Olivia Parsons

Like a Botticelli Venus-Aphrodite, Olivia Parsons arose out of the fruth (froth-of-truth) of the creative currents of Wake the Dust. (As far as I know no testicles were lost in her conception. For those unfamiliar with the mythology of the Birth of Venus-Aphrodite: Uranus’ testicles were tossed into the ocean, after being snipped by his son Cronus with a sickle, forged by Gaia). I am not in any way suggesting that Olivia Parsons has divine origins or aspirations; she is all too human. It is her vulnerability and confusion about the human condition and conditioning that are the source of her reflections in her writings.

I had completed the final edits for my novel Wake the Dust, and we sent off the required documentation to seek permission for copyright for some of the poetry I had used in the novel. In the meantime, I started on plan B, in case we had trouble with copyright.

Plan B: create a fictitious poet to write the poetry in the dark Underworld scene: a call and response between Ella and the dead poet. Also, a call out to Tom who is searching for Ella. The metaphor is clear and direct: poetry and literature have the power to reach through time and space to connect the human heart.

Beginning to write these lines of poetry through a fictitious character was like, as I described above, watching a vision arise out of murky water fully formed. Olivia Parson’s, with her whole back story and a fierce determination that wouldn’t be denied, erupted onto the page. I stopped trying to control what was emerging and surrendered to Olivia and listened to what she had to say and wrote it down. 

Rapidly I realised, along with my publisher Ian, that another book was emerging out of the creative hubble-and-bubble of words.

Working title: Olivia Parsons, Lost letters and poems

These letters and poems were written to Olivia’s friend Violet or Vee.

They are the only remaining writings of Olivia’s because she died in a housefire along with her papers and writings. She was thirty-five years old.

Simone Bailey, Violet’s niece who edited the letters to publish the small volume of Olivia’s writings, hints that there may have been foul play that caused the fire that ended Olivia’s life in 1928.

It is a work-in-progress where anything could happen.


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