Our Member of the Month for November 2017 is Paul Helfrich of Dayton, Ohio.
Paul says: "My first introduction to H.P. Lovecraft came via my purchase, at age 11, of this 1971 Ballantine edition of The Shuttered Room. Without question, it was the cover art that attracted me:
Ironically, of course, not a single tale in that volume is actually by Lovecraft! But I loved it, and I went on to purchase all the remaining Ballantine editions – plus others I discovered at used book sales, including this one: ..and I still have both, over 40 years later.
Like many Lovecraftians, I’m an avid reader of all sorts of things; while I put Lovecraft at the top of my list, I’m also a big fan of the work of Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King, Tolkien, and George R.R. Martin.
My favorite Lovecraft story is "The Haunter of the Dark"; I’m also very fond of "The Whisperer in Darkness", "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward", "The Shadow Out of Time", and "The Thing on the Doorstep", the latter a bit underappreciated, in my view. I also especially enjoy two of Lovecraft’s non-Mythos stories, "The Picture in the House"" (that outrageous dialect!) and "Cool Air". My most vivid experience with Lovecraft was reading "The Dreams in the Witch House" at probably age 12-13; scared the crap out of me!
If anything I am growing in my Lovecraft fandom as I get older; I’ve been an HPLHS member since 2011 and feel very fortunate to have been able to attend Necronomicon Providence in 2015 and 2017. My (Ohio) license plate is HP LCRFT.
For me, Lovecraft’s cosmicism is not depressing, but rather I find it liberating and enervating. It’s a constant reminder that whatever the trials of daily life, things could be - probably really are, but we’ve got that whole “placid island of ignorance” thing going for us – far, far, worse.
When not faltering down black cobwebbed steps and lingering around sinister monoliths, I’m a performing arts administrator in Dayton, Ohio, where I live with my wife and two children. I’m a lifelong musician and particular fan of all the various flavors of metal and prog rock, as well as symphonic music, so for me, the rock opera version of The Dreams in the Witch House is like the greatest thing ever! I’m also a big fan of the D.A.R.T productions, which I most heartily recommend to all fans of HPL.