Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Fall from Grace?

The latest in the news is the revelation of Robert Munsch, beloved children's author, that he is a recovering alcoholic and cocaine user. Why did this not shock me? Does it change my love of his writings? No. I remember my first encounter with Mr. Munsch was a television recording of his reading of "Mud Puddle". "A MUD PUDDLE JUMPED ON ME!!" I will never forget his wild hair and over dramatic reading on this story. I fell in love with Mud Puddle, and Mr. Munsch at the age of 5. But never owned one of his stories until the printing of "Love you Forever", which I bought for one of the children in my life. (Then it dawned on me that I could buy one for myself..)

Considering the work that I have been doing for the past 13 years, it is not surprising to me --that Mr. Munsch has revealed his struggle with mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. I remember my first encounter with bipolar disorder. I met a woman in the throes of mania. Her mind racing, and the outlandish things coming out of her mouth, jumping from one subject to another... trying to get her to "see reason" was not an option at that point. After the regulation of her meds, she seemed to find a calm medium, but it was quite a ride.

For Mr. Munsch to reveal the disorder and drug usage, one would think that this would cause a plummet in the respect that the world has for him, but according to reports, the incoming mail for the author, to his family and publicists are positive. One would think that this is not an "image" or "role model" that we would want for children. But my initial thought was that this revelation of a mental illness and subsequent drug use was a reasonable explanation for the outlandish but charming stories. Not that all bipolar persons have delusions, or hallucinations, but from my experience, there are the outlandish thought processes.

The fact that Mr. Munsch has prospered in the face of his struggles, and has been loved for so long. ... only makes some of us love his achievements even more.

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