- File Size: 2927 KB
- Print Length: 632 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Castalia House (December 12, 2017)
- Publication Date: December 12, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0787XLK4H
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,324 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon Kindle Edition
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Moira Greyland is the daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley and this is her story of surviving the abuse by her parents. Furthermore, it's a rather surreal and disorientating journey into the world of Marion Zimmer Bradley and her husband. I found myself often disturbed and revolted by reading about their actions but also fascinated by the bizarre pocket universe which the parents created for their children. Indeed, I often felt guilty by my interest as Moira Greyland's words are coming from the heart even as its clear her parents were plain bizarre even when NOT betraying every covenant a decent human being should have with their family.
Moira Greyland gives a portrayal of her parents which is both humanizing as well as not remotely forgiving. Marion Zimmer Bradley was a horrifically abused victim of her own family, tortured and betrayed by her parents, but one cannot ignore the fact she passed this down while her daughter did not. My own loved ones include victims of sexual assault and their anger at pedophiles using their own history of abuse as a defense cannot be understated. Walter Breen is depicted as a man suffering severe mental illness who should have been permanently treated for it but was allowed to go free because the money for it ran out.
Moira's own childhood is a mixture of many contradictory ideas, especially in terms of how her mother attempted to mold her child into aradical feminist based on her own evolving ideals of the concept. Speaking as a feminist, there is nothing more revolting than a woman torturing another woman based on her own ideals of how it should be. Marion Zimmer Bradley's own confused ideas of sexuality were also something she attempted to imprint on her daughter even as she struggled to express her own sexuality.
The book has a rather hefty one-two punch toward the Science Fiction and Fantasy fandom of America which is, frankly, deserved. Marion Zimmer Bradley and her husband were aided and abetted by people who adored her as a kind of living saint. People who often, if not always, turned a blind eye to the deprivations going on. I have severe issues with Vox Day, who wrote the foreword, but for once we're entirely in agreement and I'm glad he helped in this book seeing the light of day.
Some should note Moira has some beliefs which they may find distressing and are the result of her experiences. I refer to the fact she is against gay marriage and doesn't believe homosexuality is a choice. Thankfully, she doesn't equate homosexuality with pedophilia and notes her parents hid behind the defense the way other famous actors [read: Kevin Spacey] are presently doing. It would be grossly unfair to let this overshadow any of the deeply personal and courageous narrative she's sharing.
This is a painful book to read, especially if you have children or loved ones. Doubly so if you have the latter who have suffered sexual abuse. Nevertheless, it is a book which absolutely has to be read. I feel almost embarrassed to add it also is an excellent guide to the inner workings of the science fiction circles of 70s and 80s as well but it is. This is a painful book to read about some bizarre grotesques but the sad fact is the very human Alice in her distorted terrible Wonderland was forced to keep much of this secret until now.
Here's how important it was to me: I had a backlog of 9 books to read and review, 9 books by 9 good authors, that I expect to enjoy reading.
THIS book was just released today, and I grabbed it up, and started reading immediately. Because it was important. It IS important.
I just finished about 30 minutes ago; and I found myself being continually astounded that this person is ALIVE, much less strong enough to speak out. She has been diagnosed with Complex PTSD, which occurs as a result of repetitive, prolonged trauma involving harm or abandonment by a caregiver or other interpersonal relationships with an uneven power dynamic. Standard PTSD, such as that experienced by soldiers who have been slammed into a concrete barrier by a 155mm rocket attack, while trying to herd civilians safely into a bunker, is relatively easier to treat; and it ain't no walk in the park.
I'd read about an incident that seemed unreal in its' depravity, and I'd go to Google. Every. Single. Time. I'd discover that there is plenty of evidence to corroborate the story.
She says of her father, who raped her at age five, then continued to pursue her, in an attempt to get her to participate willingly:
"His insistence on nudity made me feel uneasy, because I was aware of his sexual interest in everything which breathed and I was afraid that one day I might breathe around him."
Her mother was a monster who twice tried to beat her to death, and then blamed her for being such a bad child. And who sexually molested her from the time she was 3 until she was 12, and was able to walk away from THAT aspect of abuse.
Sometimes, her language is without emotional content, as she describes the horror of being raped by one of her father's friends.
At other times, she speaks with word pictures that strike to the heart. She compares the near destruction of her life with a page torn from a notebook, with the tear concealed against the background:
"it’s fooled me before
but only until I wanted
to write on the part no longer there"
I don't think I would be able to read this story if I hadn't seen her powerful presentation recently; it reassures me that she is, if not OKAY, at least functional, determined, and fighting for healing. She was speaking at a function called Teens4Truth. It is my understanding that the room was filled with Children Of Gay parents (COG), and that the conference spoke to some specific needs that population has.
Their experiences are not all as horrid as hers, but one of the common threads, as I understand it, is that the members of the COG community are far more likely to experience distress from the lack of both male AND female parents. I won't go into that further, because their stories are not mine to tell, and there are members of that community who are much more effective at presenting the issue than I could be. HOWEVER, their stories are not being heard, and THAT is the continuing tragedy.
Walter Breen and Marion Zimmer Bradley are both dead, and cannot harm anyone physically. The reason that they were able to do so, for so many DECADES, is because members of the science fiction community, the press, and law enforcement refused to impose any sort of sanction against their predatory behavior. Most of the offenses took place in Berkeley, California, starting in the early 1960s, and that's one of the primary sources for the concept that individual freedom outweighs EVERYTHING ELSE; or, more exactly, ADULT individual freedom. That last must be added, because the concept of a child being free from seduction and exploitation never seems to be an issue. The value was 'If it feels good, do it,' did not include the disclaimer 'unless it harms yourself or another.'
And that's the same position of too many sources of power today.
Moira carefully looks at the issue of consent, and reaches a conclusion I cannot help but agree with: CONSENT cannot be regarded as the ultimate permission slip. Reason: there are many who are not ABLE to provide informed consent. Children are first on the list, and as far as I know, that is the law in the United States. It's a contentious issue, as demonstrated by the recent senatorial race in Alabama, where the perceived inability to give informed consent was implicit in the accusations that a then-30 year old lawyer had inappropriately had some form of sexual contact with teenage girls.
Beyond that, there are adults who may not be able to give informed consent, due to a history of abuse. They may be actually incapable of resisting a manipulative predator.
Moira Greyland did more than survive. She has continued to grow in strength, and with support, she defies the darkness. But she still has a long road ahead of her, and I hope that she will always keep in mind the fact that by her actions, some who have been targeted will reach out for help; and some predators will be exposed.
I fear that she will be attacked for her position; that interests who know NOTHING of her experience, nothing of research, know nothing except the current political narrative, will savage her for daring to speak out. They will be condemned by their own words if they do.
In any event, let those of us who read this book, and have some inkling of what price she has paid to write her story, offer her Sanctuary. Let her find in our humble acceptance and gratitude and respect the safe place she needs. Let our arms shelter her.
Are ya with me?