Letter to Clark Ashton Smith

From H. P. Lovecraft

169 Clinton St.,
Brooklyn, N. Y.

Septr. 20, 1925

My dear Smith:—

I enclose the newest of my tales, which (as oddity would have it) I've typed before the other three previously written. If I have the energy I'll type another & insert it before sealing this envelope, but the others are too damned long! The enclosed was written up from an idea given me by an interesting old fellow in Massachusetts-the idea of an undertaker imprisoned in a village vault where he was removing winter coffins for spring burial, & his escape by enlarging a transom reached by the piling-up of the coffins. This is all my venerable friend suggested—the motivation & denouement, together with the actual writing, were all my own. I tried to employ a homely, prosaic style more or less in harmony with the theme. Your remarks on my fiction naturally elate me considerably, & I only hope you will not find my recent pieces a falling-off from the ancient standard. There are many things I wish to write, but every now & then I have the feeling of the aging workman that perhaps my hand has lost what little cunning it ever possessed. When my stuff is done it always disappoints me—never quite presenting the fulness of the picture I have in mind—but since a crude fixation of the image is better than nothing, I plug along & do the feeble best I can.

Yr most obt Servt

Selected Letters (Arkham House) 196

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