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Andrew Emory

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[27 Nov 2001|01:11am]
Confound the man, HPL is infesting my dreams. The insight into potential cryptographic significance of his works I've posted elsewhere actually originated, I am somewhat ashamed to admit, in a series of disturbing dreams over the weekend. The dreams were without any sensory data of any kind whatsoever, a complete absence of all sight, sound, and so on. I nonetheless had the sensation of descending through some vast space, surrounded by pure information. Instead of physical space, there was distance measured in the relationships between data, and the topology began with the lexical structure of HPL's stories, then rewove itself into something of immense significance - as big in meaning as the space itself. I woke each time unable, of course, to remember what the other meaning was.

I ascribe no great power to dreams, but neither do I deny the reality of the subconscious mind. I have in the past achieved significant insights in this way, and even though most of the time the apparent import proves merely apparent, I still prefer to err on the side of caution and analyze such dreams. Thus it was that I began thinking about codes in stories. I remembered that HPL was an admirer and devotee of Edgar Allen Poe, who wrote on matters pertaining to codes and ciphers, and reflected that HPL's antiquarianism likely meant that he was acquainted with classical tales of allegory and the like. (I originally wrote "allergy" there. He was likely acquainted with that as well, but the medicopsychological biographical approach is already covered sufficiently, I think.) We shall see what comes of this.

I am relieved in some ways to have this project to work on, as the state of funding for the spring and summer teaching I had planned on is less than reassuring. I can appreciate the need for economy measures in a time of general budgetary tightness, but I am frankly not an overly expensive proposition and my work is well-received by students and the general public. I resent having to spend time petitioning administrators to consider these facts once again, when they are all on file. If I could secure some independent channel of support, I would cheerfully tell the fools in a moment, "Thank you, I shall take my trade elsewhere." Ah, well, one must do what one can. At least I have this hobby for the moment, and some interesting personalities with whom to cross swords, and that must suffice for now.
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[23 Nov 2001|12:30pm]
The holiday was a quiet one for me. I had an invitation to join relatives, but after the all-day bickering and spats of last year, I decided that it would be easier to feel thankful at home by myself, in the company of good music. I approve of the commemorative spirit, but it's a fragile one for me: staunching the flow of response to meanness and ignorance long enough to take a fuller accounting of my circumstances is a work of substantial effort, easily derailed by bad circumstances. Solitude helped.

The weather here is nothing short of astounding. Two days' worth of rain gave way this morning to glorious sunshine. I have had most of the windows open to let in the sunshine and fresh breeze, and welcome relief it is. I had intended to resume reading "The Whisperer in Darkness", but the circumstances are simply not right for it now. This is the time to be out and take a walk. Perhaps I can go as far as the Sound, for the first time since (I believe) late September. Literature can wait until the evening.
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[21 Nov 2001|11:12pm]
I find the experience of online "journaling" very satisfying. This give-and-take has much of the quality of particularly fine conversation, without the inevitable lacunae that bedevil even the best exchanges from time to time. It is ineed a pleasure to compose my thoughts and know that they remain available for all to see, and for myself to refer to in the future.

I find myself examining the world with my customary skepticism in unusually strong form. HPL had the decency to present his work as fiction by virtue of its context, even though the story itself makes the semblance of non-fiction. It makes one wonder, though, how much of what one thinks one knows is in fact someone else's earnest misunderstanding or outright hoax. The tabloids are easy to dismiss; official conspiracy or reinforcing delusion can take much more effort to uncover. I wonder if perhaps HPL himself ever had the experience of confronting such an organized misrepresentation or denial, beyond the general banalities of popular culture, since his work has that certian passionate quality of wishing to attest to a disregarded truth.
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[21 Nov 2001|03:25pm]
I wonder if I have made a terrible mistake. Time will tell.

Jared Corner has asked to join the Anagnosts experiment. Now, on the face of it, Mr. Corner appears to be, if not actually everything I detest, certainly a great many things I detest. In particular he is responsible for foisting onto the uneducated classes precisely the sort of pernicious, superstitious nonsense against which I spend so much of my time trying to debunk and educate. Were I to grab at random someone to serve as The Enemy Of The Healthy Mind, Mr. Corner would make a good target.

What redeems him is the pervasive note of self-awareness in our correspondence so far. While he spreads illusions for others' consumption, he seems to have few himself. Perhaps it will be possible to shame or stimulate him into choosing a better course.

In the meantime, welcome to Mr. Corner, and the others. Though I must say that I certainly do hope my old friend Carl may find time from his store to add a more constructive note.

I shall resume re-reading this initial clutch of stories, and hope to post some preliminary comments shortly after the holiday.
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The Anagnost Community [20 Nov 2001|01:06am]
I have successfully created a community group through which to pursue this venture. I will add friends and colleagues as time goes by.
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The Experiment Begins [20 Nov 2001|12:17am]
All my adult life I've had the misfortune of being a reasonable soul in the midst of highly unreasonable crowds. It is regrettable, sometimes downright bewildering, how many profoundly irrational individuals gravitate toward interests I share, so that any serious effort at discussing (say) principles of roleplaying game design or science fiction or the psychology of popular fads bogs down in superstition of the most venal and ignorant kind. I have, I believe, earned much of my reputation as a curmudgeon for those times when I fail to maintain self-discipline and respond with honest anger to some particularly stupid "insight".

Over the years I've been accused repeatedly of failing to understand or appreciate the sources of these alleged inspirations. Indeed, it's true that I customarily have little patience for wading through mounds of cretinous raving merely because someone else mistook it for precious ideological ore. In my scholarly work I have tried to focus primarily on work that actually contains some literary or other merit to offset its conceptual folly; little of what passes for enlightenment among my peers and co-hobbyists has any such merit discernible to the naked eye.

I am not precisely at Dante's "middle passage of life", but I do have some time free for self-gratifying study at the moment. I've finished the revisions on my current manuscript, and my next grant doesn't begin until the spring. Apart from the occasional article or one-shot venture, I have little to occupy my attention. I have therefore decided that it is time to...

...drum roll please...

...read the crap.

Over the next few months, I will, in the company of a few friends and interested associates, undertake to evaluate the sources of "wisdom" that I've found most often cited by the most annoying of our peers. I will not set aside my native skepticism, but I will provide here an honest account of my readings and thoughts; where I find merit, I will credit it, and where I find fault, I will delineate it as clearly as possible.

I will begin with the work of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. I am not altogether unacquainted with H.P.L., having read some of his work in my adolescent years. I am disheartened at how many people I encounter who seem to find his juvenile nihilism profound, and who endorse his technophobia as insightful. Nor need I mention here the ghastly consequences of his wretched prose on impressionable minds. One measures a circle beginning anywhere. I shall measure horror and the fantastic beginning with this puerile Grand Old Man.

May the best critic win.
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A Placeholder Comment [19 Nov 2001|11:37pm]
So. Here I am. More to follow.
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