Don’t let the obvious fact that the art is terrible dissuade you from reading my recollections of this ‘old shame’; these were drawn when I was seventeen to accompany my first ever attempt at a serious novel, and tomorrow you lucky readers will be able to view an excerpt!
(I know, I know–Dante forgot to add that circle when he wrote the Inferno. Although, it’s funny you (and by ‘you’ I mean ‘I’) should mention dear old Dante…)
The novel was ‘Mistyree‘ a Victorian murder-mystery, with a side-helping of pseudo-philosophical gibberish and the best that teen navel-gazing had to offer; overwritten to the point of being incomprehensible in many places–far too many, in fact, given how little I actually wrote of it. In order to prepare you, let’s take a look at some of those quality images that were meant to bring the [ridiculous] words to life…
One of the ‘best’ things about ‘Mistyree‘ was how halfway through the story took a break so that the main character, Nicholas, could have a multiple-chapter dream-vision about going to Hell, just like Dante did in the Inferno. (presumably so I could let readers know I’d read the Inferno). His guide was Odysseus instead of Virgil, who in this picture shows him the forest of suicides–people who committed suicide and were forced to spend eternity as trees in Hell. I never really understood that, but oh well.
Hell has, of course, updated itself to fit with the times, and so now has a train running through it. George Gordon Lord Byron was the conductor, you can see him standing in the doorway of the train I was too lazy to draw in its entirety and just kind of vanishes off into the distance.
(30/11 is the date on which Nicky had his vision of Hell; unlike those of us who are doing NaNo, who by that point just feel like we are)
(The laziness continues with my lack of effort to colour shit in. Some things never change).
A couple of months later, on the 8th of January, Nicky is thrown across a hallway by his Uncle for forgetting to wear black in mourning for a second cousin of his who had been murdered–at this point in the story he was recovering from a stab wound which is why his arm hurts. For SOME REASON, unreasonable adult-characters who didn’t understand the MC’s uniqueness were all over the place in this novel. I wonder how that happened…
Much earlier in the story (these arts are posted in the order I drew them, rather than corresponding to the timeline of events) Nicky goes to visit his illegitimate niece (by his younger brother Michael) Alice. Alice’s mother is happy to see him, but her sister is being judgemental.
She pays for her judgemental-ness later by being murdered. That’ll show her!
This one doesn’t have a date, so I don’t know when-abouts it was supposed to be. I do remember there was supposed to be something important about that clock (I think a body was hidden in it at some point–you know, one of those clocks with extra space behind the gears for stashing corpses), but I’m just not entirely sure.
One of the themes of ‘Mistyree’ were annoyingly perfect and judgemental little brats who were gruesomely murdered, and the boy in brown was the final murder victim–the second cousin mentioned before. Also, there’s a cat.
On the morning after the night spent journeying through Hell for no reason, Nicky is carried by the demon Cynefrith (in the novel a creation of the thoughts of people who had heard the incredibly apocryphal tale of Cynefrith, who murdered her younger brother and then had her eyes burned out by God when she started reading a Bible-verse backwards) to the ‘safety’ of a tree.
Well, in his dream-vision he is. In actuality he’s carried there by the person who was murdering everyone, who had fallen in love with his totally unique quirkiness! Nobody else really understood him! *sobs*
And when the murderer was caught and executed (actually it turned out they botched that and he came back in the sequel /spoilers) everyone sits down to a friendly game of poker. Here we see both of Nicky’s brothers, their wives, one of their cousins, one of their wives’ cousins (an American; you can tell because he’s wearing a badly-drawn cowboy hat, and all Americans wear cowboy hats… IN AMERICA!), and their brother-in-law around the table, while Nicky stands in the doorway.
Actually I remember this scene was to end with Nicky, who had been bemused and quirky throughout the whole novel before this, breaking down into tears and being herded away by the brother-in-law, who was also his best friend. They had an interesting relationship…
Yeah. This one’s actually my favourite of the ‘Mistyree‘ illustrations because I think it’s better than the others, though I don’t know why Xanatos (that was the brother-in-law’s name; Xanatos Murder–it was a joke, because his name was ‘Murder’, and there were a bunch of murders happening! Geddit?) has a picture of space on his wall, but never mind.
Anyway, the idea was that Xanatos was (also) in love with Nicky although married to Nicky’s evil sister Catherine, and Nicky kind of knew it but brazenly ignored his feeling since he didn’t want to have to deal with anything serious in his life. In this scene, Catherine’s gone off to cheat on Xanatos with some guy and Xanatos is feeling suicidal, so Nicky tries comforting him.
Oh, and if you’re wondering why Nicky’s hair is green in some of these images; apparently the black felt tip pen I was using turns green after a few years. Though I kind of like to think Nicky just got some green highlights to treat himself after being stabbed. If, you know, those had been a thing in the Victorian era.
Seriously. ‘PLAN OF THE HOUSE… for fun, I guess…‘. Because there’s no other reason to have a house plan, amirite, fellow writers?
Actually, come to think of it I haven’t done a story tied enough to a single location to have to do house plans like that again; not one that I still consider a viable project, at any rate.
Tune in tomorrow, for an example of the writing that spawned these nightmarish visions, and a seventeen-year-old’s attempts at being ‘deep’, ‘edgy’, and ‘Victorian’.
(It’s actually not as jarring as the time I attempted WWII era–What ho, old boy!)