Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
~ Cole Porter
A casual look around the Whiskey Forge reveals that we are modest in our affection for neither liquor nor books. Even the barely interested can see that whiskey and cookbooks practically bow our shelves. The slightly more curious may note that there's an awful lot of rum as well...and swizzle sticks...and there, in the corner, a small case of tiki mugs. Downright nosy sumbitches will realize that someone, at some point, acquired an inordinate amount of materials by and about the American weird fiction writer, HP Lovecraft.
That would be me.
|Horror in Clay prototype|
My days of actively prowling for Lovecraft books and ephemera are behind me. The hunt was far more enjoyable before the coming of the internet. Every book, pamphlet, or document I uncovered in a Pennsylvania barn or a Kansas City estate sale seemed like a little gem, like some real accomplishment. "I found this," I would think, "because I am very good at what I do and know the market better than these people." Now? Eh. Now when I want a title, I search online auction and antiquarian book sites in North America, Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and — with a flurry of keystrokes — have the thing in my hands in no time at all. Effective? Sure. Fun? Not really.
But I do still leave room for serendipitous discoveries. And sometimes they come by way of that same internet that's sucked so much joy out of book hunting.
Jonathan Chaffin's campaign on Kickstarter brought a smile to my face and made me realize that I can make some room on the shelf for at least one more tiki mug. Chaffin is pimping a prototype of a mug he calls The Horror in Clay. It's taken from a line in Lovecraft's 1928 story The Call of Cthulhu about the dreams of artists and madmen the world over whose febrile nightmares are stirred by Cthulhu, a giant tentacled and winged entity who slumbered fitfully in the sunken South Pacific city R'lyeh. At least, it slumbered at the beginning of the tale...
Chaffin is looking for various levels of contributions to his funding campaign to make a full run of several hundred mugs. Tiki folks will go for it. Lovecraft geeks will want in on the ground floor. The level I'm interested in starts at $40. For that, contributors get a finished 28-ounce mug. Mo' money, mo' mugs.
This leaves me with two questions: (1) When will they be cool enough to handle? and (2) What would Cthulhu drink?
Goes well with:
- Jonathan Chaffin's Horror in Clay campaign is here.
- My review of Jay Strongman's book (with an intro by Tiki Farm's Holden Westland) Tiki Mugs: Cult Artifacts of Polynesian Pop
- We've covered Lovecraft here at the Forge before. There's both the candied Cthulhu-head citron I made last November as well as a short film based on HPL's 1926 story of horror in the Cool Air.
- Lovecraft's not the only oddball writer whose stuff I snagged at every turn. Of a once-huge collection of Charles Bukowski materials, one of the few remaining items is a goof, a counterfeit, a sheet of fake stamps that would fit right in Thomas Pynchon's Crying of Lot 49.
- My Culinary Library: What Good Does It Do? I've spent the better part of three decades collecting books on food and drink. Why? What good could possibly come of it? Here are some thoughts on the value of such a collection.
- Finally, if you believe that's a Cole Porter quote, I've got a mug I want to sell you for $80.