“The forbidden idea contains a spark of truth
that flies up in the face
of he who seeks to stamp it out.”
- Francis Bacon
April 6, 1616
I savored dropping candle wax on the backs of spiders creeping across my writing desk late at night. The occurrence happened often, which speaks volumes of my supposed inspirational surroundings. Guilt did not arise in my stomach watching them writhe in the cooling liquid; only justice – justice that their ugly, black, hairy existence was now encased immemorial and dotted like small sepulchers before my eyes. To kill something appearing to deserve death feels like divine justice; and yet, to kill something of beauty, what does that say about a man?
Unfortunately, I know both. 'Tis amazing what envy will tempt a man to do. Like the hot wax, the human spirit writhes and twists beneath a liquid persuasion and your limbs flail to survive, to hold on to the thing you hold most dear.
Envy moves men to covet, lie, steal, and, ultimately, kill. A person never forgets the thing he envies if he lets envy encase him – the dwelling, the longing, and the lengths he will go to obtain the thing. 'Tis the fruit hanging from the tree, shiny and appetizing, and forbidden. That one word, forbidden, awakens the monster who crawls from the dark recesses of the mind to poke and jab any decency a person has until he is transformed in to the beast itself. Thus, is envy the wax or the spider? Or both?
'Tis a shame, but those of artistic persuasion are the worst of the lot. Writers are the worst. Shall I include myself in the mix? Of course, and yet, the thing I envy does indeed belong to me. Words, words, words – ripped from me by another envious person and dangled like a fruit just out of my reach, forbidden to bear my name.
In truth, I bear the fault alone, for a writer longs to see his words come to life, especially as a playwright. What elation to see the characters you create in your mind come to flesh and blood on the stage. What delight strokes the vanity of a writer to hear the swoons of the penny-stinkers clamoring at your feet and calling your name. My name immortalized – so she promised me. A bitter lesson to learn that an educated man's vanity, when stroked with a promise of greatness, will cause him to sell his soul for any semblance of immortality. “Tis an age old lesson , yet to be learned by any of us; still, a writer never forgets the first promise, and the first taste of envy.
No matter. Did I not say: foul deeds will rise, though all the world o'erwhelm them to men's eyes. And ears have passed since I sliced the feathers from a goose quill, sharpened the tip with the dagger at my belt and scrawled those words across a waiting blank page. They are familiar ones to you, I know.
My name is there, just on your lips. Can you feel the letters roll off your tongue as familiar to you as if you spoke the name of your dearest love? Yea, perhaps you think you know me – the wave of my brown hair, the educated twinkle in my amber eyes, the audacious gold earring in my left ear; but wait.....
Perhaps you have imagined my tortured nights, my aching back bowed over the desk, the spent wax melting over a solitary pewter candlestick, the flame's shadow flickering and dancing with the movements of my hand across paper. These were the nights when my muse would not let me sleep as she filled my head with the sweet music of iambic perfection. More words, words, words....
Go ahead, speak my name. For what's in a name? That which we call a rose would smell as sweet by any other name? Ha! But you did not hear the irony flavoring my thoughts when those words first erupted from the fertile womb of my muse. 'Twas a sprinkling, a hint, a clue to the truth ,and those having “eyes” will see. Do you have the eyes for truth? Perhaps you will need the stomach ,as well, for my tale is not for those comfortable with lies. A curious soul is what I seek, and I promise to stroke your curiosity like a king of cats. When the curtains closes, I will charge thee to tell the world the true story of the great Bard of England.
How was I to know the outcome? I began as every man does, as a simple boy toying with lofty dreams and eating the air, promise-crammed. You think you know who I am, and yet, you are deceived.
Shall I speak the name with you? Come; let it fall. William Shakespeare. 'Twas easily said and now that I see you are settling in for a tale about the man you think you know – a twist.
I am not William Shakespeare.
****Want to read more? Read the first chapter or Buy the book here: Blood and Ink ebook, paperback, hardback