Happy birthday, Mr. Poe.

Originally posted on January 20, 2010 at 1:33 AM

I’m writing this in the last technical minute of Edgar Allan Poe’s 201st birthday. It seems fitting to wish it at midnight. Ann Rice perhaps, I would say happy birthday to at 3am–the witching hour–but for my dear friend Poe, the 12th toll of that old ebony clock seems the most appropriate, don’t you think?

I discovered that sacred old orange copy of the collected works of Poe on the top shelf of our bookcase when I was only in grade school. I believe that he was the first author I read on my own that I truly, passionately enjoyed. I still do, more so than any other author. Poe wrote horror before horror was a fad. He was elemental in the creation of the gothic genre. He wrote scary when quality was still a prerequisite. These are obvious reasons that I love him.

Poe was a poet before my namesake was even born (his name’s in the word, people). He’s a master–and my artistic inspiration. “The Raven” is still, to this day, the best poem I’ve ever read. Kyle says I get so into it when I read it out loud that it’s really, really frightening. I like that. “The Raven” is the reason that I dare to write horror poetry. I’m sure there are others, but I have never met anyone besides me who attempts what he attempted.

Did you know that Poe was also the creator of the detective story? Seriously, without Poe there would almost certainly be no Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew, or even Dr. House. Many people recognize him in big ways in the science fiction genre as well, which I dabble in. Poe was also a literary critic, something I can see myself doing in the future. But perhaps most importantly, he was the first famous American writer to write as his sole career. He paved the way for me on many fronts.

I’ve decided that the best way to honor this literary forefather of mine is to reread some of his works. In 201 years, I don’t expect or even hope that anyone will grieve me as a person. But if they can read some of my work and get pleasure from it, I’ll be a happy ghost.

The good little children (like my sane husband) are tucked safely under the covers dreaming of puppies. But we… we goblins are out in abundance tonight. There’s magic in the air, folks, and I’m going to go revel in it.

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  • Peggy

    Magic, indeed! Love, love, love this post!!! It’s beautifully written and heartfelt. Too bad all the comments were lost when you changed websites…

    • Thank you! Yes, it was a shame to lose all the old comments, but switching sites was still the best decision!