Saturday, May 25, 2002
Yesterday I finished Chapter Seven, as planned. It all came in a great rush, a scene that I'd been dreading. 1,453 words in only about five hours. Anyway, it left me too wiped out to get to the journal last night. Today I'll probably proof Chapter Seven.
Obviously, I didn't go to Atlanta to see The Cranes. Sometimes my work ethic is particularly annoying.
Jim Shimkus of Atlanta writes:
So I read "So Runs the World Away," and of course loved it. Then, I think it was two nights ago, I was re-reading Lovecraft's "The Shunned House" (a very atypical Lovecraft story) and I came across the description of the 1892 (I think it was 1892) report about vampire hysteria and subsequent heartburn. I thought to myself: "DUH!" Very cool and tricksy of you to work that into "So Runs the World Away." So, are the vampires and ghouls crashing at The Shunned House on Benefit Street? Or are they on the same Shunned Block in the same Shunned Neighborhood?
If you haven't picked up a copy of The Mammoth Book of Vampire Stories by Women (that's a mouthful - no pun intended), then you probably have no idea what Jim's talking about. But to answer the question, "So Runs the World Away," my story for that anthology, isn't, strictly speaking, set in the same house that H. P. Lovecraft wrote about. However, it is set on the same street, in roughly the same place. In July 2000, I went to Providence for Necon (actually, Necon's held in Bristol, but I spent some time in Providence) and was fortunate enough to stay at a bed and breakfast directly across the street from the actual house Lovecraft used as the model for his Shunned House. It's been painted a very disconcerting, cheery yellow that does nothing to negate its reputation, no matter what its current owners might have intended. One afternoon, we walked up and down Benefit Street, visiting the Atheneum, a library Poe often used, and taking in various old houses. We also visited the nearby observatory where Lovecraft studied astronomy as a child. That afternoon, along with a trip the next day to Swan Point Cemetery, where Lovecraft is buried, and some reading I'd been doing on vampirism in Rhode Island, were the inspiration for the story.