The tangled complicated love lives of writers!

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A monogamous relationship with a woman, was something that was totally alien to Alexandre Dumas, as he put it succinctly himself, “If I had only one, she’d be dead inside eight days.” This incorrigible playboy right from his teens until his death, didn’t want to get married and only did so when forced into it, to pay off some of his debts. This did not change his penchant for taking on any number of mistresses and in so doing fathering seven illegitimate children. It is no real surprise that this inveterate bed hopper died of syphilis.

Lord Byron was another serial bed hopper, famous for his bisexuality. Married to , Anne Isabella Milbanke, he also allegedly was getting a bit of extra-marital with her half-sister Augusta Leigh. Lord Byron’s antics were too much for Lady Byron, who left her husband, taking their child with her. Rumors of the man dubbed as “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know” got so intense he was forced to leave England and never ventured back. Lord Byron, the patron saint of the Romantics certainly lacked in moral fiber, an affair with Mary Shelley’s sister, Claire Clairmont, resulted in a child he refused to acknowledge or pay for. His Lordship would get through hundreds of women each year.

It is not only men writers who have a strong appetite to sample different sexual partners, take Anaïs Nin, married aged 20 this proved no stumbling block to her rampant sex life, including a passionate love affair with Henry Miller, living with him in Paris in the 1930s. When she reached the age of 44, she had two marriages on the go, one to Rupert Pole, a man aged 28 much younger than her, while still “married” to Hugh Parker Guiler her “first husband”. Simone de Beauvoir declined to marry her boyfriend, Jean Paul Sartre, but the two shared a fruitful and revolutionary lifelong relationship, interspersed with affairs, both being quite open about them, even sharing some of them. De Beuvoir had a penchant for young students, one such dalliance with a Nathalie Sorokine led to her having teaching license revoked.

Charles Dickens was allegedly a virgin when he married Catherine Hogarth, aged 24. The marriage was not well destined as almost immediately became obsessed with her younger sister, Mary, who sadly died not long into their marriage, so poor Catherine was left to compete with a “ghost”. The marriage staggered on culminating in ten children, until Dicken’s fell for a young actress, Nelly Ternan. Tired of his wife Dickens had an affair with the actress, which he kept under wraps for fear of scandal.



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Interview with Charles Dickens 2015

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We have managed to bring back the ghost of Charles Dickens for a special Christmas visitation.

Interviewer: Welcome Charles Dickens.

Charles Dickens: You stirred me from the grave, I suppose I am obliged to answer your questions.

Interviewer: One of your most famous works is “A Christmas carol” where did some of the ideas come from?

Charles Dickens: I had just done a speech at a charity event, after which I decided to go on one of my “nocturnal walks” I always had problems to sleep, while walking I had the idea for this book. I based some of the characters on people I knew, the lead character Ebenezer Scrooge was based on a counselor in Edinburgh. It took me eight long weeks to write, during which I wept, laughed, and wandered around London at night, long after most sober folks had gone to bed. Of course I wanted to draw my reader’s attention to the plight of the poor. I had visited the Field Lane ragged school (a charitably run school) in the Saffron Hill district of London, which had inspired me in some of my ideas for Christmas carol. What I observed at this institution was a sickening atmosphere … of taint and dirt and pestilence”

Interviewer : Your own upbringing couldn’t have been easy…

Charles Dickens: I craved a good education, but my life nosedived when father was sent to prison due to a debt. Following this I was sent to work in a blacking or shoe-polish factory, a very sobering experience and one I could never forget.

Interviewer: It could be said that the character Ebenezer Scrooge, is a very relevant character in modern times, as we have a world dominated by money and materialism. Your character Scrooge cares nothing for the people around him and mankind exists only for the money that can be made through exploitation and intimidation. From the spirit world have you noticed this?

Charles Dickens: It is true in London the kind of poverty I was used to seems to have diminished, but avarice seems to be plentiful. If anything greed is more prevalent in the modern day than it was in day. I see many children expect an I phone for their Christmas presents, while others scrimp about in the dirt on really low levels of sustenance. I see in modern times there are sweatshops in Bangladesh, children living in slavery and abject conditions.

Interviewer: You were a “superstar” in your times…

Charles Dickens: I was a master of self-promotion, I was mobbed in America, people even tried to cut locks of my hair. I performed to sellout crowds, the audience paying to hear me read. At the time of my death I could claim to be the most famous man in the world. At the same time I was a very private person and didn’t live the invasion of my privacy. I bowed out from public life at St. James’ Hall in Piccadilly by reading A Christmas Carol” my parting words were “…from these garish lights I vanish now for evermore, with one heartfelt, grateful, respectful, and affectionate farewell.”

Interviewer: Your private life was turbulent.

Charles Dickens: Well I fathered ten children, things were all right for a time, then there was increasing pressure as I became more and more famous and Catherine could not cope with this. Then I met Ellen Ternan and things grew even worse. When we split up wild rumors spread about, some said I was having an affair with my sister-in-law, Georgina. Those were very prim and proper times. I had most of the children living with me and encouraged them not to see their mother, I was a most unreasonable man in this way. I am now a restless spirit.

Interviewer: It has been an incredible experience speaking to you.

Charles Dickens: I must drift back into my spirit world.  Maybe I will return next Christmas.


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Francis H Powell, author of Flight of Destiny, 22 quirky short stories…

I enjoyed these tales as they gave me a fantastic break from my daily routine and I enjoyed remembering them and day dreaming about them afterwards. They’re a little Ray Bradbury, a little Stephen King, but with Powell’s own unique twists. Very interesting read.

Flawed Genius

Flawed Genius

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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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