I spent more years than I care to mention (or am capable of remembering) studying psychology and philosophies associated with it. A concept that stuck in my mind was the Ghost in the Machine – described by Gilbert Ryle and expanded on by Arthur Koestler in his novel of the same name. This described the idea that the mental activity acted in parallel to physical action. Koestler supposed that this meant that the human brain had grown upon earlier, more primitive brain structures; structures that could, at times, overpower higher logical functions and result in destructive activity such as hate and anger. It was also the title of a 1981 Police album which is the reason I looked it up and why it still comes to mind.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s ghosts were upmost in my mind, or at least one was, and she held my attention. During this period of time I was visited, or at least I thought I was, by the vision of a lady, dressed in a long black gown and a veil across her face. She appeared a number of times, standing at the bottom of my bed, her eyes just visible. I wasn’t scared, but I was unsettled, especially on the occasion when I turned on the light and she was still there. Then one day, as suddenly as she had begun to appear, she stopped. Yet, dream or true, the image has stayed with me.
Bleed to Love Me is a lovely song by Fleetwood Mac and it came on my player as I sat at my keyboard searching inspiration. Sipping wine I let myself fall into the song and I wondered what story could lie behind such a title. Then the black lace lady came to mind and I knew I had to try and create a history for her; a reason for her ghostly presence. Thoughts of ghosts brought thoughts of the theory and the mind/body dilemma. Patrick Nichols was born, a man with a fragile psyche, liable to doubt himself and open to suggestion. The black lace lady became Catherine and I knew her history would be dark; more so as I created the grotesque Arthur.
So the theory married a memory, wrapped up in a song, to produce a dark, gothic romance with an ice cold heart. I hope people read it, enjoy it and remember it; I hope that I didn’t fail my materials.
About Bleed to Love Her:
Patrick Nichols, a former journalist and now author, rents an old house while he writes a book about the former owner, Arthur LaSalle. This was a man with a wild and controversial life and a violent death; a man whose story can revitalise the mentally scarred Patrick. Then in the night, gliding from the shadows she approaches; taking his dreams and his senses, stealing his heart.
The Black Lace Lady comes and comes again, whispering and pleading as he sleeps. ‘The truth, tell the truth’.