The Note

This is a brief piece I came up with during a dry spell. I was starting to get worried that I would never write something again–you can tell that my anxiety is totally rational–and so I typed this up. I didn’t know what to call it, because I thought it deserved a witty title, but I’m pretty bad at that, so I called it “The Note”. I hope it’s not too cheesy. Also, I just want to add that my synesthesia has some effect on the feeling I have about certain spellings (“grey” is happier than “gray”), so I made some alterations to my usual style to match the mood.

My dearest Loved Ones,

as you all know, times have been uneasy for me lately. My composing has been a failure, my writing has been a flop, all of my sketches end in furious tears, and my meager accounts are dwindling in coin.

I have eaten and slept little, and, as I look at myself in the scratched and smudged mirror, I am forced to admit that I greatly resemble a sickened ghost. What may I do?

I have felt frustrated and lonely, and no jobs of any dignity have made themselves available. My parents, I know you love me and want me to succeed on my own (why you have given my no financial help, I am certain), but you could not have been bothered to write. My dearest compatriots: Belinda, Isobel, Harry, Dorian, Frederick — all of you, you write so kindly, yet we never speak, and how can you expect me to afford to pay for stationary and post in order to respond? A half of a conversation makes little company to a lonely, impoverished student.

In these recent weeks, illness has overtaken me: I fear it might be something as wicked as cholera or porphyria; I have the worst headaches, pains, and insomnias, and the most vivid, frightening dreams. But my physical self is perhaps only reacting to the state of my spirit: I fear my muse has died.

I believe that, several weeks ago, in my apartment (but what is my own besides the things I have made and the things I have leftover from a life of ease?), I lost my ability to translate my observations into stimulation for my tortured mind. I found no beauty, no inspiration, nothing at all in the world any more. My nightmares do not inspire song, nor poetry, nor story or artwork, but only encourage me to cower in a sweat within my sheets. The things I see: the people, the changing of seasons, the growing skyline — all of these only strike fear into my heart; no prior glory do I see in them.

My memories themselves, of happy times, are faded into mixed shades of gray, gray and dark, blurred like a painting on the floor of a muddy puddle: without its former beauty, hideous and grotesque to the finest of eyes — even the painter himself would not recognize the work.

Again my friends: my muse has died. And what life have I without it? I swear to you all: if you had seen me on the street in the past few months, you would never have recognized me. All my color, all my life, and my warmth — they have escaped me. Deep bruises rest beneath my darkened, glassy eyes, and my fingers are spindly, and my cheeks gaunt and sallow. So much time spent in dark leads to light burning my skin, making lesions red and ugly over my flesh. My hair is thin, my lips are pale. One would think they had seen a ghost; a demon or some hideous vampire perhaps, but never a human being walking across their path.

A museless man is an empty man, my Loved Ones and Lovers. And there is nothing left of me now. What can I dream but fantastic horrors, and what can I see but a bruised, dying world?

A muse, I fear, is irreplaceable, and therefore infinitely more painful when absent. The beauty of it is priceless: how could I even afford a substitute if it were an option?

I do not blame you, any of you, for my loss, nor for my pennilessness, if that is what you believe led to the event; though I know many a poor and starving artist or writer, far more inspired and cheerful in disposition than I. Why, their health may bloom despite their scrawny limbs, because of their glowing muse that resides within their souls.

I, however, am alone.

How can I live or love any further than this? How can I contemplate any ideas? Can one amongst you even comprehend a life without beauty? Can you imagine falling in love if you see nothing lovely? Uninspired, you would be an empty shade, haunting the living, eventually withered away to dust.

That is me my friends, but I will go no further along that path. Good morrow to you all. And God bless my withered Soul.

—R.W.

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