Be careful what you fish for . . .

Especially on the Internet.  In a routine internet search for books by Marion Zimmer Bradley to recover books for my much depleted collection, I found a notice from 2014 that the author of The Mists of Avalon, the Darkover series, and numerous others had repeatedly molested her children as they grew up.  Her daughter, Moira Greyland, reported that fact, says that she called the police on Walter Breen, MZB’s husband. Apparently, he was a repeat molester and spent the last years of life in jail.  I don’t know if he’s still alive.

Moira Greyland has published a poem on a web site about what sounded like an attempt to drown Moira in a bathtub.  It’s called “My Mother’s Hands.”  She says she was molested from age 3 to age 12, when she could walk away. MZB was the perpetrator, not Walter Breen. Everyone around MZB cloaked that information in silence to protect her reputation. I have heard nothing from the sons of MZB.  I think still yet that it’s harder for boys to report such matters, though mother-son molestation does happen.  I know people it has happened to.

Molestation happens to one in four women walking the streets.  It happened to me, and through therapy, I have learned much about what happens to the predator and how to cope with my past.  I know what it’s like and my heart aches for Moira Greyland.  In her case it had to be emotionally wrenching for the very fact that MZB was a famous author.  Others must have felt the need to protect MZB because of her prestige and fame, which made her more important and powerful than the repeatedly hurt and emotionally damaged child.  But in the house of any molested child, “don’t tell” is true, whether the perp is famous or obscure.  A family breakup is always imminent for a child who lives with a perpetrator and an enabling parent. That’s one layer of the fear the child carries within. The perp knows this, and uses that threat on a child, who wants so badly for the family to remain intact.  Every child longs for an intact family.  In many cases, it’s as hard to forgive the enabler, who could have helped the child escape, but chose not to, for whatever reason. It’s harmful if they leave for if divorce occurs, the child feels guilt, or if they stay to preserve family life, since the child has to pay the price of being molested.

This leads up to the point of this entry.  I had to throw my MZB books away.  I only had two: The Mists of Avalon and Lady of Avalon.  I couldn’t continue to have them in my house.  My mind kept itching on the matter.  My conscience, telling me that a wrong was being done.  In my larger collection, I had more: two were autographed.  I read and enjoyed the Darkover series, though there are other series I enjoyed more.  I never met MZB, but I’ve heard mixed reports.  She was not a favorite, but was an author I read and enjoyed.  Until now.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to read any book by MZB in future.  I don’t know if time will change my feelings, if I will get over the shock, but right now this knowledge changes the way I feel about her writings.  I can’t read them in the same way.  I tried last night.  I opened Mists of Avalon and the knowledge of what happened to Moira Greyland overshadowed every word.  I can’t  think of MZB in the same way.  I might have been able to forgive anything else.  But I was a molested child, and I can’t think of myself as a good person if I keep her work.

Separate the art from the person?  The art comes from the person.  Any high and noble sentiments contained in the art screams out “lie!”  I can’t suspend my disbelief. Any sin will change one’s view of the artist, but the fact remains that I shared similar experiences to those of Moira Greyland. Oh, no one tried to drown me, but there are fears and doubts and wounds that we carry because of our experiences.  Even if I have named myself Loreguardian, there is a time and a place where the lore ends, and reality reigns.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mitchteemley
    May 05, 2015 @ 16:36:46

    Wow, hadn’t heard this. Do you know if MZB herself was molested as a child? So common. Not to excuse it, though. We all inherit legacies (“the sins of the fathers”) that God tasks us to break.



    • loreguardian
      May 05, 2015 @ 16:42:37

      It is common, and might have been the case. Most distressing.

      I admired her, but for now, I can’t keep her work in my house. I hope God heals this wound in time. It is important that survivors be believed and supported. Makes it more complex in that MZB is not here to comment.



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