Monday, June 4, 2007

CREATINA by Johnna Adams, Preface

[Author's note: The footnotes are below the signature block and numbered within the preface.]


by Johnna Adams


As incredible as it may seem, the following manuscript was discovered in a cellar in southern France in 1842. The discovery by Jean Etienne Rimbaud, a distinguished landscape architect, was verified by multiple sources, not the least of which was, the Chief Justice of Ireland at the time, Thomas Lefoy. Tom Lefoy is already a figure of some historical note, having allegedly jilted authoress Jane Austen in 1798 after a boyhood romance conducted during his stay in Miss Austen’s neighborhood near Steventon in Hampshire. Rimbaud and Lefoy were greatly interested in the sport of grouse hunting and often accompanied one another on hunting expeditions in Ireland and France.

As Rimbaud’s journal indicates, the hunting party that included Lefoy was taking refreshments at a posting house at Herault, Languedoc, on October 23rd, 1842. While trysting with a serving wench in the establishment’s basement,[1] Rimbaud put his arm through a half-rotted board in the wall and discovered an ancient and crumbling casket (about the size of a modern shoebox) that had been hidden in the wall.
Photographs of the casket are available and published in Stuart Siddley McGrosser’s marvelous history of the architect and the enduring Rimbaud family legacy, THE ARCHITECT AND THE MYSTERIOUS MANUSCRIPT[2], which this author enthusiastically recommends to any reader interested in learning more than the cursory history of Rimbaud’s discovery provided in this preface. Unfortunately, the casket itself was destroyed by a surviving great-grandson of Rimbaud’s in 1915, Artaud Michel Rimbaud.[3]

The content of the casket, once Rimbaud had removed it from the wall and carried it into the saloon of the posting house to open it in front of Tom Lefoy and the fifteen other members of the grouse hunting party, proved to be a manuscript written on exceedingly fine paper[4] somehow typeset in a manner finer and more notably accomplished than printers of the period were capable of producing. In short, the manuscript was presented on 21st Century copier paper and the product of laser printing. Numerous tests on surviving fragments of the manuscript conducted at the University of Denmark have verified this astonishing fact.
At the time, the manuscript was dismissed as a prankster’s attempt at strange, scientific and unnatural-seeming fiction. But as we near the time of the manuscript’s obvious origination, the ominous events it records for our modern society becoming chillingly possible.

Rimbaud remained captivated and fascinated by the casket’s strange burden for the rest of his life[5].
Tom Lefoy had a passing interest in the manuscript’s contents, but this man seems to be fated to blindness in relation to literary phenomena his whole life. The unfortunate rejection of Jane Austen and his subsequent dismissal of the discovery of Rimbaud lead one to the conclusion that Chief Justice Lefoy was markedly insensitive to literary genius. In a letter to his nephew in March of 1850, shortly before Chief Justice Lefoy’s death, he said of Rimbaud’s discovery:

“As to the ephemera currently in the keeping of the French gardener [sic], Rimbaude [sic], that I was unfortunate enough to be involved with during an unprofitable hunting expedition. This work seems to inspire and enflame the fantasies of charlatans and madmen, and I am ever sorry to have seen the thing unearthed. I might wish that Rimbaud had not such an impetuous nature with women as to occasion the fiction’s discovery. I heartily deny the nonsense of the business and wish myself disobliged.”[6]

The “charlatan and madmen” Lefoy refer to include the authors Jules Verne and Victor Hugo who examined the manuscript in Rimbaud’s keeping at their leisure while it was stored in the safe at Rimbaud’s Paris apartment. Sadly, Lefoy was not alone in his dismissal of the history of CREATINA, and the manuscript has remained relatively obscure until modern times.

This brief history of the manuscript cannot hope to contain all of the astonishing and singular aspects of its discovery[7] The purpose of this edition, the first published and updated edition of CREATINA since 1932, is to explore the amazing accuracy of the account as we enter the decade of it’s writing.

It is not the purview of this edition of CREATINA to fuel the sudden, mad desire to seek out the authoress[8], who must surely be living as the author writes this preface and experiencing the events related in the startling account. Rather, it is the author’s desire to present, unaltered and annotated, the inherent and compelling human drama of the narrator’s situation. And to urge those that are seeking her to find her only within these pages, leaving her free to follow her destiny, and thus gift us with this, her story, no matter what the cost to humankind.

Your humble servant and editor,

Johnna Adams

[1] To be accurate and fair, the actual reference in Rimbaud’s journal reads, “I was having a talk with fair Marie behind the great wine casks in a corner of old man Vernier’s cellar.” While it is certainly within the realm of possibility that Rimbaud and the referenced serving girl were in fact only conversing, the obviously furtive and private nature of the exchange leads the modern reader to the conclusion that something of a more intimate nature was occurring between them. Rimbaud was in possession of a jealous wife, Claudette, and seven children whom he may very well have meant to shield from his indiscretion with the use of obtuse, or non-descript language concerning the dalliance with “fair Marie”. Incidentally, serving employment records from the posting house at Herault, Languedoc, confirm that indeed, a serving maid by the name of Marie HerculĂ© was employed at the time of the hunting party’s visit to the area.

[2] Simon and Shuster, copyright Stuart Siddley McGrosser, 1936.

[3] Artaud Rimbaud was an unfortunate gambler and alcoholic, and he died, facedown, in a Paris gutter in the spring of 1927. He is despised by the current generation of Jean Etienne Rimbaud’s heirs who regard Artaud as the partial destroyer of their amazing family legacy. His disgraceful life is recollected in ARTAUD MICHEL: THE RIMBAUD FAMILY SWINE, by Augustine Rimbaud and Emile Claude Louis Rimbaud-Descarte, a Rimbaud Family Publication, 2003.

[4] Modern analysis of the paper proves it to be, incredibly, copier paper, 20 pound, 92 brightness, manufactured to 8 ½ by 11 standards for American copy machines circa 2007.

[5] Jean Etienne Rimbuad died in a Portuguese hospital in 1862 of acute gastronomies. To the end of his life he maintained the veracity of the manuscript of Herault and left a legacy of several thousand francs to the Paris Museum of Antiquities for the manuscript’s preservation. Unfortunately, the museum directors turned their noses up at Rimbaud’s legacy and posted letters to several Parisian newspapers in the months following Rimbaud’s death, which upon publication stated that they would not stoop to preserve such “merde” in their noted collections. This ranks as one of the worst literary misjudgments of the ages. Preservation of the manuscript fell to the Rimbaud family which they accomplished fairly well until the document fell into the keeping of Artaud Michel Rimbaud. During Artaud’s time numerous wine stains obscured important passages in the manuscript and one section was written over with what appears to be a list of Artaud’s favorite greyhound racing dogs.

[6] Property of the Lefoy family foundation, Dublin Ireland. Quoted with permission. Note that Lefoy’s description of the finding of the manuscript lends credence to the understanding that Rimbaud and the serving woman Marie were, in fact, engaged in amorous activity. The author does not raise this point out of any prurient interest in the matter, but mere to refute the statements of Victorian-era English descendants of Rimbaud who claim that Rimbaud and the maid were not lustful but rather talking about Rimbaud’s recent conversion to the Methodist faith in the cellar. These descendants, specifically Esther Rimbaud Gibson, his niece, of London, England, insisted that the privacy of the exchange between Rimbaud and Marie was owing to the clandestine nature of the religious discourse, as the Methodist faith was then proscribed in the mainly Catholic France. This author humbly disagrees and feels that uncovered facts of this first person account are irrefutable.

[7] For a good, weighty examination of the science surrounding the evaluation of the physical presence of the manuscript please reference Lars Walnissinki’s THE SCIENCE OF THE ONLY KNOWN TIME-TRAVELING MATTER, University of Denmark Press, published 2005. To gain insight and appreciate the significant cultural and literary influence of the manuscript of Herault, whose readers included Jules Verne, C.S. Lewis, Edgar Burroughs, George Eliot, Robert Louis Stevenson, et al., the reader will be interested to read Mark Twain’s non-fiction work “THE WORKS INSPIRED BY CREATINA BY ONE OF THE AUTHORS NAMED THEREIN.” Penguin Classics edition.

[8] The CreatinaHeads as they call themselves are an Internet-based group of CREATINA-obsessives who have vowed to search out the authoress of the manuscript, Creatina herself, and the mysterious guardian in an apparent attempt to avert the predicted cataclysm that threatens New York. The author of this work, while wholly understanding that CREATINA is a work of non-fiction and that an earnest and ominous danger surrounds Manhattan as she writes this, cannot endorse the methods of the CreatinaHeads, which seem brutal and ruthless in their pursuit of the unfortunate girls who are destined to inhabit an unnamed brownstone manor on the upper east side and thereby unleash the forces of hell on the greater New York area and surrounding New Jersey environs.

1 comment:

Adam said...

this is great!!