John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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Summer Gothic

There's something about summer that brings out the goth in me, in as much as I have one. Strictly speaking, it's not what people tend of think of as goth these days, with pale makeup and angst ... most of that is just crap. (Here's a clue: quoting a stanza or two from Coleridge doesn't make you sophisticated ... particularly if you only know it from an album cover and never read the actual poem.[1])

This area gets very oppressive in the summer, and doubly so if it's rainy. The air is thick, the sky is overcast, and kudzu, honeysuckle, and ivy leaves cover everything with a thick, dark, drooping blanket of vegetation. And I grew up in an oddly cramped, badly built, ramshackle house, with gaps eaten through the wood floor by termites, exposing the red clay earth underneath ... daddy longlegs, spiders, and ants were my numerous (if not exactly welcome) roommates. This house was back in the woods for most of my childhood (until the woods were mowed down to build Route 66 east, but that's another story), so I was quite used to being surrounded by the uncanny fecundity of oppressive nature, so to speak.

If this all sounds vaguely Lovecraftian, well, it is. Or, was. Things are rather different now, but summer tends to remind me of those days, for whatever reason. I was a bookish kid with self-esteem issues and weak social skills and a predeliction for ghost stories. I'd check out Alfred Hitchcock's Scary Ghost Stories and the like from the school library, bring it home, and be absolutely terrified by all the descriptions of things that were just like real life, eek! Rickety old houses, back in the woods? I lived there! What skeletons were buried in my back yard? What unquiet spirits were those bumping around the house late at night? 0.o

(With the perspective of adulthood, I've come to the conclusion that those unquiet spirits were actually the dogs, bumping around the house late at night. But you don't think of things like that when you're eight years old and have too much imagination for your own good.)

Of course, being inspired to re-read Solomon Kane after seeing Van Helsing doesn't help matters. It just weirds me out, sometimes, the way reading Howard (and Lovecraft as well, but less so) often feels like "coming home."

-The Gneech

[1] Note that this is not any kind of slam on Master Coleridge, although I do have a slight preference for Wordsworth.
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