So, heres the prologue to the novel I’m currently working on.

Blurb:

Have you ever felt like your whole life has led up to one moment? Well, that was how rock-bottom, cult-hit artist Patrick felt when he wakes in a small, square room with only a bed, a bookshelf and an easel and is told to paint. He’d returned to the town where he grew up looking for answers to piece together the shattered pieces of his life into a liveable whole. But after waking up in this dire situation, he has a new goal. Get out of this place with his mind intact, though that’s looking less and less possible with every day that passes…

Prologue – Present day… 

Patrick’s ‘Musings’ – Date –   /   /  Who even knows anymore? 

Van Gogh once said ‘ I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.’ I feel I understand now what he meant by this, although,  I wouldn’t say that I have lost my mind. That would lead you to believe that your mind, or to be particular, your sanity, is tangible. That it is an object I have foolishly misplaced, one that I could find if I put my mind to it and searched hard enough. If I looked in all the drawers in my house, every cupboard, if I checked under the bed and in every nook and cranny then eventually I might hold it before my eyes and feel the tension release as I breathe out a sigh of relief. No, it’s not like that at all.  I don’t believe that I have lost my mind, I have a strong suspicion that I am lost inside it. Thank fuck I’m okay, it’s everyone, everything else that’s mad! But I must ask myself how can I find something if there are no walls, no drawers, no cupboards to check and no list of places to run down where it could possibly be. Because its nowhere to be seen I find myself at the conclusion that it’s all around me and it is I who is lost, not it. My own thoughts are collected, and of course perfectly normal, whilst everything else, all these forces known and unknown pick and gnaw, grope and tug at me, pulling me this way then pushing me back and I am left at their mercy, a leaf tumbling as I fall to god knows where. Scared and alone and without even myself to talk to, because he keeps talking back.  

Sat cross-legged on an uncomfortable medical cot with green plastic sheets of the kind you’d see in a hospital, I put down the safety pen and little pocket size journal he had given me to keep my thoughts on the bookshelf and let out a sigh. I pull my legs to my head and bury it between my knees, before groaning and hitting myself in the back of the head in frustration, multiple times, and looking up to the room again. The thin cot I’m sat on is the only piece of furniture in the small square space, besides the waist high bookshelf next to it that doubled as a small table, stocked with books. It had a jug of water on top of it, which I leaned over, brought to my dry mouth and drunk from gratefully before putting it back and wiping the moisture from my lips with the back of my sleeve. Lastly, in the far corner of the room, there was an easel, folded and leaning up against the covered wall. 

 Besides the easel and the man sat cross legged on a hospital bed, the only other thing you might notice about the small, perfectly square room was the art. It was everywhere, every spare inch of wall was covered in paintings. There was a pile of rolled up paintings in the far corner of the room, opposite the cot, which was about waist height. The walls were covered from the edge of the floor to the ceiling, paintings stuck up haphazardly with no care to presentation, some at strange angles and others even appeared to be upside down. They also overlapped, before one finished another began, so you could not see the plain off-white colour of the wall beneath. They were even beginning to encroach on the ceiling with three or four paintings half-heartedly stuck up there with corners hanging off. It was as if the paintings were trying to swallow the room whole. This observation was helped by one very large painting purely featuring a wide open mouth, with teeth slowly degrading from pearly white to black and rotten as you went from left to right. 

 If the first thing you noticed when you entered the room was paintings, paintings, the sheer, overwhelming number of paintings; then, after that died down, as you begin to look closer, the second thing you’d notice was the art itself.  

“Was this, all this, me?” I ask myself aloud, as my eyes stop taking in the surreal state of the room to rest on a painting hanging directly across from where I’m sat. Naked and smiling, the woman’s arms were stretching out to the sky in front of wings sprouting from her back as her eyes glared back at me. They were pondering and cold, and entirely oblivious to the blood dribbling down her chest from a thin line running horizontally along her neck and flowing off to pool behind her in a great scene of many shades of red, all blending and intermingling like a scarlet fire. Her inquisitive smile turned to a quiet giggle as I observed her, blurring the lines between a smile and a snarl. I shook my head, aggressively trying to shake the woman’s gaze from my mind and failing and again looked down at my knees, clutching them to my chest so I wouldn’t have to see. 

“Well, that would depend on what you consider you, Michael,” comes a high, slow, well spoken voice from across the room. “Are you only that which you are aware you are? Would you define the sub-conscious as you, do you take ownership of it? The general line of thinking is that the artist is solely responsible for that which he produces, but what if that wasn’t the case?” I look up slowly, my vision sharp and bright. It always seemed to be down here, perhaps it’s the lighting. Without giving myself permission, without telling myself to do it I tilt my head back and look directly into the bulb, the light burning into my retina’s as I tell myself to look away but find my body unresponsive, transfixed, hypnotised by it’s warmth. Finally, I’m able to blink and my body is my own again. I look down at the man in the painting who had spoken, barely able to see through the branded glow swimming around and obscuring my vision. He was sat on a rocking chair with an obnoxiously large tobacco pipe in his hand, the smoke leaking out until it forms a wall behind him. I can’t help but cough. His skin had a doughy texture, with a waxy sheen to it and it crawled, almost as if there were, something living, wriggling under the surface. 

The man continued, “but some artists, some unknown and others great, are of the persuasion that their own work is not theirs at all,” he stopped to take a drag from his pipe, slowly exhaling a trio of perfectly formed O’s each bigger than the last, that disappeared into the wall of smoke behind him. 

 “Some seem to believe that they were simply a conduit, a vessel, if you will. I have heard it described as if they had channeled some greater feeling or energy. Because of this phenomenon, they feel that they cannot claim their art, as solely their own.

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