not a book you should try to skim.Jim C. Hines

Here it was, the moment I had worked toward for twenty years. Waited for. Feared would never come.

This book is actually from my to read pile, so I can’t give you my own opinion yet! I’m really looking forward to it though – I love books that span a huge amount of time.

Look at those Doodles with their Funny Little Stories

Here are some more of my doodles with their funny little stories…

jay18

The ghost is happy, not worrying about anything – it tries to help the living but does not worry about the outcome – it is only a soul and a spirit. A person screams at the sight of the ghost and self-medicates.

jay8

Sylvia made the journey from the flaming sea of plastic eyeballs, through the labyrinth of warm water and love, to her home: a hut in a tree, surrounded by life, with God above and soap raining down. But sylvia felt trapped and restricted, catching her tears to give to no one in particular, until death comes to smash them out of their bottle. 2014

Send a postcard to an art loving friend, from the RA Summer Exhibition 2016 selection.

Look at those Doodles with their Funny Little Stories

Here are some more of my drawings with their strange stories!

jay28

A needle in a haystack can be easy to find if it has a thread. A heart needs to be extracted.

jay6

2015. Locked away fears fuel grief, drowning and cleansing all to enable them to rescue one another.

jay17

A representation of my relationship with Mike (Russell). The two shapes on the left are Mike’s legs, the ones on the right are mine. 2013

jay26

A man is drunk and dreaming on a wagon that drifts eternally on the sea – a bat hangs from the moon. 2014

Buy Micheal Duke’s Bird on a Wire print, from the RA Summer Exhibition 2016.

A Letter to Clark Ashton Smith from H. P. Lovecraft

Future Lovecraft

I’m in a Lovecraft mood, currently re-reading the stunning The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, so here’s one of his letters to Clark Ashton Smith.

Letter to Clark Ashton Smith,
27 November 1927
By H. P. Lovecraft
Novr. 27
Dear C A S:—
               I received both your letter & the Overland with a great deal of pleasure. I don’t yet know whether or not the latter is to be returned—if it is, I can assure you that the copy remains safe & secure awaiting instructions. Sterling certainly proves his worth & fascination by the multitude of tributes he continues to evoke—nearly all of them graceful, but your own standing out, to my mind, as especially apt & distinguished. I told you last year that your misgivings regarding its merit were wholly unwarranted. The portrait of Sterling surely has the atmosphere of authenticity—not many poets are graced with such an appropriate & classical physiognomy.
     Your Verlaine translation seems to me marvellously fresh, graceful, & delicate, & I trust you will follow it with others from the same source. I don’t know of any good English version of Verlaine—that, as well as an English Baudelaire, would form a task well worthy of your spare moments. The French verses, in their amended versions, are now doubtless up to the full standard of Galpininan accuracy—I’ll show them to Galpin the next time I get in touch with him, & shall meanwhile be glad to see the others. I’ve come across a real Frenchman through correspondence lately—a bright young native of Southern France named Jean Reçois, who now resides in New York & has aspirations toward fantastic authorship in English. I shall show him your French poetry shortly—& meanwhile you may hear from him, since I’ve given him your address.
     You certainly ought to have a new volume by this time, & I cannot be too emphatic in advising you to get in touch with W. Paul Cook about it. That is just the sort of thing he is interested in at present—publishing small volumes of unusual merit & unique distinction—& I am certain he would be willing to assume the financial risk, as he did in the case of Loveman’s “Hermaphrodite”. He is very reasonable about this detail—if the author is able to bear the risk, well & good; but if not, he will do so himself. It is only in this way that he can ever publish my “Shunned House”, as he keeps threatening to do. Open up correspondence with him on the subject—I am really avid to see something of yours published in a manner befitting its merit, a thing so far true only of your “Star Treader” & “Odes & Sonnets”. Cook can turn out a really fine job when he tries—& I would guarantee to help with the proofreading myself. I suppose you are aware that he is now printing a book for Wandrei—of which I expect to see page-proofs very shortly.
     Dwyer was as enthusiastic as all the rest concerning your pictures, as he has probably informed you directly ere now. Like me, he bitterly regrets his financial inability to invest in some of them—especially the black & white “Dreamland” illustrations, which also exercised a powerful imaginative influence over me. He has now sent them on to Long & the gang in N.Y., & I suppose Loveman will see that they reach the eye of De Casseres. You might drop him a line asking him not to overlook De C. or the Miss Turner you mention—or I’ll do so myself, to save time. Now my curiosity is sharpened by that fresh sheet tacked to your drawing-board. May I behold it ere long, made blasphemous by the visions of daemoniac genius!
     I thought you’d find The Recluse rather enjoyable, & hope that later issues will maintain the same standard. Your prose-poem, as the first contribution to be accepted, forms a favourable augury. By the way—a correspondent tells me that a new professional weird magazine has just been established—Tales of Magic & Mystery, edited by Walter Gibson, 931 Drexel Bldg., Philadelphia Pa.—& I’ve sent in a batch of the stuff rejected by Wright. You might try them with some poems or sketches—or “The Abominations of Yondo”—& see what your luck is; though I don’t know anything about the magazine, or even whether it is a present or future proposition.
     I’m not surprised that you’re discovering your indebtedness to the Auburn landscape, for sooner or later we all learn that our thoughts & impressions are basically reflections of what we have picked up visually & by long association at one time or another. I emphasised that point in the conclusion of one of those probably-never-to-be-typed novelettes which I ground out last winter. It’s all right to travel, but one needs the old familiar scenes to come home to! So far as I’m concerned, Providence with its mellow, ancient life & skyline of old roofs & Georgian steeples will last me amply well for the rest of my days. It’s the mould that shaped me—& the space I most naturally fit into. Our autumn, unlike yours, has been phenomenally & genially warm; giving me an opportunity for several rural excursions. The northern & western parts of the state felt something of the floods that hit N.E. early this month, but Providence was absolutely untouched.
     I have had no chance to produce new material this autumn, but have been classifying notes & synopses in preparation for some monstrous tales later on. In particular I have drawn up some data on the celebrated & unmentionable Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred! It seems that this shocking blasphemy was produced by a native of Sanaá, in Yemen, who flourished about 700 A.D. & made many mysterious pilgrimages to Babylon’s ruins, Memphis’s catacombs, & the devil-haunted & untrodden wastes of the great southern deserts of Arabia—the Roba el Khaliyeh, where he claimed to have found records of things other than mankind, & to have learnt the worship of Yog-Sothoth & Cthulhu. The book was a product of Abdul’s old age, which was spent in Damascus, & the original title was Al Azif—azif (cf. Henley’s notes to “Vathek”) being the name applied to those strange night noises (of insects) which the Arabs attribute to the howling of daemons. Alhazred died—or disappeared—under terrible circumstances in the year 738. In 950 Al Azif was translated into Greek by the Byzantine Theodorus Philetas under the title Necronomicon, & a century later it was burnt at the order of Michael, Patriarch of Constantinople. It was translated into Latin by Olaus in 1228, but placed on the “Index Expurgatorius” by Pope Gregory IX in 1232. The original Arabic was lost before Olaus’ time, & the last known Greek copy perished in Salem in 1692. The work was printed in the 15th, 16th, & 17th centuries, but few copies are extant. Wherever existing, it is carefully guarded for the sake of the world’s welfare & sanity. Once a man read through the copy in the library of Miskatonic University at Arkham—read it through & fled wild-eyed into the hills . . . . . . but that is another story!
     With best wishes from all the local afreets & djinns—
          Yr obt
               H P LP.S. Heard a lecture by Sir Rennell Rodd last Monday on survivals of classic myth in modern Greek folklore. I was quite astonished—it seems that satyrs, nymphs, the Fates, Charon, &c. are still believed in; & many of the old gods worshipped under thin saintly disguises. Much of the satyr folklore is of extreme weirdness—recalling Machen’s “little people”.