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Daily Lovecraft Evocations

March 29, 2024 ・ Blog

H.P. Lovecraft had a notebook filled with his Cool Writing Ideas, 221 of them. They are great, because they run the gamut of terrible, obscure, obvious, bizarre, arresting, and excellent. They are a bit like the stupid little ideas that I jot down here and there, except Lovecraft had the chutzpah of collecting them in one place, acted on quite a few of them, and eventually let someone transcribe them. And then they were published after he died as the Commonplace Book.

An example:

  1. Lonely philosopher fond of cat. Hypnotises it—as it were—by repeatedly talking to it and looking at it. After his death the cat evinces signs of possessing his personality. N.B. He has trained cat, and leaves it to a friend, with instructions as to fitting a pen to its right fore paw by means of a harness. Later writes with deceased’s own handwriting.


  1. Vampire dog.

I love to see such raw creativity, especially when it’s coming from someone so distinctive and funny (and appalling) as Lovecraft1.

So anyway, this morning I had the bright idea of inflicting my wife and son with a random one at 8.50 every morning, so I put together an Apple Shortcut. It’s pretty simple! I dumped the text from the above link and did a few passes to clean up annotations and other cruft. I also added titles and a § symbol to the start of each idea. You can grab the list here.

Then I put together the following Shortcut:

The Split Text step uses the § to delineate each idea, allowing the next step to pick a random one which it then texts using Messages. Easy. Then, in the Automation tab, I created an automation that triggers the thing at 8.50am every day.

I think my wife and son will definitely love getting these daily for eternity.