Blasphemous Scribblings from the Road

Forgive my penmanship, my hand shakes as I write these words. It has been more than a week since my return from the lands beyond those cyclopean peaks, and yet I still struggle to record my thoughts. Upon my return, haggard and half-mad, the doctors told me I should seek a rest-cure for at least a week, or else risk complete nervous collapse. Even now, they frown upon my writing of what transpired during my journey, but I feel that I must put it down, lest it consume me completely. If nothing else, perhaps my account can be a warning to others of the fearful things that lurk beyond those mountains of madness…

I left Kansas City on April 7 and didn’t get back until late in the evening on April 17. At around 11 days on the road, it was the longest I’d been away from home, and it really did take me about a week to recover (to the extent that I’ve recovered, I’ll let you know how that goes in a couple of days, when it’s no longer the month of April).

For the first leg of the journey I drove out to Boulder and spent a day with Jesse Bullington, Molly Tanzer, and co., hiking, chatting, dining, playing whist Guillotine, and watching Jeffrey Combs in The Evil Clergyman. Then Jesse joined me for the next leg of my journey, a mostly gorgeous two-day drive out to Portland, with a layover in La Grande to stay in a seedy motel (though not as seedy as the one we were hoping to stay in, which appeared to be called the Mr. Sandman, but which was also under renovation, with paintings stacked out in the parking lot). That night produced the most infamous photo of the trip, documenting the “cocktails” bar at the back of a Denny’s. All else is shrouded in secrecy. What happens in La Grande, and so on.

Once we reached Portland and the dubious safety of the Banfield, the HPLFF began in full swing and was, as always, a blast. As was the case last year, I spent way more time carousing with folks than I did in movie theatres, though I managed to catch the Muppet puppet “Pickman’s Model” that was my chief moviegoing goal, as well as The Sunderland Experiment.

I won’t bother attempting to tag all the amazing people who, as always, made the festival so fantastic. You all know who you are. I will, however, say thanks again to Brian and Gwen for putting the whole shindig together, and for having me out as a guest for a second year. Here’s to hoping for a third!

After the festival was over, Jesse (being a wiser man than I) flew back to Boulder, while I drove up to Seattle for the night, where I crashed with my buddy Simon and watched The Lurking Fear (not for the first time) and Virgin Witch (for the first time). So yes, for those keeping count, I saw roughly the same number of Lovecraftian films while not at the HPLFF on this trip as I did during the festival proper. So it goes. The next day, I met with some of my editors at Privateer Press, and then hit the road back toward Kansas, a trip that wound up necessitating two hotel stays, one at a Holiday Inn in Butte, where I was treated to a suite at a regular room rate, and found a channel showing old episodes of Night Gallery and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour to lull me to sleep.

I could cover a lot of ground recounting various exploits from the trip, but I’m still getting caught up on work that I missed while I was gone, so I’ll leave it at this and say that I’m already looking forward to the next HPLFF I attend, though next time, I won’t be driving.

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