What Is It About H.P. Lovecraft? – Part 2

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NOTE: This is a follow-up to my previous article on H.P. Lovecraft

For a writer known to be reclusive, fearful and unsociable, H.P. Lovecraft has a remarkable ability to foster community.

I learned this irony well last year when I wrote a simple response to my first foray into Lovecraft, titled “What is it about H.P. Lovecraft?” Thanks to the Lovecraft community, and the Lovecraft eZine specifically, that little post exploded. I met legions of (more seasoned) inductees to Lovecraft fandom, all eager to share their experiences and perspectives, as well as discuss my observations about the curiously Aspergerian tendencies of Lovecraft’s writing—patterns comparable to ones I have noticed in my own writing and those of fellow scribes on the spectrum.

In truth, I was stunned the sheer size and force of the response. “Oh yes,” one correspondent chuckled. “Lovecraft fans are nothing if not passionate. You’ll never stumble upon another fandom like this one.”

Eventually, the flurry died down (as flurries usually do.) I went back to my ho-hum existence … and to more modest blog stats … for about a year.

Then this summer, a little note appeared in my inbox.

It was from fellow Aspie Lars Backstrom, of An Aspie’s Voyage. He was giving a paper on Lovecraft and Autism at NecronomiCon, he said. And would I mind if he cited my comments on Lovecraft and autism?

Nothing gives me more pleasure than to connect with others on the spectrum as we seek to understand and interpret our experience. This activity is, of course, made far more feasible (and comfortable) by the advent of tools like WordPress and email: the very tools that allowed Lars and me to connect over a mutual interest, without the social anxiety that Lovecraft himself must have dealt with daily in the world before computer-mediated communication.

A few months went by. I wished I could have been at NecronomiCon to hear it myself, but forces conspired in other directions. Thankfully, last week Lars kindly sent me a link to the culminating triumph of his research.

Today I’m pleased to share the results with you.

I hope you’ll take a few (well-spent) moments to enjoy the video [above] of his excellent and fascinating talk that points to deeper connections and metaphors between the lived experience of autism and Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos than I had ever pondered myself.

It’s amazing how one bit of writing can be woven into another. And another. And another. Together, they become so much deeper and richer than they were at the beginning.

Which is really what community is all about, isn’t it?

I’m honored to have been a tiny part of the collective that contributed to Lars’s thinking and research. And once again, it makes me smile to think that H.P. Lovecraft—who gave us a mythos as bewildering and inscrutable as the Aspie’s daily social experience—should have been the catalyst for such cherished moments of human connection.

Thank you, Lars. And thank you, Lovecraft.

Community is the antidote to fear.

3 thoughts on “What Is It About H.P. Lovecraft? – Part 2

    • Hmmmm. That’s a hard one. The Mountains of Madness is great. So is The Curious Case of Charles Dexter Ward (which is my personal favorite). It’s all really dark and creepy — and Lovecraft is known for his bigotry, which I take as an extension of his general fear of the world. (To me, only a person who had experienced such pervasive fear could write about fear so grippingly.) So you’ll run across a few eyebrow-raisers, as with many other writers. But that aside his writing is brilliant for its ethereal, environmental quality and its ability to chill you to the bone. Enjoy!

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  1. Pingback: A Big Thank You! | An Aspie's Voyage

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