I told them later, when the printers were refusing to print the book (because they believed it to condone and promote paedophilia); and as a result we made various amendments, crucially adding a foreword to the book that revealed the autobiographical connection.
That foreword reads as follows:
‘There was a time when something bad happened to me. The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone is about that happening, and the fallout that occurred as a result. It’s a psychological tale, and metaphorical in every sense.
Except for the blood. The blood was real.’
The printers were pacified.
The foreword, however, raises unanswered questions. And this, I think, may be where the mix in reactions stems from. What’s real? What’s not? Such ugliness? Yet beauty? And a child?! Where does the reader get hold of this piece without feeling they’re somehow holding something that is ‘wrong’?
As part of the paper that Prof Matt and I presented at the Comics and Medicine Conference in Brighton earlier this year, I talked more about the autobiographical event behind The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone, and that it was actually written in response to my being raped (many years ago now), and made to feel as powerless as a child.
Within the room, the shift in attitude towards the book was immediate and palpable. This made a great impression on me – and one that I feel will be with me for life. A pivotal moment, you might say.
In my next post I’ll talk about what this now means practically for The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone. And in the meantime perhaps you’ll read the book again, in a slightly different light....