Sketch of Me (Yes, Me!) Circa 1728, originally called
Study For A Portrait of Unknown Man by Maurice Quentin de La Tour

What I am about to express here in this text will have a great likelihood of shock-value that will flutter across the planes like butterflies with halos, carrying blurs to and fro from the mind, like paintbrush-strokes: lacquer across the soul, preserved in the waxing of Doubt, of Disbelief, of a supposed Tomfoolery or mere made-up quaking quacks in a littered space of indivisible fiefdom. With or without believing what will be shed forth is one’s own choosing, one’s own free-will choice, of milk, of snow, of egg, of daisy petal’s songs now in a wind long-gone, or a wind still the color of the substances seen around us in an enchanting Spring garden: what are we but mere canvases, metal, fiberglass, paper: a color before the senses, after the senses: centuries of paint? Unable to explain it to just anyone, including myself.

I have existed in different bodies since the late 17th century. In other words: for centuries. I am not a vampire, as legend might suppose, but I am a living person that has lived for a very, very long time. I say that like one might recite a poem. By “long time,” I do not mean by some art-form tiny in the distance of my being or anyone else’s being, opened up by movements of a bloom-swollen-kind of verisimilitude, worn off, worn away by Time itself, by “existing” in the leap-up, the art-form, or mere ‘chance’ such as spinning Wheel of Fortune’s titular wheel mechanism: (the kind of sound you remember in childhood, perhaps: the sounds that it made from a living-room in some summer evening: The Host of The Show, the Ultimate Optimist or an objective mask: his voice obfuscated in the illegible white background noise of it all), but, no, think of it like Keats and the thought of the Invisible Tongue so as to keep words from getting gummed-up or dirtied, but preferring them to be contaminated by celestial, collaged, dreamwheel-mechanisms of distortion (the way that Picasso was the real ‘founder’ of collage, perhaps), and little florets are plucked, tickling the fractured funny bone, the way that a dog might come and sniff the back of your knee as you are out dining upon some tasty sustenance, sipping entities or entiTEA in the sunshine, while the owner of the said dog rushes to drag the dog off, while you are thinking of the idea of The Horseman’s headless horse, which is more like it.

Once again, I repeat: I HAVE EXISTED IN DIFFERENT BODIES SINCE THE LATE 17TH CENTURY. Universal lineages? Universal heritages? I only know what I know, or have come to remember, so vividly, so delightfully!

To begin, I was a long-time friend of the French Rococo portraitist, Maurice Quentin de La Tour, who was a charming, brilliant individual, who seemingly never let anything bother him. He collected strange objects and had several dogmatic rituals he would perform during his daily routines, which were looked upon as “odd” and always smiled, and told silly jokes. His heart was light. His skin was thick as a multi-layed callous with steel-plates attached to it (metaphorically, of course: he wasn’t easily-offended by any stretch of the imagination!). When asked about how he ended up departing his hometown and winding up in London, he said that he was merely intrigued by the scene and knew “someone there” (he didn’t say who exactly) that wanted him to “join” this particular individual (a woman?), and gave no explanation (I asked, but he obfuscated) but laughed and laughed when speaking about it. He tooted a horn or three before putting to rest the “outrageous rumor” that spread about him in relation to the married woman that he supposedly “fell in love with” who, along with her husband, had tricked him one night when La Tour had expected to have a nightly-romance, but turned sour when they tricked him into hanging from a basket outside of her house (you can read this tale anywhere, but I’ve known it to be false all-along; or, at the least, I believe La Tour’s side of the story). In a rebuttal, La Tour tells me that this “outrageous” “rogue” “pluckable pincher” (his words: not certain what he meant by ‘pluckable pincher’, but I recall it with ease!) was a rumor that was started by a fellow that had grown maliciously envious of him and wanted to “ruin him” for reasons unknown. (If this sounds far-fetched, then it should; I am not expecting anyone to believe me!)

In any event, with or without the detritus of putting the proper language to these impressions so as to have them rise into a fruitful coaxing isn’t my intention, and if they are looked upon like the dying embers and waves settling after crashing into the sabliere, then so be it...

What I will express now, and what everyone should be privy to, is that La Tour had me ‘sit’ for many of his sketches, but most of the occasions I could barely contain myself and remain stoic for his wit-whistled expertise because of the smiling, the laughter that he would have me contained in, like waves of joke-bubbles exploding into my external-composition (in which case, on one occasion, La Tour arose and started dancing, leaping into the air like a gazelle fleeing from a predator, yet gleeful, as if tipsy-toeing upon the beak of the Dodo, the way we all await some “big moment” to occur out of anywhere, and having made his way over to me, began making marks upon my face! He then briskly ran goofily back to his seat, expecting me to remain still, which in this incident did not occur! So, we had drinks instead and he then began telling me of several people* that had “interest” in me, all of these individuals remarkably, and quaintly, paralleling my entire 20th and 21st Century Timeline).

However, there is one sketch in particular that is the center of the entire purpose of sharing this information, and it is the one that I have showcased called “Study For A Portrait of Unknown Man”. Now, if I were to inform the reader that this “unknown man” is myself, one would likely laugh or raise one’s eyebrows (or both) and would understandably find it difficult to believe (“Poppycock!” one might even scream outloud!).

On the contrary, dear readers, that is indeed me you see in this sketch.

For further consideration: In the “Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania Biography: Illustrated, Volume 13,” one can find documented a paralleled version of myself of what I would resemble today, having been born September 6th, 1696 (a photograph, if it had of been possible, would have resembled me today, circa 2017, in the year 1731 if one synchronizes my current age today versus then, etc.). I came from a background of settlers. I was, indeed, married and had children, so at least those documents can be found to be accurate. Not only was I living in France as a native Frenchman as now known as “The Unknown Man” (I have no recollection of my French name, unfortunately.) It was circa 1728, however, that the portrait of me that you see showcased was sketched. I was 32 years of age, which was roughly one year or thereabouts after La Tour told me that he had “made his glad return to France”. Our friendship lasted many, many years.

According to the text cited above, I “died” in the year 1776 (if looking at it from a paralleled viewpoint), but this is inaccurate information, of course. I have been alive, at the least, since the late 17th century, and have lived numerous lives. This past June, I celebrated my 321st Birthday (that I know of).


*The “people” that La Tour stated were “interested” in me were three women of which—as previously stated—parallel women that I’ve known in my current state of existing in the 20th and 21st centuries, although the stories of each of our connections do not coincide with then and now, but oddly, each of them are named the same—three of them: Elizabeth, Elisabeth (with an ‘s’) and Elizabeth again. (La Tour joked that they were triplets! Turns out, they were each of different family backgrounds). Two of them had mental breakdowns, almost eerily similar, and the final Elizabeth was really more interested in La Tour than she was me, but La Tour disregarded it, and nothing ever became of it.

                 My old friend, Maurice Quentin de La Tour, Self-portrait with Lace Jabot, 1751

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