Our Member of the Month for June 2019 is David Laughton of Arlington, VA.
David says: "At the age of four I first heard the 5th Organ Symphony of Charles-Marie Widor. It instantly became one of my favorite pieces of music and remains so more than 60 years later. What does this have to do with Lovecraft? If you ask this, you obviously haven’t heard the symphony, but more to the point, this event was the first of many that would mark me as the Odd One among my peers.
Even before I began elementary school I was a prodigious reader, and fantasy was my preferred genre. I eagerly absorbed the works of Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, and other popular writers of the 1950s-60s. It wasn’t long before I happened upon a collection of Lovecraft, and fortunately the first story I read was "The Call of Cthulhu". This happened long before S. T. Joshi’s research brought Lovecraft out of the cardboard box at the back of the closet and onto the bookshelf where he belongs, but the edition I found at the local library was reasonably faithful to the source material (I always suspect that fantasy fans who don’t like Lovecraft – and I’ve met a few – either started with a late story full of incomprehensible references or encountered one of the many incompetently edited texts).
Fast-forwarding past my school years and into my career, I worked for many years in the IT field for various US government and international agencies. While my focus was highly technical, my interest in literature never faded, and I never missed a chance to leaven dense manuals and memos with quotes from and references to my favorite books. Much of my employment was pre-internet, so my office bookshelf was my primary resource; it was filled not only with books on systems analysis, information security, and related topics but also volumes of Lovecraft and other fantasy authors. In the days of constant and turbulent technological change, a red-leather-bound gilt-edged At The Mountains of Madness sometimes seemed more relevant to my work than any soon-to-be-obsolete technical manual.
Currently I spend much of my time as an organizer for two local clubs: the Alexandria-Arlington Regional Gaming Group (AARGGH) and Oddball Cinema, both based in northern Virginia. Games based on Lovecraft’s works are popular with the former, with A Study in Emerald appearing quite frequently. It’s one of my favorites, based on a story by Neil Gaiman that combines the worlds of H. P. Lovecraft and Arthur Conan Doyle, but the designer’s use of the mythos irks me at times (there’s a way for a player to kill Azathoth – what was he thinking?)."
David also runs some interesting contests that are free and open to the public. You can even win prizes! Check them out!
HPLHS Members can read a bit more about David and see some additional art in the Member Sanctum....