How often do you read or hear about a flawed genius ? They have drug problems, commonly drink problems, or perhaps a penchant for young women, who have the same age as their youngest daughters or maybe a self-destructive streak. You might admire their talent, the sheer brilliance of the work, but as people they are simply awful. People of a certain age would have grown up with the films of Peter Sellers. There was the brilliant actor, who could conjure up all manner of characters, and then there was the man, with an over-sized ego, married four times, in a constant search for happiness, a troubled soul. The person who seems to have suffered from his father’s volatility was his son Michael…on one occasion Seller’s arrived where young Michael was sleeping at three o’clock in the morning, stirring his son from sleep, before demanding “Do you think I should divorce your mummy?”. I remember a scene in the film “The life and death of Peter Sellers” his fit of anger when young Michael damaged his car, he went about smashing all of his young son’s toys, like a spiteful child, on a revenge mission. It is little wonder Michael says of his father…”I used to be scared stiff of him.”
From my time at Art College, I have always admired the paintings of Jackson Pollock, (ok perhaps not a genius to some but a painter, who bore the title “America’s greatest living painter” ). I particularly liked the work, prior to his famous “drip paintings”. The paintings are one thing, the man another matter. Obviously he was a tortured soul, his psychiatrist remaking about his condition ‘a certain schizoid disposition underlying the instability’. Alcohol brought the worst out in him making him aggressive. Pollock’s self-destruction came to a head, with his death, a drink driving accident, in which another passenger Edith Metzger also perished. So were a talking about a man with a death on his hands, due to his sheer recklessness…two unnecessary deaths, one that of a young woman.
Dickens may have championed the poor and downtrodden, but as a man…he left his wife (who bore him no less than ten children) for an eighteen year old actress…He literally threw his wife out and split up the family. When one of his sons died, he chose not to inform his wife, of his demise…yes this man obviously had a cruel streak.
Apparently Dickens was obsessive about writing and wife and family were duly left on the wayside. It can’t be easy being married to any genius. Like Peter Sellers, being part of the Dickens’ brood was hard and severe.
One of my characters in my book Flight of Destiny,”Maestro” is a “genius” a painter, who has a considerable family of five. He has a long suffering wife and he “takes” as he wishes the virginity of young girls, including the betrothed of his long suffering brother…the one bright light in his life. Because he is such a genius painter, perhaps he has lost sight of morality. His family reject him and despite a looming exhibition, which will bolster further his reputation, none will attend.
It was but a few days before the works were to be transported to
Rome for a major exhibition. Every art patron in Italy planned to be
present at the show. There was even talk of royalty from Portugal,
France and Spain attending. Of course, a representative of the Vatican
would be there, maybe even Pope Julius himself. There would also be
some notable absentees: Maestro’s wife and their children, including
his favorite, Faustina, who not only had developed a passion for
painting, but whose ability dangerously challenged her father’s. To
protect her daughter from her husband’s vagarities, her mother had
poisoned the girl’s mind, turning her against her father. There was no
way Maestro could give his benediction to her precocious talent, along
with any abounding ambitions, anyway.
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