Spookymilk Survivor Challenge #3: Letter of Resignation

No, I’m not resigning from Spookymilk’s WGOM writer’s challenge — that IS the challenge: write a letter of resignation for a public figure, either real or fictional. And once more, The Winner Group comes out very well — results.

Several ideas came to me initially: the designer/manufacturer of Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe, a young Adolph Hitler resigning as secretary of the Jewish Appreciation League, etc. I wanted to write something a bit dated, so I could play with a different writing style, and eventually I picked one I wanted to try: Nostradamus.

First order of the day was to hit Wikipedia for some basics. Since this was an “ancient” letter, and especially since it was written by Nostradamus, I thought it would be appropriate to include a scholarly header with a few notations to set things up. The letter itself consists of three quatrains; quatrain #1-35T is based on real quatrain #1-35 (btw, note the suffixes on the three quatrain numbers).

“Letter of Resignation” from Michel de Nostredame, to Catherine de Médicis, queen consort of King Henri II, dated 1558 – English translation by Garencières in 1672

Nostradamus’ resignation from his position as Counselor and Physician-in-Ordinary to future King Charles IX, most scholars agree, was due to his prediction of catastrophe befalling France and specifically the reign of King Henri II, while others see it as nothing more than a “cash grab” and an excuse to return to the apothecary trade. In reality, it was probably a combination of the two reasons.

Since the quatrains within this letter lie outside those of his published book “The Prophecies”, they have been designated as Quatrain #1-32W, #1-35T, and #1-52F. The meaning of the last quatrain remains a mystery to all researchers to this day.

Catherine de Médicis

With darkness overhead a Seer’s quill writes,
Only a fortnight hence until a departure.
No longer dispensing assistance most needed in Gaul,
Future Monarch and Mother search for a time a new servant.

The grand empire will be quickly reduced,
A tiny area, this will very soon expend;
In the middle of which he will come to lay down his scepter.
The Prophet escapes with little hesitation lest he suffer.

A young horse will be received through barter by the Smithy.
For a season the moaning of the populace will be heard;
In the targeted arena an unexpected improvement made,
Returns triumphantly a D and O to the given name.

  x   Michel de Nostredame  

For the meat of the letter, I decided on three quatrains: 1) Nostradamus gives his two-week notice, which I thought is a bit humorous, 2) dire predictions for the kingdom, and Nostradamus leaving while the leaving is good, and 3) Delmon!

No Nostradamus writing is complete without some mystery, so I composed a Nostradamus-like quatrain about Delmon Young with the Twins, especially considering his improved play this year has been brought up more than once at WGOM. It also makes reference to the inside joke of spelling his name _elm_n (he has no “D” and no “O”), which considering his offense and defense are much improved this season, the joke doesn’t really apply any more. And yes, I know he had more than one season of Teh Suck in Minnesota before turning it around, but “a season” sounded better, and can’t you cut poor Nostradamus a break here?

2 responses to “Spookymilk Survivor Challenge #3: Letter of Resignation

  1. Well done.

  2. Nice work, Rhu_ru. Way more high-brow/creative than the usual Delmon jokes. Didn’t see it coming at all.

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