I’ve been a WordPress blogger for almost two years now and unsubscribedblog is my one and only endeavour on the web. I ran a previous blog covering new music releases on a rival site which, over the course of a year became inexplicably huge to the point where my hits per week where sometimes upwards of five figures. I was eventually contacted by a ‘proper’ online music site who wanted to ‘subsume my demographic’ and offered me a paid tenure with their grubby organ which I turned down due to unreasonably restrictive T&Cs. I told them it was about passion not money, they said they understood completely… and offered me a bigger retainer fee. I’d had enough of blogging at that point, it felt grubby and lonely – a faceless world of voiceless readers swimming in a sea of my words. I got out and vowed to stay out, but…
I have no idea why I jumped ship to WordPress and started another blog, especially one with such a ridiculously narrow premise (not to mention unsearchable name) as this; Pictures of hoary old science fiction paperback covers and the odd quip about what music I’d been listening to. It hardly smelt of success. But it wasn’t success I craved, I needed an outlet for some of my slightly disturbing obsessions and a little community spirit within which to share it. I told myself that if I got only one hit per day then I’d carry on writing because at least there was someone reading and connecting somewhere. Thankfully I get a lot more than one person visiting the blog each day but what I do get that I never really developed whilst running an infinitely more ‘successful’ site (in terms of statistics) is interaction. Readers of the old blog were selfish, they consumed and moved on like digital predators but here people often like to stop and take the time to click on a button that says ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’. Sometimes they even hang around long enough to write a few words in a comments box about a post they’ve just read or a cool book cover that caught their eye. That’s my measure of success and not a load of charts, graphs, tag clouds and trend-lines.
There’s a reason for me coming over all confessionally gooey like this today. I’m not feeling too well. my health has been very poor these past few months and I’m struggling a bit to be honest. I’ve just been in hospital and am currently on ward leave so I can spend some time at home relaxing. It’s all been a bit of an ordeal. I’m not looking for sympathy here and we’ll say no more about the subject but on the morning I went into hospital a book arrived through the post for me, a very special book indeed.
At the start of this month I published a post about the esteemed author, poet, sculptor, painter and friend of H. P. Lovecraft – Mr Clark Ashton Smith. After my introductory preamble I presented six cover photographs of books which represented my incomplete collection of 1970s Panther reprints, the seventh still being as elusive as it ever was. A few days later, I received a comment from a person under the name of ‘franzwesten’ who just happened to mention that he had a spare copy of Yondo which he would gladly send to me free of charge. We hurriedly swapped details and the following day an email arrived from a chap called Mr Read with photos of the book to see if it met my exacting standards. I was absolutely thrilled and delighted that not only had someone read the article I had prepared but cared enough to comment on it and ultimately share his spare copy of a book I have literally spent years looking for.
I’ve long since been a huge fan of blogging, the community spirit that exists and sheer torrent of ideas, imagination, inspiration and knowledge is astounding. This however is something altogether above and beyond the idea of that digital community, sharing actual physical objects with complete strangers just because you have a shared interest in a particular topic on the internet is very special.
I obviously haven’t had time before now but today I photographed the book and then updated the original article (which is here if you haven’t already seen it). I’ve now decided to write this which I suppose is an open letter of thanks to Mr Read for his kindness and generosity in selflessly sharing a rare book which has completed a collection, therefore making me a very happy man.
It’s probably courteous to note here that Mr Read runs his own very well produced and extremely erudite website/blog called Lankhmar – The Fritz Leiber Homepage which can be accessed here.
We should all make sure that we keep on writing, reading, liking, commenting and sharing via our many and disparate blogs as it truly does engender a sense of community. Also, you wouldn’t believe the difference that producing or reading these humble little blogs make to some people’s lives.
Finally, here’s a cover shot of that special book in question;
The Abominations Of Yondo by Clark Ashton Smith
This version was published in 1974 by Panther Books
The cover artist is uncredited although it was probably painted by Bruce Pennington given the fact that all of the books covered in the article linked to above are completed in his style and were issued during the same period.