When I got up this morning to view the solar eclipse through a spaghetti strainer (not the opening words I ever imagined for a blog post), I was happy to see that my eBook LitCrit MegaPack on Texas writer Robert E. Howard had surged up to no.6 on the Amazon litcrit bestseller list for horror and related fiction. 634 digital page equivalency, far and away the largest — and yet the best — collection of litcrit on the creator of Conan, for those select few who go for that sort of thing.
In addition to Hammett and Noir and Speakeasies and Lon Chaney and the usual stuff that occupies my idle thoughts, lately I’ve been thinking of various Howardian or fringe Howardian deals.
One that sprang to mind: Where are all those “Robert E. Howard Word of the Week” posts that once littered the web?
Remember those? Started on The Cimmerian blog in its heyday, jumped over to the REHupa (short for the Robert E. Howard united press association) blog for what seemed like years, and I believe finally ended the run on the old Two-Gun Raconteur blog.
Makes me realize that REH is kind of disappearing, for the moment, from the web. Cycles coming and going — just like REH wrote about with his themes of barbarism vs. civilization, something is poking along for awhile, then pow!, it’s gone.
The Cimmerian blog after a brief resurgence has gone back into sleep mode. When you follow any link to the REHupa blog you get shoved over to a Facebook page, the blog itself in some kind of limbo. Raconteur is dead, unless someone jumps in to revive it. The old Robert E. Howard Forum, a.k.a. the Conan Board, is gone.
If you peruse some of the Howardian posts I’ve done here before, you’ll hit a ton of dead links. I’m not going to attempt to fix any of those. Get the news when it’s hot, when the links go someplace live.
I was curious enough to punch “Robert E. Howard Word of the Week” into Google, and what comes up first is my own Robert E. Howard WORD OF THE YEAR. Last year I selected “flivver.” I’ve got another one to present tomorrow. I was making fun of the Word of the Week, selecting words to re-do that had been totally messed-up in the original presentation. And, man, did they bungle the definition of flivver.
In fact, the only actual Word of the Week I can find currently are the ones Leo Grin did for The Cimmerian.
Leo tells me, “It was my idea — along with other weekly ideas like eBay REH reviews.” Something to kick the blogging action in. “Looking at the site,” Leo says, “apparently I did them for about three months, and then added a few stragglers, maybe a dozen all told.” He believes Deuce Richardson, lately a mainstay of Howardian forums, also “apparently did a few.”
Then someone else took them over and did hundreds over the course of a few years — “but as you say, they are all gone.”
The problem as Leo sees it is that the new Word of the Weeker “chose commonly known words, which completely defeated the purpose — and also posted them at places where they were the only thing getting pubbed week after week, until the whole site became dominated by them like tribbles.”
Week after week after week. . . . Just as well they let that blog die.
The place they took over so completely was the REHupa site, which began with three or four supposedly regular bloggers. You wouldn’t have heard of most of them, but soon they all fell by the wayside — except for Morgan “The Morgman” Holmes, who knows how to blog on schedule. Morgan has been doing each and every Sunday for the Castalia House blog since January 2015.
Once Morgan moved on to other venues, all you had was one dreary Word of the Week after another.
But from one of those my next WORD OF THE YEAR — perhaps that exercise in futility wasn’t a complete waste, if I can add my touch to the proceedings.