Good evening. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Alexander Wainwright.
I prize this time in the evening when I can stroll along the banks of the Thames. It has been very hot in London this August and so, I am glad to get out of my studio for the breeze and some fresh air. Charles and I have fallen into the habit of running into each other. I believe he enjoys hearing the stories I have to tell from my travels. Tonight, because rain had begun spattering down, I decided to look into Gordon’s Wine Bar just up the street from the Embankment tube station. After all, Charles enjoys the grape as much as anyone.
I’ve heard that the building in which this bar is situated was home to Samuel Pepys. Although Pepys filled various posts with the Admiralty, he is remembered mostly for his diary. Although I have not read it, I understand that it’s filled with important eye witness accounts of The Great Plague of London and the Great Fire of London.
So often I’ve enjoyed entering this bar because it gives you the impression that time has stood still. The walls are rough hewn wood and decorated with news clippings—some almost a century old. It’s rather a comfort to feel that, in some places, everything remains reliably the same!
Do you feel as I do—that when the world is at its most troubled, we need as many sturdy reference points as we can find? Some would say that the world is always in turmoil and so we should never change anything unless absolutely necessary. But that would be wrong. If we’re not careful, we’ll start yearning for the good old days or some non-existent golden age and that would be foolish.
There, at a candle-lit table near the back, sat Charles looking as if he could use some company.
“Good evening, Charles,” I said as I pulled up a chair.
“Alex! I was hoping you might come.”
“Really?” He shrugged and then smiled.
“You have such wonderful stories. I was hoping for one tonight.”“
“Have I told you about my visions?”
Charles eyes widened but then he frowned “Really? You have visions?”
Charles didn’t actually shift away from me as if I might cast a spell on him. I could tell he was surprised but not alarmed.
I smiled and then waved the waiter to our table. “Two glasses of your house red please.” The waiter nodded and then disappeared.
I laughed. “You look so surprised. It’s not an everyday sort of thing but I did have one recently, which my author, Mary E. Martin wrote about in Night Crossing. Sometimes I think she gets rather carried away. And sometimes, I can’t tell whether these visions are really mine or hers. In any event, they sometimes remind of those photographs taken of the universe taken by the Hubble Telescope.
“Tell me about your vision!”
“One night I was in my studio and having a lot of trouble finding proper subject matter. I was sick and tired of my bucolic landscapes. People claim the light in my work takes them into the beyond. But that day, above all, I wished for a new, clean and cool wind to sweep into my life and cleanse my weary spirit! My task? Can the light shine through something new—not physical objects or people? Or can I possibly express it’s essence of the light just as it is? “ “From the corner of my eye, I caught some movement—a shadow or shifting shape dancing on the wall. I turned toward the shadows. My mouth grew slack and my breathing deepened. I looked at the mirror on the wall to see a blissful, innocent smile spreading across my face. My legs grew weak and I staggered toward a vision as if drawn by irresistible but unknown forces.”
“Against the tall windows, now blackened in the night, a golden egg rose up, shimmering with beautiful gems—diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds which sparkled like the purest sunlight. Turning slowly, this marvellous object throbbed with life as if it contained all the energy in the world. The only words I spoke? The cosmic egg.”
” It was perhaps three feet in height and, at its widest point, two feet in breadth. It rotated majestically several times and then drifted upward toward the ceiling. Although stunning, it was as insubstantial as a rainbow and began to dissipate before my eyes.” “I was awe struck and could not move. The cosmic egg was the seed heralding new creation. Everything necessary was at hand and contained within that egg. For eons, it had tantalized humankind with the secret mystery of creation, life and death and the promise of immortality.”
The waiter set the glasses of wine before us. Charles continued to stare at me as if he’d seen an apparition. Neither of us took a sip of wine.
I said, “Every so often, I experience a vision. Sometimes I wonder if I haven’t really slipped into a dream-like state where anything could be imagined. It usually happens without any warning and certainly can never be commanded. I have come to cherish these dreamy, extraordinarily beautiful fantasies. But then I’m left with the question—what is it telling me? Why has it appeared now? I only know I must keep the image close to my heart as a guide.”
Charles’ expression showed his wonderment. “But these are amazing events, Alex! Your talent …your art come from that very place.”
“Within moments, I felt ready—a sense, impossible to describe to anyone who does not create. A fullness within my mind, spirit and body infuse me right down to the fingertips. I might overflow or even burst if I do not begin at once.” I sat back exhausted from the telling of my tale and sipped my wine.
Charles leaned across the table. “Alex! That is a marvelous event. Surely you think it’s a sign of great things to come.”
I sat up straighter and regarded him solemnly. “Yes, it heralded a breakthrough in my art. And, in fact, it led me on a chase to Paris and St. Petersburg in search of the painter of the exact same cosmic egg.”
“Really? You must tell me all of the story.”
I shook my head and laughed.“No, my friend. It would take many days to describe all the twists and turns of that story, but you can read it right here: in Night Crossing, the third in The Trilogy of Remembrance. http://amzn.to/1rGcJbN
Do you ever wonder what characters, who seem to come alive off the page, do when you the reader have finished the novel? As a writer I like to imagine that they have lives separate and apart from me and I must wait until I hear from them again.
Please enjoy all the novels of Trilogy of Remembrance, The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde and Night Crossing.