We can’t help but wonder what Counselman would think of Annihilation.
The Black Stone Statue
by Mary Elizabeth Counselman
narrated by George Cleveland
Museum of Fine Arts,
Today I have just received aboard the S. S. Madrigal your most kind cable, praising my work and asking—humbly, as one might ask it of a true genius!—if I would do a statue of myself to be placed among the great in your illustrious museum. Ah, gentlemen, that cablegram was to me the last turn of the screw!
I despise myself for what I have done in the name of art. Greed for money and acclaim, weariness with poverty and the contempt of my inferiors, hatred for a world that refused to see any merit in my work: these things have driven me to commit a series of strange and terrible crimes.
In these days I have thought often of suicide as a way out—a coward’s way, leaving me the fame I do not deserve. But since receiving your cablegram, lauding me for what I am not and never could be, I am determined to write this letter for the world to read. It will explain everything. And having written it, I shall then atone for my sin in (to you, perhaps) a horribly ironic manner but (to me) one that is most fitting.