Mastodon The Writing Desk: Blog Tour Excerpt: The Dream Collector “Sabrine & Vincent van Gogh” by: R.W. Meek

2 July 2024

Blog Tour Excerpt: The Dream Collector “Sabrine & Vincent van Gogh” by: R.W. Meek

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Sabrine, hospitalized for five years at the infamous Salpêtrière Asylum for Women, gains her release due to intervention of her sister Julie Forette and a young Sigmund Freud. The reunited sisters are introduced to the dazzling art milieu of 1886 Paris, and soon become close friends to the leading Impressionists. Sabrine attracts a cult following as a poetess, the enigmatic "Haiku Princess." Seemingly cured by Freud of her Grand Hysteria, Sabrine soon enters into a tumultuous relationship with Vincent van Gogh.

The Dream Collector Excerpt:  

WE TOOK the first steps toward the opened gate, only to hesitantly stop at the sound of harsh shouting. From the fifth story windows of the Pinel Building we saw indistinct faces peering through the bars. The top floor housed les isolees, the isolated ones, those women considered irrevocably insane. They were now greatly agitated, shouting down at us with a desperate plea— “Take us! Take us with you! Take us, too!”
    I was familiar with the isolated ward, on occasions visiting them. Some of the more unmanageable had to be straight-jacketed, a few chained, but I found that whenever I approached even the worst of the raging women, just to loosen the straitjacket and patiently hold a hand made their rage in time vanish; though unable to recognize who I might be, each and every woman soon turned trustingly docile.
    Now I watched them crowded at the bars; their plight appeared more hopeless than ever. A clamorous chant arose from every window— “Sabrine! Sabrine! Sabrine!”
    Word had spread, even among les isolees, that Sabrine was gaining her freedom. My sister listened, not at all perturbed, to the chorus of troubled minds calling out to her. Behind their bars did they think her name alone was a talisman to set them free? “Sabrine, Sabrine!”
    And she let go of my hand. Anonymous faces pressed against the bars of the windows and a myriad of disembodied hands reached through, grasping at nothing but air. Sabrine directed her gaze toward them, her look one of utter serenity. When she closed her eyes, I tried not to panic, but feared that she might be on the verge of a hystero-epileptic attack. She dropped the portmanteau to the ground, outstretched her arms to the ward above. (I will swear, to this day, my sister embraced in that moment every broken heart.)

R.W. Meek 

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About the Author

R.W. Meek has a Master’s degree in Art History from the American University in Washington, D.C., his areas of expertise are Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, with a particular interest in Vincent van Gogh.  His first novel The Dream Collector “Sabrine & Sigmund Freud” was voted runner-up by the Historical Fiction Company for best novel of 2022. Born in Baltimore, he currently resides with his wife Pamela in Santa Clarita, California. He’s passionate about art, cinema, literature and jazz. His two dogs, Reve and Banjo, were awarded angelic status in heaven. Find our more from and on Facebook.

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