Good evening. I understand you want to hear my story. I’m Alexander Wainwright, a landscape painter, living in London. Come and we’ll walk along the Thames together on this foggy night and I shall answer your questions and tell you what you want to hear. It is a tale of mystery and the muse.
My studio is near the Embankment and so I often stroll along here. It puts me in meditative mood. Serenity is often hard to find in London.
I understand you were inquiring about Daphne, the woman from New York, whom I met several years ago, when I was travelling to Venice.
Daphne is very much her own woman heading up an advertising firm on Madison Avenue. By the time I met her, she was known as “the lipstick queen.” She had created an extremely successful advertisement for Revlon which dominated all media.
At that time, I had been experiencing a crisis in my painting of landscapes. Suddenly, strange and fearsome creatures fought to escape my brush and jump into my landscapes. I had no idea where they came from but I knew they meant I was either losing my mind or facing a serious and fundamental artistic crisis. Such a mystery to me! I called them the trolls.
You see what I mean? They’re nasty little beasts, aren’t they?
These creatures drove me to search for something—although I did not know what. Obviously they were a creation of my own mind and spirit and so I could scarcely ignore them.
I took the Orient Express to Venice in hopes of finding some explanation of why such ugliness persisted in invading my paintings.
I first met Daphne quite by accident, over breakfast in the dining car of the Orient Express. As the waiter sat me at her table, my heart was pounding and a sense of the entire universe infused me. She was an ethereal vision! She wore a gold bracelet and necklace with a single diamond. No rings were on her fingers. Although her polite smile made a bright facade, her deep blue eyes were tinged with unfathomable regret. Vulnerability flickered in her expression and I ached with an acute awareness of her wondrous humanity. But still, I had to unearth the dark and mysterious secrets which seemed to afflict her.
We had dinner together that night. I was so profoundly inspired by her very being that, after dinner, I returned to my cabin and made twelve charcoal sketches with such energy that I was finished within an hour. That is the power of the muse! And need I say that not one troll raised its head?
I rushed to her compartment with sketches in hand. I told her she was my muse. She seemed pleased with the sketches but was puzzled. Just what did it mean to be a muse? I tried to draw out her concerns. We each had a glass of cognac.
“Why are you so sorrowful?” I asked.
The cognac had warmed her and she did not resent my directness. She spoke without hesitation as if in a trance.
“When I first visited Venice, my lover committed suicide. I loved him very much, at least as much as any twenty year old can. But when he needed me most, I deserted him.”
I sighed deeply. “Two souls alienated from each other at the moment of their greatest need. And when you left him, you were angry and wanted to be free of him and his black moods.”
“How did you know that?”
“Simple human nature. Why shouldn’t you feel that way at such a young age? You had your own life to live.”
She gazed up at me over the top of the tiny crystal glass. “How do you know this? You weren’t there.”
“It’s a very old story.”
“Who are you? How do you know my story?”
“Your story has been enacted a thousand times over down the centuries. As for me, I’m just a painter trying to understand life and to create art.”
And that was the beginning of our relationship, which was constantly filled with questions. I knew she was my muse and she wondered if I could be the lover she wanted and deserved. It took a number of years and much more travel for me to answer that question and resolve the mystery. You will not learn the answer to that question until you read the third novel in the trilogy, Night Crossing.
When we arrived in Venice, we decided to explore the city together. But the next morning, she rose very early and by herself she walked to San Marco to find the very spot where she last saw her lover—dead—twenty years ago.
Just beyond this entrance to San Marco lies the Grand Canal–a vast and ornate piazza.
She came upon something so strange, mysterious and inexplicable that she was nearly overtaken by a sense of doom.
When we met at this cafe on San Marco, we tried to unravel the mystery. No. I will not tell you what we found. But I can assure you that it provoked a lot of thought and questioning in both of us. Although I tried to relieve her unease, I, too, was overcome by the significance of the find. What, if anything at all, did it portend? And what did it reveal about human nature? You see, The Trilogy of Remembrance is filled with fundamental questions about life’s meaning. One question invariably leads to another and then…
We were both looking for something in our lives which we felt we must retrieve. I was convinced I had found my answers in her. But for her, it was not so easy. Unfortunately, in San Marco, she didn’t find any answers she wanted, needed or deserved.
If you watch this short video, you may might guess what she did find. Her question? How can I escape the pain of my lover’s suicide which has haunted me so long. She had expected that by returning she would be able to find some sort of solace after so many years.
I will not go into detail, but I can tell you that eventually I think she did find solace. I like to think I had a role to play in that. But if you would like to know what she found, you should read The Drawing Lesson found at most online bookstores or right below on the carousel.
I do hope we can take another stroll together very soon. There are so many stories to tell.
After all isn’t life the greatest mystery of all?
These stories are developed from the novels of The Trilogy of Remembrance [The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde and Night Crossing] and are designed to entice you to read them. Alexander Wainwright, Britain’s finest landscape painter and visionary artist, is the star. Think of them as delightful appetizers. Enjoy and respond!
Mary E. Martin is the author of two trilogies: The Osgoode Trilogy, inspired by her many years of law practice; and The Trilogy of Remembrance, set in the glitter and shadows of the art world. Both Trilogies will elevate the reader from the rush and hectic world of today and spin them into realms of yet unimagined intrigue. Be inspired by the newly released and final installment of The Trilogy of Remembrance, Night Crossing. Presently, The Drawing Lesson is a Wattpad Featured novel which you can read in its entirety right here Wattpad.com