Below are the Letters that make up the Preface and Afterword from the original My Painted Elephant
Preface : Letter to the author
Saturday 4th Feb 2012
This is you, writing some stuff down about your life, dreams and thoughts that have lingered enough to be written down. I hope this may help if you have lost your mind, or have suffered any brain damage from the wear and tear of living. You may be wondering how you came to have all these thoughts and ideas in your head. Well, it is a bit like a dream, dreams can be so marvellous and it has to be wondered: does the brain think of these ideas instantaneously or has some part of the brain being working on stories, philosophies, answers, discoveries to show you when it is ready? Perhaps there is a dream stored away ready for you, or maybe there are years’ worth, all catalogued in the brain’s own way, ready to be presented to you? Somehow all this is now ready to be written down. You want to enter the Paris Literary Prize this year and this is your effort. Well done.
You haven’t written all of what is to follow in one day it is just that today is the day you woke up and decided to add a beginning, middle and end to the story. You had already been writing about the Theodorus Spiral, Max, Charlotte, Kesbook Skytower and other imaginations. This is all a fiction from your mind, you have just finished reading Emile Zola’s ‘The Drinking Den’ and have quite a feeling of connection to Gervaise in the story. While I know you think you would like to be living in Paris, you are very happy and content in Adelaide, Australia and now you think that maybe the pull to Paris is because at some point maybe one of your ancestors’ lived there and some remnant of memory is still embedded in your brain. Two days ago, you woke up to a severe fit of spinning and nausea – this has led you to again worry you will end up like your mother in some semi-catatonic state that will render you useless in your later years and has sparked an energy to get something done about a book you want to write. You want your mother to take a drug to help alleviate her abulia which is a condition that affects the ability to communicate and her will to do anything at all. She has been in an old folk’s home for fifteen years and you believe, from personal research, that there is a drug that has worked in cases of abulia but she won’t take it, not being motivated to change her current endless scenario. Not even the doctors, who also have come to the same conclusion that the drug may help, can persuade her to take it. She says she is happy the way she is. You want to leave it but you feel you should be doing something to help. It is hard to just let it be and not be angry or hurt that she won’t respond to you.
Anyway just letting you know that you finally wrote a book: – perhaps you always knew that you would do it. Perhaps we all have inklings about what is going to happen to us. I am actually not sure if this is my writing from the past, the future or in the present. It might sound strange, but time may not be running as chronologically as we think. Sometimes I am so sure I know what is going to happen yet other times I get it so wrong. At this point you really don’t know if you will win the prize or not. I don’t think that is the motivation here anyway. Getting the work complete and being happy that you have produced something worth reading is much more important.
Love from you
Final Word: Another letter to the author
10th September 2012
Readers may think that Brenda is you but none of this true. You did not leave your family for Paris, though it has crossed your mind to do so. You have imagined what it would be like to do so, how you would feel, what you would do and where you would go. Your mother has not recovered; she continues to remain in the same state refusing to try the drug. There is unlikely to be any change in the future, you have to accept this. You have not given up on her. You are amazed that you have actually written a whole novella. Who would have thought, I mean loads of people say they are going to write a book but you actually did it. You did it even though there was no real motivation to do so. How did you get enough energy to do it? Some days you are so lethargic that just doing the daily tasks are a struggle so then from nowhere there is enough energy to write 18000 words. And there is more.
This work is really part of an art installation piece with sculpture, music and literature. The sculpture that Charlotte finds in this story is the one you are currently constructing and you have written a piece of music to go with it which you regularly play on the piano. Now you have the literature complete. Entering the novella in the Paris Literacy Prize is a way seeing how it is received. Does it get a response; is it creative and innovative enough? Only time will tell. Does the reader like it or loathe it. In some ways a response of any kind will be a success.
from the author
Another Embarrassing Letter to Self.
Just to say your mother died…she did not recover. You continue to work on The Red Forge Publishing House Project. It now is about computer programming, and web content so this maintains your interest.
Unfortunately you now wonder whether everything is just a version of all you have seen, heard etc before and that none of your ideas are truly original.
What else is there to do though? It is best to continue trying to tie the writing, music and art into a single creative installation.