I recently found a promotional catalog of art by a relative of mine. In her biographical blurb, she claims that as a child, her home:
1) Was religious.
2) Was abusive.
3) Art and music were considered Satan’s work, and she therefore was denied art supplies.
4) This denial of art supplies (due to religious abusiveness) spurred her creativity by forcing her to create art on “found” materials.
As I read, I remembered the following:
1) Her dad was a yeller and a hitter.
2) Her dad was a generous, grandiose man who loved to show off his money, and bought his kids everything they wanted.
3) Her dad was a Mexican immigrant doctor who emphasized discipline and achievement.
4) Her dad was a Seventh-Day Adventist, and her mom was Roman Catholic. I never heard a religious-based objection to anything by either of them, except for matters regarding the atheist activist Madalyn Murray O’Hair.
5) We attended her brother’s music recital, to which both parents reacted proudly.
6) By the time she was in her early teens, her mom, the Roman Catholic (the Church has a grand artistic tradition, whatever its other faults), had left her dad and moved the kids far away.
Realizing my memories might have faded, I emailed the blurb to her brother. His memories matched mine. Abusive, yes. Enemy of the arts, no. Religious nut, no.
But I guess if you’re trying to sell your art based upon your personality — and what artist doesn’t? — overcoming a plain old abusive background isn’t enough of a lure. Especially not one where you were materially indulged.
This is the type of thing that bothers me a lot, and bothers my husband not at all. He figures that’s just how it is — people lie to sell things, including themselves. He doesn’t, though. So why doesn’t it make him mad when other people do it?
I hate liars. I especially hate liars who make up lies about things that happen to them. I especially hate liars who make up lies where popular enemies — like religious nuts who hate art — do bad things to them. If a story is too satisfying, it’s probably a lie.
I had some other relatives who told Satan-related lies that were very satisfying and validating to a large segment of the public. A man spent years in prison because of it. (It’s a big family, but let’s hide from Google just in case.) They got to go on Oprah.