WARNING: DREAMWATER (especially the character of 11-year-old
pirate Ned Low) contains content that many viewers may find offensive or
Literature and art
prepare you for life. In fact, the old tagline of PBS used to be: “To help you
cope better with the world around you and with your own life.” If you’ve had a
rough life, you may find solace in the violence you find in literature and art.
You may say to yourself, “I’m not alone. I thought it was just me.” If something
has happened to you, you may get a memory flashback if you read a novel or a
poem, or a history book or see a painting or a movie. However, you might get
the very same flashback from a mattress ad, or a sofa ad, or an image onscreen
of a woman or a man passing through a dark doorway or, as in the case of
veterans, a sudden, loud noise. I have witnessed little kids getting
traumatized by the mermaids being mean to Wendy in Peter Pan and sobbing over the seeming impossible length of the
stairway to Cinderella locked in her room that the tiny mice must travel with
the huge key in order to rescue their friend. To the small child, Cinderella
seemed doomed. The child was still sobbing heart-wrenchingly after the movie had reached its
happy ending. You can never tell what will traumatize someone or cause a
flashback of trauma.
When I was abused, I didn’t even know
what was happening to me until I saw it in movies and read it in books. I was
thrilled to find the information on the page. So, when I read that some college
students – college! – were asking for trigger warnings on the literature they
must read - I laughed! Ha! I couldn’t wait to get to college to read the most realistic
literature! Already, in high school, I had read Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also
Rises, in which the main character, Jake has been wounded in the war. Our
teacher did not hesitate to inform us of the nature of Jake’s injury. His penis
had been shot off. In Jakes’ words, “I supposed it was funny. I could feel
everything a man could feel, but I couldn’t do anything about it.” (I’ve also
had the honor of teaching The Sun Also
Rises on to a high school seniors and my class was extremely grateful to be
treated like adults.) In high school, I also read Oscar Wilde’s play Salomé which led me to Aubrey
Beardsley’s drawings; both were a revelation. And William Faulkner’s Of Mice and Men, which led me to his
novel, Sanctuary since I would read,
not only the assignment, but all of
the author’s works. I couldn’t wait to get to college to read D.H. Lawrence or Henry James, Dickens or Tolstoy, Shakespeare or Virginia Woolf taught on a level that was adult and truthful. I needed to
read what could happen as much as
what had happened. If a man, woman or child has suffered from it, I can at
least read about it and know about it.
Ned Low is a
vicious, savage, sexually active 11-year-old pirate. One of my readers
complained to me that kids are not that sexually aware at eleven. That Ned
would have been, I’m quoting,“the hero
of his gym class.” I asked another friend about this and she just shook her
head, “Oh, no! We were at it much earlier than that!” Readers and friends aside,
Ned Low is modeled after a neighbor of mine, the boy across the street, son of
my mother’s best friend, my stalker, my would-be rapist from whom I escaped
many times, whom you will meet if you read my next novel. Ned Low, one of the
cruelest and most violent pirates who ever sailed the seven seas, also existed
in real life without being modeled after anyone. He was also a romantic who
fell in love with a girl and married her in Boston. She died and he never got
over it. In Dreamwater, Ned Low,
though cunning and terrible, though only 11, also falls in love with a girl
whom he marries, with whom he makes love, giving him some redeeming social
value and making him all the more interesting to us.
Bret Easton Ellis
wrote American Psycho using real life
crimes as his models for the crimes of his character, Patrick Bateman. Nevertheless, Ellis has
been blamed across the media for the crimes that were in his novel and for the
light-hearted tone with which these crimes were committed. In Australia, American Psycho is wrapped and sealed in
cellophane. Ellis is thrilled.
When William S.
Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch, an
obscenity trial ensued that cost his publisher, Grove Press most of its revenue
and pretty much closed the publisher’s doors. One of the questions in the trial
was this: “Is Burroughs advocating this sort of behavior?” The response: “No!
Of course not!” If human beings do it, writers must write about it. Keep
silent, and abusers will be empowered by secrecy.
There are no more
publishers like Barney Rosset of Grove Press. Generous, he bought homes in the
Hamptons, before the Hamptons were the Hamptons, for his employees so that they
could all hang out together. Brave, he took a plane to Cuba to secure a few
chapters of Che Guevara’s historic journals. Smart, he foresaw the social value
of Valerie Solanas’ SCUM Manifesto
before anyone else did, even Andy Warhol, who was a genius of artistic foresight.
(Solanas, homeless at the time, is also famous for being the woman who shot
Ned Low is also
modeled after real life sex slaves in the 17th Century when child
abuse and child prostitution was rampant. However, we cannot blame the 17th
Century. In Dreamwater, because
Marblehead is such a marvelous place, nothing truly bad happens there in the
1995 chapters, however, bad things are happening everywhere and not even
Marblehead is completely safe. Every day we hear about more and more horror
stories, mostly on the most horrible of all sources – the daily news.
Literature cannot keep up with the horrors of real life. Jackie Collins, who
writes about Hollywood behaving badly, once said, “Oh, I could never write the
complete truth about what goes on! Even I have to tone down reality for my
books, no one would believe it!” Just last week, on Law & Order, Special
Victims Unit (sex crimes and child welfare crimes) Sargent Olivia Benson
rescued an infant from a pornography ring. You might not believe that is
possible, but I recall a modern real life crime against an infant that would
make you question the existence of God. I intend to write about it, as it is my
duty to write. And if bad things make you question God, don’t bother. Question
yourself and mankind and mankind’s God-given free will.
Ned Low clears a
path before me that I must walk. Even if it means I must bear the anger and
sneers of others passing me on the street or in the café, “She’s the writer who
wrote that book!”
If you can’t take Dreamwater, then don’t read the next
one. It happened to me, it’s true and I was just a little girl. I have earned
the right to write about it. Read if you dare! TRIGGER WARNING! DLSV!
Patricia Goodwin is the author of When Two Women Die, about the legends and true crime of Marblehead, Massachusetts and its sequel, Dreamwater, about the witch trials of 1692 and the terrible adventures of Ned Low, 11-year-old pirate. Goodwin's next novel will be released soon.
When I was young, I met an artist whom,
everyone told me, had thrown his wife out a plate glass window. My reaction was,
“I hope his art is very great.” His art was great, but not greater than his
abuse. Of course, every time I looked at his work, I thought of that plate
glass crashing and his wife’s limp body flying through it to the ground.
By now everyone has logged/weighed in on Mia
Farrow’s accusations of Woody Allen’s abuse of her daughter, Dylan Farrow. As
someone who has been abused by almost every adult who crossed her path, I can
tell you that the logic of the abuser, “Just look at the train,” struck a
nerve. I almost titled this post, The Logic of the Abuser.
However, please keep in mind as you read
this post that I have paid my dues, been there and know of what I speak.
I also love Woody Allen. I don’t want to
give up Woody Allen. Even if he had abused me in that attic – and the jury is
still, as they say, out on that one – I could not give up his art.
I collect Woody’s movies. I don’t trust the
guy. I’m sure he has a plan for his death, much like Disney’s occasional pulling of
movies to increase their impact, I’m not at all certain Woody’s movies are going to be available after
he dies. I’m buying now, as many as I feel I need in order to live the kind of
artistic life I want to live.
I’m writing now, after a silence of three
months, because Woody has just released “Bullets Over Broadway” on Broadway and
there is a key line in that play that this post is based upon - “The artist can
be forgiven anything if he produces great art.” Timely, Woody, timely.
Not everyone will agree with me. Many people
are raging over Mia’s accusations, urging the public to deny Woody an Academy
Award and urging them further to boycott his movies. God! No! Think about it:
if we waited for our artists to be perfectly nice, what would we have to look
at, read, listen to? Maybe Renoir, Matisse, Norman Rockwell? Picasso was not an easy-going guy. His lover, Françoise
Gilot titled her memoir “Surviving Picasso.” In it, she reveals his “ferocious
cruelty.” One has only to look at Picasso’s paintings of his women to see how
his perception of them degenerates from blissful admiration to horrific
contempt. Jackson Pollack took two screaming girls over the cliff with him when
he committed suicide. Do you look at Picassos and Pollacks still? Salinger
chased young girls in his later years; he regularly sent out strange love letters to girls. He also ignored his children. Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman
were homosexuals during a time when homosexuality was a crime. In fact, Wilde
went to prison for corrupting youth, namely, the incorruptible, Lord Alfred
Douglas. I would not give up any Wilde, Whitman or Salinger either. My favorite Salinger story is "Teddy," about a little boy who has died many times. I cannot wait for the rest of Salinger's work to be published posthumously. Bono has
supported Monsanto, which is busy poisoning the planet and the people in it.
I’m sure Monsanto promised Bono the world for Africa's sake: I’m sure he was fooled by
the Devil’s promises. Yet, I long for U2’s next album. U2 was the return of
music for me, I who had known the gods of the late 50s and 60s – Elvis, Jim
Morrison, Grace Slick, Janis Joplin, John Lennon - the return of true music after the long,
hideous drought of the 70’s.
Recently, I discovered that Bill Cosby has
been accused of brutally beating and raping young girls, and then, as frosting
on the abuser cake, ruining their careers. I’d always considered Cosby a
genius. Now I’m having trouble laughing at his jokes. Not funny. Maybe that’s because
his jokes depend on his being wholesome. Perhaps it is the edginess of Woody
Allen’s movies and his easy jokes about sexuality that make people so ready to
believe perverse sexual allegations against him. Perhaps it is the fact that I
had lived with abuse and my abuser for so many years, that I am able to forgive
even the hint of scandal around Woody Allen’s genius. Or, perhaps it is the
amazing joy and life enrichment that his work has brought to console me in the
wake of life’s daily problems. Thank you, Woody.
Walt Disney has recently gotten flack for
having been a Nazi sympathizer. Do I ever forget the awe that overcame me when
I first saw “Sleeping Beauty?” No way. Am I grateful for the magic of sight,
sound and story he has given me that has fed my childhood imagination and adult
creativity? Never. Nor would I take anything away from Charles Lindbergh’s
accomplishments for his Nazi sympathies.
How about that Gerard Depardieu? When he
first came on the scene, and I heard him say this with my own ears, saw him say
it on TV with my own eyes, Gerard Depardieu told the press that he had raped
women during his gang years. His words were, I will have to paraphrase
slightly, “You are struggling with a woman and suddenly, pop, you’ve done it!”
Oh, yeah, he said it! Do I still watch his brilliant performances in “Jean de
Florette” and “Camille Claudel?” Yes, I do.
Oh, I get it, believe me, everyone is
entitled to their indignation. I know people who have seen and interacted with
Mia Farrow. Their verdict: “She’s so crazy!” I also have friends who have seen
Woody with Soon Yi – verdict – “They are so wonderful together!” In his letter
to the NY Times, Woody mentions a song written by Dory Previn, entitled, “With
My Daddy in the Attic.” Dory Previn was the wife of André Previn at the time
Mia had an affair with him and got pregnant with his twins, breaking Dory
Previn’s heart. Woody suggested that Mia may have gotten confused by her own
misdeeds and the title of that song. I also watched Woody’s 1992 interview with
60 Minutes in which Woody tells Steve Kroft, “She’s in the dorm. She’s continuing
her education.” when Kroft asks if Soon Yi and he live together. My reaction?
DO YOU HEAR YOURSELF? The only conclusion to be drawn is a quote from Woody himself from his classic, Academy
Award winning movie, “Annie Hall” - after witnessing his parents fighting, Woody says, “You’re both
I still won’t give up his work. Could I give
up Judah, played by Martin Landau, in “Crimes and Misdemeanors” leading his
hoodlum brother, played by Jerry Orbach, out to his pool house in winter to
discuss murder? Or Scarlett Johansson’s hot mess in “Vicky, Cristina?” Or
Rebecca Hall’s brilliant dressing-down of Javier Bardem in the Barcelona restaurant
scene? Or the splendid perfection of “Match Point?” Or the tears welling in my
eyes and the goose-bumps running up and down my flesh when the "Midnight in Paris" partier holds
out his hand to Gil Pender, introducing himself as “Scott Fitzgerald!” and the
whole theater gasps together? Or Mia’s deliciously delicate performance in
“Alice?” Or Alec Baldwin as the ghost of her lover? Or Bernadette Peters as her
Muse? Or Blythe Danner as her sister? I can hear the dulcet tones of William
Hurt’s voice as he says to Alice, “You were so pretty and we went for a drive.”
and I marvel once again at the loaded simplicity of Woody’s dialogue. Must I
give all that up for self-righteous indignation at what might have happened? Why,
I feel like watching “Alice” right now just thinking about it! However, at this
writing I am watching “Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona” in the bedroom where I watch
beautiful movies I’ve seen many times that lull me to sleep. These movies are
not dull; they are my favorites. “Out of Africa,” “Tess,” “The Portrait of a
Lady,” “The Golden Bowl,” “Masquerade” and “A Perfect Murder,” to name a few. I’ve
also watched “Edge of Darkness” and “Fatal Attraction” to soothe me to sleep!
It’s a badge of honor to be a beautiful bedroom movie. “A Midsummer Night’s Sex
Comedy” was recently one of them.
Since I mentioned his film, “Tess,” let’s
talk about Roman Polanski. He was accused of sexually assaulting a minor girl. His
victim has written a book. On the front cover she uses a photo of herself taken
by Polanski. I can’t give up Polanski’s work either. “Tess of the D’Urbervilles”
is my favorite novel. Not because it is a story of rape and injustice, but
because it is the story of, as Hardy calls Tess, “a natural woman.” Polanksi’s
movie, “Tess” is dedicated “to Sharon,” Sharon Tate, Polanski’s spectacular wife
who was eight months pregnant when she was horrifically murdered by Charles
Manson’s insane tribe. Need I say any more about Polanski?
Apparently, at this writing, the LAPD is
gathering evidence on a secret child sex abuse ring in Hollywood and they are
about to name some very famous names. Some legalese must go down in Hawaii
before the announcements can take place. (Apparently, these sex parties spread to Hawaii too.) Monday is the suggested day of our enlightenment.
I doubt if any of us will be surprised.
I also doubt if the art of these molesters is
great enough to rise above such deliberate and calculated abuse of innocent
children. Oh, yes, I’m still horrified that anyone would gratify his/her own
sickness on the innocence of a child.
I cannot make the decision for another
person about how they will choose, how they will react to accusations against an
artist whose work they once admired. If the work becomes tainted by the crime,
then, yes, I get it, you’ll want to drop that artist from your life. I cannot
drop Woody Allen. It’s just too painful, too sad, like dropping wine or
chocolate, cream or ripe strawberries, unless, of course I were allergic.
Patricia Goodwin is the author of When Two Women Die, about Marblehead legend and true crime, and its sequel, Dreamwater, the absolute truth of what would have happened next, including the witch trials and the kidnapping of Ned Low by pirates.
“The bleached, gassed, and colored remnants of the
life-giving grains are roasted, toasted, frosted with sugar, embalmed with
chemical preservatives, and stuffed into a box much larger than its contents.
Fantastic amounts of energy are wasted by sales and advertising departments to
sell these half-empty boxes of dead food – money-back coupons, whistles, and
toy guns are needed to induce…women to lift these half-empty boxes off
supermarket shelves. [take them home and feed the contents to their children].”William Dufty, Sugar Blues, 1975
I get real nervous
when I see a baby reaching for Cheerios. I get shivers when I see that baby
putting Cheerios into his/her innocent mouth. Moms are proud to announce Baby’s
First Cheerios on their blogs like it’s some sort of development milestone. Apparently,
General Mills has been promoting Cheerios’ cute little donuts as a good
transitional food for baby from baby food to solid food.
Recently, General Mills
announced that Cheerios would be GMO free. To quote Forbes: “The move was
relatively easy. Cheerios are primarily oats, and there are no GMO oats. The
comparatively small amounts of sugar and cornstarch in the mix required nothing
more than a switch from beet sugar to non-GMO sources.”
But GMOs are not
the only reason to not eat Cheerios. Or any other refined breakfast cereal.
Cheerios are dead
food. In fact, the whole row of breakfast cereals in garish boxes going down
your grocer’s aisle are dead unless they still contain whole oats, steel cut
oats or a true whole grain (even if the box says WHOLE GRAIN, it’s not) that has NOT gone through the process of extrusion, that is, the forcing of the breakfast
cereal mud through the molds that turn the slush into miniature donuts, fish,
charms, or flakes. Extrusion requires a high heat that kills any nutrient left
in the grain, including the artificial vitamins added, which the human body
cannot process anyway. Good riddance. Moms, your baby, who desperately NEEDS
real food in order to develop and grow, is NOT getting fortified with vitamins.
The worst thing
about dead food is that it doesn’t just fill you up and make you feel good for
a while and then get chucked out of your body via your natural elimination
process. Nope. The worst thing about dead food is that your body has a hard
time digesting it, if it can digest it at all. Dead food that does not get eliminated,
gets dumped into the body as fat or something worse, tumors.
No, I take that
back, the worst thing about dead food is that it takes from your body. Yes, your adult body. But, taking nutrients from the body is especially dangerous when talking about growing
children and babies.
You’ve heard the
jokes, “You’re better off eating the box!” Well, unpublished studies have been
done wherein the rats that ate the cereal box actually lived longer than the
rats that ate the cereal. In fact, before they died, the cereal-eating rats
became weirdly vicious, acting out in strange violent tantrums against each
other. Sound familiar?
We all know by now
that breakfast cereals have a lot of added sugar in them. Studies have been
done about sugar that have told us sugar takes nutrients from the body. Again,
anecdotal and unofficial - People who have been lost and forced to eat candy
bars or toothpaste have been much less healthy when found than people who only
drank water. Dr. Lindsey Duncan ranks sugar up there with drugs and alcohol as
taking nutrition from the body: “Overall,
I’ve been studying, researching, practicing and living nutrition for
the past 30 years, and if you asked me to pick 3 things that destroy and age
the human body faster than anything else on the planet they would be: 1) Sugar
2) Prescription & Recreational Drugs and 3) Alcohol. And the reason
why is because they rob you of your life force, of your nutrition, of your
immunity, your positivity and your overall wellbeing. They are the
ultimate thieves in the night!”
Now, think of that when your baby reaches for
Cheerios! I think about it.
What can we do?
Well, a baby
should be eating Mama’s milk until being weaned on to soft baby food. Baby food
has to be the easiest thing in the world to make. I made my own baby food. I
began with brown rice cream. Brown rice made with four times the water, then blended
till smooth enough for a baby with no teeth. I made enough for two days. My
daughter was nearly two years old when I weaned her. I also made green
vegetables and other vegetables (organic, when possible) by boiling the veggies in spring water until
soft (maybe 4-10 minutes depending on the vegetable), then blending the veggies
with the cooking water until smooth enough for baby. Thus, baby is getting fresh,
warm nutritional food with every meal.
As for adults, like
baby, we should be eating real food. I like organic eggs for breakfast, but many macros eat brown rice cream, miso soup, green
vegetables, tofu omelets, really the variety can be endless.
I stopped eating
flour products years ago. Again, dead food. The occasional cookie, pancakes, bread,
scone or muffin won’t do too much harm, if you really need to eat baked goods,
but the only nutrition is coming from the milk, butter, eggs, that are added to
the recipe. Milled grain begins to lose its nutritional value immediately after
being broken down. If you want to get real food value out of your whole wheat,
you can buy a hand grinder for anywhere from $28.00, $128, to $1,200. I wish I
had a photo of my dearest friend, Joan, as she clamped her stainless steel hand
grinder on to our kitchen table, sat down, planted one barefoot and ground ONE
CUP OF FLOUR for her recipe! I think it took her 5 minutes. And, we got as much
nutrition as we possibly could from the wheat berries she ground. Plus her loving human energy added to the food! Real food, real love!
I also have a
personal theory about flour products and all baked goods. After many years of
macrobiotics, I suspect baked foods, or as Michio Kushi used to call them, (I
can hear his accent, plain as ever, emphasizing HARD!) “HARD BAKED foods” of
causing some cancers. Cancers in particular that form in the lower parts of the
body, and, often, in the smaller organs like the cervix and the prostate. Scientists do not even consider what macros know about the quality of the energy of the food effecting the human body, as in "hard baked." Again,
only my humble informed opinion after years of observation.
What can we do?
The human body
needs a balance of foods that grow up and foods that grow down, like leafy
greens and whole grains (up) and root vegetables (down). Science will never
believe this idea. The closest they will come to recognizing the dangers of
hard baked foods is saying, “Keep hydrated.” Yes, hard baked foods are very
dehydrating. And, dehydration is very sneaky. It has many, many symptoms, some
very serious, and yet, dehydration is so simple to solve. Drinking water is not
enough. You have to begin by not getting dehydrated in the first place. Balance
is the only way. Whole foods that grow up and down.
How did I get here
from babies eating Cheerios?
Simple! Dead food.
Sugar. Hard baked foods. Dehydration.
Your baby sucked
dry of nutrients. I could say, “Cheerio!”
Patricia Goodwin is the author of several books of poetry, and two historical thrillers, When Two Women Die and its sequel, Dreamwater. She has enjoyed the macrobiotic lifestyle for 40 years and has written many articles about GMOs and food. Please visit patriciagoodwin.com to read these articles and see other work, including videos of events and poetry.