Pen and Scalpel: Inspirational Quotes of H. P. Lovecraft

H. P. Lovecraft. 1890-1937
Ask anyone who has loves a good horror story and I’ll bet he’s read something by H. P. Lovecraft. While he wasn’t the best writer of fiction, even in his time, he has become as influential as Edgar Allan Poe in the genre. Few people can read The Dunwich Horror or TheCall of Cthulhu and not know true terror. So convincing are his tales that there are some who believe that he wrote from actual ancient legends.
Lovecraft’s tales not only spun great yarns but they also, on occasion, dropped some uncomfortable wisdom on us. The following is merely a sample of that wisdom. Some of it could be disturbing to our beliefs, but that intention came with every story. My comments will be in italicsso as to not confuse the readers.

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.

These words should be on the wall of every writer who tells stories where fear is present, whether they are Horror, SF, Adventure Or Mystery. The Unknown is the greatest creator of fear and infinite in scope. How many people can walk into a dark room without pausing for a second, wondering what could be hiding in the dark? Not many, I would imagine.

I never ask a man what his business is, for it never interests me. What I ask him about are his thoughts and dreams.

Ah, then, these are the true sources of a person’s motivations. Thoughts and dreams are what inspires us and what we aspire to. It’s what drives us to move beyond our dreary existence.

If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences.

Religion, then, has become a source of indoctrination, whether we accept that concept or not. What is used to get us to stay in the fold? Fear is a major source of getting people to comply with the doctrine.

I am disillusioned enough to know that no man’s opinion on any subject is worth a damn unless backed up with enough genuine information to make him really know what he’s talking about.

All the education in the world is useless unless it is applied toward making sense of the world around us. Any idiot can have an opinion, but even someone with a small amount of education can make that opinion worth hearing.

All of my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and emotions have no validity or significance in the cosmos-at-large.

We Humans have no clue what is in store for us in the Cosmos at large. We should be afraid to leave our little home here in the middle of nowhere in the Milky Way. What we believe matters not to Those Who Are Watching from Out There.

It is a mistake to fancy that horror is associated inextricably with darkness, silence, and solitude.

Yes, I believe that the most horrifying things happen in broad daylight, under the glare of the sun. in Stephen King’s THE MIST, for example, a lot of the action takes place before lunchtime. Darkness only gives what’s hiding out there places to regroup for the next day’s hunting.

Horrors, I believe, should be original – the use of common myths and legends being a weakening influence.

Grimm’s Fairy Tales are excellent and should be read in their original form. But they are just food for the writer’s imagination. As a foundation, they can provide any number of inspired ideas for your work. But don’t stop there. The various myths of the ancient World are also good for ideas, for they are filled to overflowing with heroes and monsters. Take advantage of them.

One can never produce anything as terrible and impressive as one can awesomely hint about.

The great power that old-time Radio shows had that no other medium has ever equaled is that it used audio only. No pictures, no video, nothing but the power of words to create images in people’s minds. Our imagination can make greater horrors than any SFX company could EVER create.

The end of a story must be stronger rather than weaker than the beginning, since it is the end which contains the denouement or culmination and which will leave the strongest impression upon the reader.

Nothing is worse than a story that just ends without a revelation of some sort. A horror story without the situation coming to a head in the last page or two is not worth reading.

It is absolutely necessary, for the peace and safety of mankind, that some of earth’s dark, dead corners and unplumbed depths be let alone; lest sleeping abnormalities wake to resurgent life, and blasphemously surviving nightmares squirm and splash out of their black lairs to newer and wider conquests.

Be careful where you go looking in your quest to quench your curiosity. That old abandoned mine may have been boarded up because something lives in there that wants to be left alone. While the deepest darkest corners of the Amazon jungles may contain wonders that could revolutionize Science, don’t be too sure that there aren’t things in the trees that don’t want you to visit.

Do you have a favorite Lovecraft quote? Or a favorite quote from any author? Let us know below in the comments or tweet them to us at @JoesWritersClub.