I am excited and pleased to have an interview with Moira Greyland, daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley and author of the new book The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon,
which tells the story of Marion Zimmer Bradley and her husband, Walter Breen. I am a very former Marion Zimmer Bradley fan, since learning about MZB’s misdeeds made me aware of all the questionable content in her books. In case you are unaware of Marion Zimmer Bradley, she was the author of the Darkover series, which I liked, and the Mists of Avalon, an Arthurian legend I didn’t much care for. And now, here is the interview. My questions are in bold
Please tell a little of what your new book is about.
My book is a biography of my famous gay parents, Marion Zimmer Bradley, author of The Mists of Avalon, and Walter Breen, coin expert and convicted pedophile. It is about how being raised by gay people who have a sex-positive philosophy affected my life, and that of the other children in their orbit.
It seems like other people knew about your father’s sexual attraction to kids but figured that it wasn’t proven to have really harmed the kids. Do you feel they are guilty/responsible for protecting your father?
Anyone who did not stop my father when they had direct knowledge of his crimes will have to answer to a higher court than any of us here. I do understand how hard it is to swim against the tide. The usual social consequence is ostracism, and worse, not being believed.
Do you feel legalized gay marriage is harmful or helpful to the children of such marriages?
Gay marriage puts children into a situation where normalizing non-mainstream forms of sex is the basis for the relationship. It denies children a normal model of male-female relationships, and puts undue pressure on them to imitate their parents. Even if the pressure is tacit, it can be nearly impossible to avoid. The children of gays I have spoken with have almost invariably been molested, and have tried to become either gay or trans themselves. Even in the best case, where a child is not molested or openly pressured, children imitate their parents, since our parents are our models for humanity. Also, since our parents will have openly rejected either a male or a female, we can struggle with the rejection either of our sex or the other sex.
Do you feel that the ‘Free Amazon’ storylines in your mother’s books were intended to wean women away from traditional ideas about marriage?
Yes, of course they were. Between that and a host of other feminist books, women were meant to abandon husband and family in favor of “meaningful work” and “self-actualization.” This has led to a lot of unhappy women living alone, and unable to find a husband. Many will struggle, as I did, between wanting the husband and kids and wanting the career. We are supposed to be able to have both, but it is exhausting. Women should not be shamed for wanting a family.
I have heard that you have PTSD. Did that make it harder to write this book?
Yes. My Complex PTSD symptoms made writing this book nearly impossible at times. Between flashbacks, panic attacks, and periods of incapacitating depression, it is certain that the book would have been finished much sooner if I had had no symptoms.
In your book you tell you became a Christian. Has your faith made it easier to come to terms with your past?
Yes, I am a Christian. I am not certain what coming to terms with my past means though. I am focused on the present and on the future. The past mostly intrudes in my life through symptoms, and I try not to dwell on it, the book notwithstanding. My faith in God is the core of strength in my life, and His love for me reminds me that I have things to do, places to be, and most importantly, people to love.
Do you have a favorite poet, author, composer, book? Please share.
Too many to name. Poets? My taste runs to song lyrics for the songs of Debussy and Richard Strauss. Ordinary poets I love include Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edward Gorey, and Ogden Nash, to name a very few. Authors I love include C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engel, Charles Dickens, Tolstoy, Georgette Heyer, Tom Clancy, and Brad Thor. Composers I love include Puccini, Verdi, Brahms, Mozart, Mahler, Beethoven and Howard Shore. My favorite book is the Bible. Other books on that list would make it too long of a list.
End of Interview.
I might mention that I have read Moira Greyland’s book. It deals with a very adult subject, the sexual abuse of children. But I feel Moira Greyland did a good job of tackling this subject without dwelling too much on sexual details that many readers might not like being exposed to. I think it is a good book that can make the reader more aware of sexual child abuse and the problems in some Gay households. And it also tells us a bit of the history of science fiction and fandom in the era when her mother was active it it. I hope many who read this blog post will buy a copy. Just don’t let your nine-year-old read it.