The Sixteenth Leaf


I am as weak as a lamb. My bones ache and my head is feverish. I sicken at the sight of food and conversation is even worse. How great my surprise then that, under this effect, my mind has been blessed with new ideas, and stories and song? But what good can come from such an illness? And what will happen to my inspiration as the sickness leaves me?

 – Sorren

Art exists for those of us with a feeble imagination. The weaker the vision, the greater shall be the expression and the dissatisfaction of the Lord, for so the Lord stands contrary to art.

— M

What an utterly strange thing it is for a man of Sorren’s class to admit to being weak and frail, even though he hide these sentiments between leaves of parchment. Not only does he admit to these things, but he glorifies himself in such limitations and weaknesses. He further seems to draw inspiration from the ravings of his own sick mind, and even laments the possibility that he should recover. He has acquired some of the same propensities as King Sigmus, namely, one of close introspection. Ironically, I believe this sentiment to be common, and almost universal when one’s muse is followed too far and too closely.

To some, the gift of creativity can sometimes seem like a curse. The gift often comes at a price. Most often, it is only the small price of a lost night of sleep or two. Other times, the price is higher and one is sometimes caught and enslaved to the muse, and in rare cases, one is completely absorbed and channeled by the muse. But the muse is not to blame if one is weak and uncertain in their own soul. This may be what M was referring to in his remarks.

As a curator, my fascination with Sorren is just this very sickness to which he had attributed his creative muse. Sickness is a thing to avoid if one can only not engage in the causes to which the sickness is but a manifestation. Sorren has not tried to avoid this sickness, and I admire him even more as these leaves progress and I see him succumbing more and more to the muse. The sickness is the power, and the sickness is strong, but the sickness can also make stronger, the will of those that have the courage to follow a very difficult and uncertain path. M seems to imply that the Lord has warned us of this sickness and that it should be avoided. I see this a little differently. The warning is that we should remain strong in the grip of this sickness, for this sickness comes close to an understanding of our very soul.