It’s difficult to find out your author to whom you support and love is not the person who you thought they were. Yes, it sucks! Since the beginning of time, we find out our idols, elders, and others sometimes seem impossibly perfect, as if carved from unbreakable marble they are fixed in this point of history that is marked and indelible in our minds. However, when we find out they have in fact are not whom they thought they were is it possible to still love their books?
I think it depends on what degree they have fallen from grace so to speak. It’s hard when we find out an author we admire is, in fact, some hate-filled bigot, that really sucks. But, it does not mean we should feel guilty about our past support of the “said” person. The truth is the author already got rich off of our purchases, so the only one affected by the destruction of property is us. This does not mean that we cannot avoid purchasing them in the future. It does not mean we can’t make noise on social media about them, it does not mean we can’t dislike the current incarnation. That is the beauty of consumer protests, we can sway people with our wallets. It really does work, and authors especially even the ones with large presences can feel the pain of fan fall out. I don’t believe we should feel guilt by association, however, which is hard. We as humans tend to align ourselves with the views of those around us, we put authors in this special place in our hearts, we feel that they allow us to be in these worlds they invented with carefree abandon, and it’s hard to find out that all the while as we were enjoying our time in the fantasy land of unicorns that secretly there was a storm brewing.
But, we are not guilty by association. We are not the authors that wrote these books, we are simply the ones who were for a moment whisked away to perils unknown and therefore we should not feel our books reflect what is within our souls as they are not. Loving books is an insanely intimate experience, its almost as if our books become our limbs, our hearts, our minds, but we can separate that deep connection if we want to. However, I feel that even when the storm comes and our world is crushed and destroyed, its ok to try again to find that beauty we once did. The author moves on, the work does not. The words are indelible on the page, and they still have joy, power, beauty, and more. It’s ok to still cling onto books from those that are now not so shiny, it’s ok to still love the words within, it’s ok to still see the previous nature of that person as the mark in history that it was…perhaps we don’t recognize them now, but that’s ok. Just like those that sometimes become altered by time, by exposure to bad ideology, we can walk away from them..it’s ok to put our morals ahead of all things, to express our own views about things that are important and critical for us. We just don’t have to do it retrospectively. Remember them as they were not as they are, and remember that the book is not a reflection of the person, but a singular moment in which the art form can be seen as a sliver of joy that remains on a pedestal that can be kept in reverence.