I’ve been chugging through the past couple of weeks, flat and low. A trip up to Bendigo, to see the Marilyn Monroe exhibition seemed just the thing. The summer temperatures ebbed away and the shade felt cool, pregnant with the coldness of the winter to come.
Autumn leaves along the way boasted their impending demise, bold in the face of death. Maybe they were screaming and I couldn’t hear them.
My daughter loves Marilyn and watches her movies. I was never a fan but as we watched together, I donned the mantle of observer and found myself to wondering about the life behind the persona on the screen.
I never understood the ‘blonde bombshell’ image. Why should beauty equate with dumbness? It seemed odd looking at some of the private aspects of MM’s life; her makeup, her books and her magazines. Had the exhibitors crossed the line into her private life? We all did the exhibition hall quite crowded even early in the day.
Her poses and dazzling smile convinced the world that she was happy but her eyes although they shone, never lost their tinge of sadness. She fought her demons. The world knew, not affording her the privacy to do so in her own space. As an author I can see why journalists found her irresistible and topical.
With the pen comes incredible power. In Schicksal, writing my grandfather’s story posed considerable difficulty for me. I had never known him and my mother held a lot of resentment colouring her views of a man she once loved.
Having raised children, I struggled to understand how he came to the decision to abandon his children. Life and values in the 1920’s were far different than today.
A friend recently said, when speaking of her own family, “I have to think about their actions in the context of their lives as they were then, so I will not judge them too harshly. That way I can forgive them and accept their choices.”
It is priceless advice. I found my way to the same point by researching the history and conditions in the coal mines in the Saar in the 1920’s and 30’s.
So Marilyn both inspired me and reminded me of my accountability. She showed me that it took courage to forge forward, that criticism is part of the course and that often there are times of loneliness and darkness to overcome.
Her world one of appearances and apparent superficiality reminded me why my 24″ Waste manuscript which deals with Anorexia and the misconceptions held around it, has to go to print. By writing this piece, I am preparing my head space for a day of hefty edits.
Have a good week, share your creativity with the world.