Recently, I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that some artists and writers have been criminals of the worst kind. Last year I came to terms with the reality of Enid Blyton’s unfortunate treatment of her daughters and her husband. I sometimes wonder why a person who was smart enough to write such good stories wasn’t able to figure out that she’s not mom-material? If you are so wrapped up in yourself and your art/writing, stop yourself from creating and then ruining lives. And yet, however dark we may paint Enid Blyton’s character, it pales in comparison to what certain other writers and artists did.
One of my Facebook acquaintances happened to mention the dark past of Marion Zimmer Bradley (Mists of Avalon fame) and it made me cry. I don’t know how I and why I ended up reading about Eric Gill (the artist who is credited with the creation of Gill Sans and Perpetua fonts among others.) I almost gagged when I learned about his terrible past. A lot of artists and writers are a little unhinged, but they took their aberrations to the darkest and the deepest crevices that might exist in the floor of hell. These artists and writers, in my opinion, shouldn’t be read and their works should be destroyed totally. This isn’t likely to happen though. Why would a publishing house stop publishing Bradley, a tremendously successful author; and why would the current owners of the installations made by Eric Gill (who also did Pen and Ink Art,) raze their hundreds of thousands of Dollars worth of assets to the ground? They won’t.
Oddly enough, I care. I feel glad that I never read Blyton, or Bradley for that matter. I hope that I haven’t used Perpetua or any other font created by any other incestuous pedophile.
But then, there might be a lot of other criminals lurking behind the masks of perfectly normal, slightly cranky artists. The whole idea scares me. It drills a huge hole in my ship of trust and respect for the creators of art and literature – and I fret that if that hole isn’t filled soon, the ship may sink, leaving a hollow in my heart.
I am grateful to all the artists and writers who continue to hold on to reality – each does it in his own way; they often make sacrifices that are visible only to them – but they do, because they don’t want their short-comings to affect the lives of others.
I read that there’s a school of thought that says, “separate the writer from the writing, the artist from the art.” I don’t think it’s possible. At least for me, they are inextricably linked – because art is made from the artist’s experiences – and regardless of how it was celebrated before we knew about the artist’s past, we must stop our adulation now.
The usual, brighter stuff coming up soon.