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Marion Zimmer Bradley: It’s Worse Than I Knew - Printable Version

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Marion Zimmer Bradley: It’s Worse Than I Knew - Phlegethon - 2014 Jun 29 17:36

Marion Zimmer Bradley: It’s Worse Than I Knew

June 10, 2014 by Deirdre

Updated
Trigger warning: child rape, child abuse

Moira Greyland (MZB and Walter Breen’s daughter) has agreed to let me share her email.

This is really hard stuff to read, and I’ve just thrown up my lunch. I knew about none of this part of things until a few minutes ago.

Hello Deirdre.

It is a lot worse than that.

The first time she molested me, I was three. The last time, I was twelve, and able to walk away.

I put Walter in jail for molesting one boy. I had tried to intervene when I was 13 by telling Mother and Lisa, and they just moved him into his own apartment.

I had been living partially on couches since I was ten years old because of the out of control drugs, orgies, and constant flow of people in and out of our family “home.”

None of this should be news. Walter was a serial rapist with many, many, many victims (I named 22 to the cops) but Marion was far, far worse. She was cruel and violent, as well as completely out of her mind sexually. I am not her only victim, nor were her only victims girls.

I wish I had better news.

Moira Greyland.

Followed up with:

It should also be noted that Walter was convicted on 13 counts of PC 288 A, B, C, and D.

Oral sex was the least of anyone’s worries.

No. Words.

Mother’s Hands

I’ve updated this post to add two pieces by Moira Greyland with her permission. This is the first.

Reprinted with permission.

Mother’s Hands
© 2000 Moira Stern (Moira Greyland) in “honor” of my mother, Marion Zimmer Bradley

I lost my mother late last year
Her epitaph I’m writing here
Of all the things I should hold dear
Remember Mother’s hands

Hands to strangle, hands to crush
Hands to make her children blush
Hands to batter, hands to choke
Make me scared of other folk

But ashes for me, and dust to dust
If I can’t even trust
Mother’s hands.

They sent me sprawling across a room
The bathtub nearly spelled my doom
Explaining my persistent gloom
Remember Mother’s hands.

And hands that touched me way down there
I still pretend that I don’t care
Hands that ripped my soul apart
My healing goes in stop and start

Never a mark did she leave on me
No concrete proof of cruelty
But a cross-shaped scar I can barely see
The knife in Mother’s hands.

So Mother’s day it comes and goes
No Hallmark pretense, deep red rose
Except blood-red with her actions goes
It drips off Mother’s hands.

The worst of all my mother did
Was evil to a little kid
The mother cat she stoned to death
She told to me with even breath

And no remorse was ever seen
Reality was in between
Her books, her world, that was her life
The rest of us a source of strife.

She told me that I was not real
So how could she think I would feel
But how could she look in my eyes
And not feel anguish at my cries?

And so I give you Mother’s hands
Two evil, base, corrupted hands
And lest her memory forget
I’m still afraid of getting wet.

The bathtub scene makes me see red
With water closing over my head
No little girl should fear to die
Her mother’s fury in her eye!

But both her hands were choking me
And underwater again I’d be
I think she liked her little game
But I will never be the same

I’m still the girl who quakes within
And tries to rip off all her skin
I’m scared of water, scared of the dark
My mother’s vicious, brutal mark.

In self-admiring tones she told
Of self restraint in a story old.
For twice near death she’d beaten me,
And now she wants my sympathy.

I’ve gone along for quite awhile,
Never meant to make you smile
But here and now I make my stand
I really hate my mother’s hands.
They Did Their Best

By Moira Greyland

The cry of our day is to smile as we say
Something pat that sounds like understanding
And those of us left who still cry when bereft
Risk guilt trips upon our heads landing

Something pat that sounds like understanding
So the ones of us left Who still cry when bereft
Risk guilt trips upon our heads landing

For the party line now Is to claim that somehow
Everybody somehow did their best
So the ones who did wrong Goes the new New Age song
Aren’t to blame, we should lay this to rest.

But it’s lies, there are villains who are still out there killing
Or else for our courts there’s no need
Our jails are not filled With innocents willed
By a system corrupted with greed.

My mother did her best, yes she really did her best
To drown me for not being her willing lover
My daddy did his best, oh he really did his best
And forced his preteen boyfriends to bend over.

Some people are sick, like to make people suffer
Some people just turn a blind eye
But pretending a monster is ribbons and lace
May condemn a small child to die.

My husband was a cop and much child abuse had stopped
Like the mom who put her baby on the stove
She threw him out of sight but the smell she couldn’t hide
And she didn’t come out smelling like a rose.

Did that mommy do her best? Would you tell that little one
“Forgive her dear, she must have been insane”
Would you tell that to those burns, To that lie will you return
And hurt those shining eyes so full of pain?

A victim does his best, a victim does her best
To love and live and give up grief and malice
But when we had no love, but what came down from Above
It’s surprising we have not become more callous.

And how to learn to cope And not give up all my hope
Is painful far enough without your lies
But if you had seen me then With blood pouring off my skin
Would you have turned a deaf ear to my cries??

And told me “Mommy did her best, yes, she really did her best
So stop crying and stop bleeding and forgive her
To cut you she’s the right, and to throw you out of sight
And not love you till you sexually deliver!!


http://deirdre.net/marion-zimmer-bradley-its-worse-than-i-knew/


RE: Marion Zimmer Bradley: It’s Worse Than I Knew - Phlegethon - 2014 Jun 29 17:39

SFF community reeling after Marion Zimmer Bradley's daughter accuses her of abuse

Moira Greyland's claims that she was molested by the late fantasy author have horrified readers and writers who had been inspired by her work

Alison Flood
theguardian.com, Friday 27 June 2014 09.08 BST

The world of science fiction and fantasy is in shock, following news that the daughter of the bestselling late fantasy author Marion Zimmer Bradley has accused her mother of abusing her as a child.

Authors such as John Scalzi, G Willow Wilson and Jim Hines have reacted to the allegations against a woman who had been regarded a pillar of the SFF community with horror. The writer Janni Lee Simner has announced she will be donating her earnings from a story set in a fictional world created by Bradley to an anti-abuse charity.

Moira Greyland, Bradley's daughter, went public with her accusation on the blog of the author Deirdre Saoirse Moen earlier this month, giving Moen permission to quote from an email in which she wrote: "The first time she molested me, I was three. The last time, I was 12, and able to walk away … She was cruel and violent, as well as completely out of her mind sexually. I am not her only victim, nor were her only victims girls."

Greyland is the daughter of Bradley and Walter Breen, who was jailed for child molestation and died in prison. Greyland wrote in her email to Moen: "I put Walter in jail for molesting one boy ... Walter was a serial rapist with many, many, many victims (I named 22 to the cops) but Marion was far, far worse."

SFF fans are reeling at the news. Bradley, who died in 1999, has been a celebrated author, beloved for her take on the Arthurian legend, The Mists of Avalon, which told the story from the perspectives of the women behind the throne, and for the Darkover stories. Set on a planet colonised by humans, the world of Darkover has continued in anthologies written by other authors.

The accusations have already led one of these writers, Janni Lee Simner, to announce that she is donating the royalties and advances she made from her Darkover stories to the anti-abuse charity RAINN. Simner wrote on her blog that "I remain proud of the Darkover stories I've written, and I respect the many fellow writers who also got their start on the pages of MZB's anthologies and in her magazine. MZB played a huge role in many of our careers, and it's not my intention to deny that, or to deny how deeply many readers were touched – and in some cases saved – by MZB's work. But I also can't deny the harm caused by the flawed creator of that work. What I can do is see to it that my having written in her worlds goes towards fighting those same hurts and abuses in the places they're happening now."

Others said they would not be reading Bradley's novels again. The Hugo award-winning author John Scalzi called the allegations "horrific" on Twitter, while the World Fantasy award winner G Willow Wilson said she was "speechless".

"I can forgive artists for falling short of their ideals," she tweeted, "but not for CHILD ABUSE. Will never recommend any of her work again. You can't cover shit in gold leaf and then claim it doesn't stink."

Jim Hines, who received his "very first rejection letter" from Bradley, and who went on to sell stories to to Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine and to her anthology Sword & Sorceress XXI, wrote on his blog: "I'm proud of those stories. I believe the Sword & Sorceress series was important, and I'm grateful to Bradley for creating it. I believe her magazine helped a lot of new writers, and her books helped countless readers. All of which makes the revelations about Marion Zimmer Bradley protecting a known child rapist and molesting her own daughter and others even more tragic."

Greyland, writing to the Guardian via email, said that she had not spoken out before "because I thought that my mother's fans would be angry with me for saying anything against someone who had championed women's rights and made so many of them feel differently about themselves and their lives. I didn't want to hurt anyone she had helped, so I just kept my mouth shut".

Greyland, a harpist, singer and opera director, said it was now clear to her that "one reason I never said anything is that I regarded her life as being more important than mine: her fame more important, and assuredly the comfort of her fans as more important. Those who knew me, knew the truth about her, but beyond that, it did not matter what she had done to me, as long as her work and her reputation continued."

She hailed the "outpouring of love and support" which has followed her revelations. "What has happened in the past 20 years, apparently, is that rape, child abuse and incest have been enough in the public eye for them to be accepted, and victims and survivors to routinely be believed now, and there are so many survivors among my mother's fans, as well as supporters of survivors and decent people who care about the truth that my mother is now being held to the very standards she wrote about," her email continued.

"I am so glad I spoke out, because on the blog, so many people have shared their OWN stories of abuse and incest and heartbreak. I am going to keep talking about it, if only so that those people who need to share their own stories will do so now."

After Greyland spoke out earlier this month, Deborah J Ross, author and editor of Darkover anthologies, tweeted in response to a question about the claims: "Only half the story is being told. Please be careful about believing sensationalist rumors online."

Ross, who worked with Bradley on Darkover novels, has subsequently apologised for the tweet in a blog calling it "ill-considered".

"I was wrong about the story, and I was wrong to say what I did. I am deeply sorry for the pain I caused," wrote Ross. "I was shocked and appalled by the story as related by Marion's daughter. I had no prior knowledge of any misdeeds by Marion, and it was completely inappropriate for me to comment. Nothing I have said should be taken as a justification or defence of child abuse. As for Walter Breen, like many others, I was misled into believing that he had not acted on his proclivities. When I found out the truth, I was horrified, and I assisted the police in the investigation of the second set of charges that resulted in his incarceration. I ask for your understanding and patience with me for the time it has taken me to respond. I offer the victims my wholehearted support and prayers for healing."

Russell Galen, the literary agent for the Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, which owns the copyrights to the literary works of Marion Zimmer Bradley and which is administered by an outside trustee, said he and the trustee were "aware of the allegations that have been made".

"Marion is deceased and we are not able to ask her about her side of the story, nor do we have any personal knowledge of the events that are being described. All we can say is that during the decades in which we worked with her, we found Marion to be a great friend and enormously kind person. She was much loved by many friends, especially in the literary community where she supported the careers of many writers at considerable personal expense. That's just a statement of fact based on personal knowledge, and is not meant to be a response to these allegations," Galen told the Guardian.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/27/sff-community-marion-zimmer-bradley-daughter-accuses-abuse


RE: Marion Zimmer Bradley: It’s Worse Than I Knew - Phlegethon - 2014 Jun 29 17:55

I always considered Marion Zimmer Bradley's novels utter shite. There are far more interesting female SF/fantasy writers like Ursula K. LeGiun and Tanith Lee.


RE: Marion Zimmer Bradley: It’s Worse Than I Knew - Xmia - 2014 Jul 14 19:02

My first response was I don't know who that author is, but after reading a spoof tweet today, I realised that I had wanted to get 'Mists of Avalon' at some point, and it was this author it was referring to. Maybe I will get it anyway...


But mostly I just wanted to post to say, regarding the original post, I'm pleased that Phlegethon posts are now coming with 'Trigger warnings'. This is definitely a step in the right direction. Thanks.


RE: Marion Zimmer Bradley: It’s Worse Than I Knew - Phlegethon - 2014 Jul 15 13:59

Hey, admit that you just love to pull my trigger! ;)
Come to think of it I guess I am a walking trigger warning. ;)

Trigger warnings are unnecessary 100% of the time due to the fact that people who are easily offended have no business randomly browsing the internet anyways. As a result of the phrases irrelevance, most opinions that start out with this phrase tend to be simplistic and dull since they were made by people ridiculous enough to think that the internet is supposed to cater to people who can't take a joke.