Friday, July 15, 2011

Author's Notes for SIN & ashes

Author’s Notes for SIN & ashes

[[[Remember, Pulver, you don’t like spoilers, so watch what you say here! !!]]]

Sit at desk – hope to hell WORDS show up………….. Tea ~ got to. Smokes ~rough & ready. Was there any doubt? ?? Thinkin’ cap on ~duh? I’ll try… Muse says, “Try hell, Worm.” [flashes whip! !!]

Book’s called SIN & ashes. Knew that before my first collection came out. 1st time the title flashed across mindspace I thought it would be a tale . . . but then I thought Blood Will Have Its Season is long, so go short w/ the next title. Did.

“Laird Barron’s FOREWORD”
S.T. asked about the foreword.
bEast: “Well, in you win the grand prize-land I’d have one by Laird.”
S.T.: “Why don’t you ask him?”
bEast: “I’d hate to bother him. Man’s a giant. You don’t bother the masters.”
But I did. And he did. [insert BIG YAYyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyY! !!] And I sailed over the moon! !! I mean c’mon folks, it’s LAIRD BARRON! !!
{When he emailed it to me I read it about 10 times in a row! You would have too! !!!!!!!!!! !}

“Love Her Madly”
Rock ‘n Roll heaven, nope & NO! !! Ain’t! More like Hell – extra damnation. Janis and Phil Ochs soaked in pain and tears, that, sure as shootin’, ain’t heaven . . . So Morrison would be there . . . BAM, that’s the tale. Jim comes back from the dead. I had one note for this tale – Morrison comes back from the dead. LA noir. WHY? ??
For all of 5 minutes this was going to be a novel

“She’s Waiting”
Just wanted to do FANGSsssssssssssssssssssssss! Sharp ones. Muse asked, “What REALLY hurts?” Typed . . .

“First There Is A Mountain…Then”
My note said there’s a man sitting on the edge of a bed in a cheap motel room. He’s been drinking . . . I hear Dave Alvin singin’ ‘bout they come and they go. And that was that. Just added some BLOOD.
[This one came out fast.]

“In The Desert Even the Air Burns”
Simple. I love the desert! !! It’s clean and the facts of life are stated right upfront. You see bleached bones you know what yer getting . . . I was listening to Dylan, thinking about the West [where the sun sets] and my friend Alanna [Mistress of the Yellow Chamber] and missing people [and places] . . . This is another one of my sitting alone at night just letting my mind drift texts . . . I never know where they are going . . . I leave that to the Muse.
[As a rule I’m never happy w/ my stuff. I kinda of like this one.]
[Imagine you have to wait 54 pages for Pulver to drop a King In Yellow tale on you . . . Yeah, weird things DO happen……….]

“Even Night”
A poem I wrote back when I was working on the 1st draft of Nightmare’s Disciple.

“Crow In Trick Town”
Another old thing I penned back when I was working on ND. Came to me as I listened to Jack Bruce. I’ve always wanted to look at Crow again . . . What else has he been up to?

“When the Deal Goes Down”
Everything is vampires and zombies these days, so I try to play w/ them from time to time. But I’m not a big fan so mine come out a little different . . . Puttered w/ the idea of a whole series of tExts w/ this character roamin’ ‘round FIXING things

“Devil’s Got the Walkin’ Blues”
Desert. Serial killer. Starting to be a theme in this collection… Cellars scare me, so a song on my playlist kicked this one into gear . . .

“Dead ’Round Here Tonight”
I don’t care for zombies – maybe once in a blue moon in b-movies. When I want Mindless Ones I turn to Dr. Strange. I love ghouls. Wanted one to like FRESH meat. Thought about shopping in a meat market…

“The Delirium of a Worm-Wizard”
Another 10 year old tExt. The darkangel, Michael Cisco used to come to Bob Price’s Kalem Klubs and always blew my mind w/ his FANTASTIC readings. I really wanted to up my game and try my hand at “Language” in this . . . I wrote part of this on the roadside [of the NYS Thruway] coming home from Bob’s after a KK… I read it at a KK and Cisco praised it. I was vEry happy!! !

“As the Sun Still Burns Away”
I read a screenplay by the director of the BRILLIANT[! !!] AM1200, David Prior, got me thinking . . . Another desert, another female lead, some whisper of la Llarona, dead babies . . . Cody Goodfellow says, “While everybody else in horror is still aping the shallow visual palette of cinema, Joe Pulver calls down a storm of psychotronic nightmares charged with the evocative depth and relentless pulse of the Devil's music. This isn't a book that wants to be a movie. This is a drug disguised as a book. ”, well, this is one of the few times I tried to think film…
Yes, for 10 minutes I thought this could be a film

“Caligari, Again”
I never tire of Cal! !! Never will”. There were to be 3 pre-Holstenwall texts, this is #2 . . . #3 is in some file somewhere

“Long-Stemmed Ghost Words”
Yes, again one for Alanna. Dylan got me thinking . . . Tats on pale skin, cloth and shears, Carcosa, just had to wander that way! Might have been voodoo or witchcraft, or just the sound of her voice . . .

“When the Moon Comes to Call”
My friend Stan [Sargent] and I were on the phone talking about music - as we often do. After our conversation I put on a Miles cd that lead to Sha and thoughts of simmering jazz in a club. 

“After Reading Michaux’s “In the Land of Magic”
Something I penned for Cisco… Man’s a genius! !!

“The Walking Man Walks”
After a nap where I dreamed Tom [Ligotti] and me sat in a park. We talked about serial killers . . . I rarely remember my dreams [wish I did!], but we talked about Man On Fire and Jim Thompson and frolics, so I tried to get part of it on paper.

“Silent No Longer”
Another old thing from my ND days. Bob asked me to be the music reviewer for “Crypt of Cthulhu” and I had half a thought of starting a column w/ this tale . . . Didn’t.

“The Maiden of the Pines”
Yep.  This be an old one. I don’t really recall it [common for me – I write ‘em and move on. Often people mention a title to me and I have no idea what the thing was about w/out getting filled in.]. Was in a file and S.T. liked it so we put it in.

“Last Year in Carcosa”
Started w/ watching Last year In Mareinbad [love it! !!]. I had an image of a gun under a linen napkin and just typed from there. Only thing I knew going in was the beach was Carcosa and I wanted to play w/ The Dynasty in Carcosa as part of play.

“Scarlet Obeisance”
Bob [Price] said he wanted to do The Tindalos Cycle. I penned this for it. Everyone loves Cthulhu, I sure don’t. When it comes to Mythos beasties I love Chaugner Faugn, so I tried to say I love you to Robert Bloch again! !!

“Rendezvous Under Shadow Bridge”
I was toying w/ thoughts about a tale w/ a night watchmen in it. Thought I might make it all daily “reports”. One night I was putting away some books, Last Exit to Brooklyn, and a couple of Ligotti tomes, and began to wander what Bohren & Der Club of Gore covering Bill Evans might be like – [I do that  kind of thing a lot]. This is what popped out.
Good or bad, it’s one of my “one take” numbers.

“in front of an empty house in dead city”
Sometimes I just putter, think Sonny Rollins up on the bridge, play and see what comes out. This is one. Let’s call it woodsheding.

“Ain’t No Love on the Street”
Written around the same time as “ifoaehidc”. More woodsheding. Yes, I do that a lot!

“Perfect Grace”
Grace Jones. I had just seen her new video for “Corporate Cannibals” and was blown away.  This is what popped out after viewing it.

“Kynothrabian Dirge”
“The Exorcism of Iagsat”
X-mas morning a fax from Bob listing 11 “titles” from the SUB-Mythos [as discovered by Will Murray]. He wanted me to come up w/ spells and litanies to go w/ the titles. I thought you get to play Dr. Strange for the Mythos – ran w/ it! !! They were fun to write! These were in Bob’s THE BOOK OF EIBON [Chaosium][They were also translated into Japanese]
“Lonesome Separate Ways”
A Steve Earle tune came on I started typing . . . And just kept wandering.

“Just Another Desert Night with Blood”

I’ve never been in the desert but I dream about it. Cactus, sand, more sand, quietude. It comes in different colors, it has a different language. It’s like an itch. One day I’ll discover its contours until then I’ll just keep walking in the sand.

“After Death”

Can’t say I remember much of this. Had a few scraps of poetry. Started typing, just to see where it would go.

“I Often Dream of Words”

Watching some Eno videos on YouTube, skipping around. Fragments started talking to me. Watch for a few minutes. Made a few poetic notes, then typed as fast as I could.

“Forever Changes”

I haven’t looked at this since I wrote it. When I write I enter what I call The Zone. It’s the bedroom of a 16 year old kid that just got a new guitar. I’m that kid, often it’s just me sitting there riffing, going where the notes, words, wanna go. There’ll be some piece of music playing, in this case it was Love Forever Changes and I just wanted to see what forever changes meant. A different day in The Zone it would have meant something completely different.

 “In the White Walls of Silence”

I originally wrote one Caligari piece, a prequel to the film, and thought I’d keep going. Caligari is one of my oldest and most favorite Horror inspirations. Wanted to write five or six Caligari texts. If I remember correctly, this was the third. It’s dedicated to Robert Bloch and also inspired by Bloch. Whenever I deal with murder I take Bloch’s heart out of the little jar I keep it in and put it in my chest. And I let it sing to me. Pretty sure, one day I’ll return to Caligari . . . Perhaps many times. Bloch will be there w/ me! !!

“Mother Stands for Comfort”
Sat with a paper and a pen and watched the Q6 film Din of Celestial Birds. Just put words on paper. Didn’t think about it. Didn’t correct it. Ran a spellchecker through it. Done. Not the first time this has happened. I’m betting it won’t be the last.

“Blow Wind Blow”

I love names. Places, people, names want to tell me stories. Ionesco. That name wanted to tell me stories. Thought I might use this character in a whole series of texts. I don’t ever want to talk about him. He just walks. Sees a problem, fixes it. For this one I wanted him to meet people that had been changed by darkness and I wanted to see how he would fix them.

“8’s & Aces”

Plank and the Belldog. Wanted to use them as characters for a long, long time. To me they’ve always been gravediggers. Wondered what happens to gravediggers that are dead. Thought, ah, they turn into ghouls, can’t steal from the grave, at least you can have dinner. Then I wondered what happens when the meal hasn’t laid down and died, yet.

“A One-Way Fare”

Derrick Hussey is my publisher and a friend. Spent many a happy hour on the streets of New York, walking around with him. Mostly we’d go to bookstores and record stores. Came home from NYC one night with a few CDs I had bought in the city. Looking at song titles words started popping into my head. Didn’t have a story in mind, just a bunch of words from song titles. I wrote them down on a piece of paper. They were in no real order. Decided it was a map, but it looked like a puzzle, so I typed until I connected the dots.

“Don’t Look Back”
John Lee Hooker. Sonny Rollins. “Maggie May”. All in my head at the same time. What does it mean? Only way for me to tell is type. I did. This is another one of those I typed it, I ran a spellchecker through it. Then it goes in the “done” pile.

“Long is the way and hard . . .”

Hubert Selby, Jr. big influence. Huge. Dog eat dog world, you bet your ass. But when I thought about it, came out “Cain eats Cain”. Little Mott the Hoople and a couple of lines of poetry . . . Don’t know what else to say about this one. Parts of it I loved. Parts of it I wasn’t sure of. But when I kept going back and looking at it, it seemed done . . . I often write these things pretty quick, then spend half an eternity deciding what they look like on the page. As I don’t “see” a lot of my work as stories, but texts or poetry of some stripe, it’s critical to me how they look on the page. This is one of those that came real quick and then I spent days with the layout.

“huddled in rags in a Kingsport alley . . .”

I have a friend in London. Julia. Lovely lady! !! She reads poetry. I think of her as a siren. She has a gentle, alluring voice I could listen to for hours, yet she reads some of the darkest literature that has been written. I often wonder what dreams haunt that gentle voice. I wanted to write something poetic and dark just for her. This piece began with a line of poetry I had written, but had not used ‘Little but the noise of the moon survives’. I could hear her whisper that . . . I typed, searching for darkness . . .

“Dead Ends and Empties”

I almost never outline. A line of poetry occurs to me or the tone of a piece of music sets me off and from there I type, drift, just to see where the words go. This one was just that. Me typing, to see where the words wanted to go.

“Sharp Fangs + Blood = Murder”

I was thinking of my best friend Bob Price and his collection of short stories. I couldn’t get the word blasphemies out of my head. Every time I heard the word or thought it, I thought it came out as a howl. I could see the face, sharp fangs, spittle, that equaled blood to me. Robert Bloch taught me blood equals murder. So that was it. Sharp Fangs + Blood = Murder. No plot in mind, just typed. After about a page or two I thought this one needed a soundtrack. As I recall I spent a couple of hours looking for the right song. Found it. U2. Then I typed like hell.

“Saint Nicholas Hall”

Nearly 20 years ago I used to go to Bob’s house for KaLeM Klubs. Cisco was one of the writers who was often there. He’d come in with his new tales and read. I’d sit in awe. Years ago I was going to do a King in Yellow anthology. Sadly that didn’t happen, and for that book I had asked Cisco to write a King in Yellow tale. He did. Wrote one I think is brilliant, worthy of the canon. I’ve always wanted to write one back, a thank you. There’s no way I can ever walk in the field Cisco walks. No one can. This is merely my humble tribute to one of the very best writers of Weird Fiction we have ever had.

“Funeral in a Hate Field”
When I was a  teenager, I loved Sword & Sorcery. Conan. Kane. Elric. Lieber! !! Loved Sword & Sorcery!! ! Since I’ve begun writing I often think about writing a Sword & Sorcery tale. Thinking about Lin Carter one night I began I paragraph, thinking this would be my Sword & Sorcery tale. Didn’t have a plot, thought like Conan I’d just see where my wandering took me. This one is very short, but it’s where the darkness took me. This isn’t what I had envisioned as a S & S tale, but it’s one of the few things I’ve written that I am actually happy with. One of these days I might write a “real” S & S TALE until then, this how I see S & S.

“An Orange Tick-Tick-Tick-Tick-Tick”
Rules? I guess they’re good things, but not in literature. Literature is about passion. It’s about getting sweat and blood on the page. Anyone with half a brain isn’t going to write a prequel to Caligari, or a sequel to A Clockwork Orange . . . Brain? I don’t think so. Rules? No.

So, I’m watching A Clockwork Orange and again it occurs to me how much I love the words, the language. As someone who is always searching for words, I thought what a great field to play in. When I was 13 or 14 I read A Clockwork Orange. I loved it. I didn’t know there was a glossary in the back of the damn book. But when I got to the end and found it I thought it was amazing. Sitting there, watching that film, I remember reading the book and wishing the glossary was in front of it. And as I sat there, the muse said you have to, have to, use some of these words. Yep, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Just wanted to say, in my fashion, THANKS, AB! !!


S.T. asked me to contribute to a book called Black Wings. I was half in a panic thinking about it. I was a needle stuck in a groove. What the hell can I write for that? He wanted Lovecraftian, but he didn’t want tentacles. And he didn’t want those names. All I kept thinking about was Nyarlathotep. He’s a trickster. So I wanted to start in one place and move to another. Rain’s a place. The desert’s another place. To get from A to B you either walk or drive. I decided to drive. Somewhere in the middle of the first page I asked myself the question, why. Then I typed until I found the answer.

“The Last Few Nights in a Life of Frost”
I love Jack O’Connell. Love! He walks on water! !! After reading one of his short pieces online I couldn’t get parts of it out of my head. I tried and I tried and I tried, but like one of those songs that won’t go away it stayed there. The only way to get rid of it, was to make a story out of it. There’s two versions of this story. The first one I named the character ST, not S.T., and when he read it he said I have some place I want to use it, so he thinking people would think ST was S.T. he asked me to change it. So ST became LT and he used it. As I’ve said, I don’t normally like my stuff. This one I do.

“Epilogue for Two Voices”
No one can or should pen the KIY play. So here’s my thoughts on a KIY “PLAY”. ‘nuff said!

“To Live and Die in Arkham”
Most of the time I think I’m done with HPL and the mythos, then half of some idea hits me and say, no. But usually it won’t stop talking to me and I have to type it to get rid of it. For this one, I wondered what Arkham looked like if you were from the wrong side of town, if you were Selby or Bukowski . . . So I walked away from the finely manicured lawns of Miskatonic University just to see what life on the bottom looked like and to see what it thought of those who lived privileged lives.

“The Last Twenty Miles of Wandering Again”
So I’m playing David Crosby’s “Cowboy Movie” and some Dylan tunes and I have a few images that I’d come upon in a nap that afternoon. I’d already used Morrison as a character so I thought, what about Dylan? And if we were pards where might we roam? Carcosa, naturally. Why? Who the hell knows.  But I spent a few hours having fun, finding out.

So, I guess that’s the “uncorrected” look at SIN & ashes. I wonder if S.T., somewhere down the road, is going to want to annotate SIN? If he does, maybe this will help

yer bEastie JUNE 2011

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