Letter to H. P. Lovecraft

From Clark Ashton Smith

[28] [c. mid-March 1932]

In the valley of the Black
Pillar, at the outward pole
of that transidereal world
which confronts the
ultimate starless void.
Hour of the upward swirling
of those who are subject to
the Pillar.

Dear E'ch-Pi-El:

No, thank Tsathoggua, the snowstorm didn't arrive. But our recent weather, in the words of Gin Chow, a local savant of meteorology from the Celestial Empire, has been "heap cloudy". [. . .]

[. . .] As to "professional rebuffs", I don't see why you should feel so downcast. It seems to me that you don't get half so many as I do, in the aggregate. The only way I can land a lot of my stuff is through repeated submission, revision, etc. One needs to be hard-boiled about rejections. I doubt, though, if I'll ever achieve the persistence of Derleth, who says that he has sold some of his things to Wright on the tenth or eleventh trip! Three submissions of a tale (to Wright) has been my limit so far; but some of my things have gathered a multitude of "regrets" before landing. "The Door to Saturn", for example, garnered at least six or seven rejections.

[. . .]

Howard must turn out a tremendous amount of work, if his published product represents a mere third of it. Personally, I find it physically impossible to go much beyond a certain quota of mass-production 20,000 words a month at most (the average is considerably less) being my limit. This, I understand, isn't much for a pulp-writer, since a lot of them reel off several thousand words per diem. But I simply can't write in other than a painstaking manner, with extra drafts and voluminous revisions and verbal polishing. [. . .]

[. . .]

Wright must have rejected "Ubbo-Sathla" because it didn't remind him of anything that had ever made a hit with his readers, I can't see myself that it's especially difficult or "high-brow". Where Wright errs is in playing safe when he can't find a precedent for some particular tale — a method of selection that is none too favourable to originality. [. . .]

[. . .]

Yrs for the descent into Abaddon,

From: Clark Ashton Smith: LETTERS TO H. P. LOVECRAFT, edited by and footnotes by Steve Behrends (July 1987) Necronomicon Press.

Printed from: www.eldritchdark.com/writings/correspondence/40
Printed on: December 12, 2018