By Julie Kemp
Francis Bacon opened my heart and mind (Geminis indeed) when i read a book of faction about his earliest days and what delivered him to his grand gestalt. Somehow the tragedy of his mother’s rejection of him especially with regard to declaring the truth of so much ‘background’ and heritage moved me to some very emotional weeks about 7 years ago.
My personal context at that time was consumed by caring for, then living with my late widowed mother who died in December 2017. I had retired from professional nursing to attend to this role which i sensed would be slightly disconcerting for us both but i could not bear to be nursing others in my state’s capital city whilst Mum was clinically depressed and alone in a country town. Soon i saw Mum come to laugh and enjoy her TV viewing as i had never seen her do before. Initially i was stunned and stung by the mirth and laughter i heard from her bedroom one night – but i did quickly move to enjoy her reactions and fostered such. My sister too came to see this and told me she thought it was a good thing all was working out so well. Of course my ‘buttons’ were pressed but gently so – it alerted me to just how things do pass on down in families. I sought some counselling with a local psychologist who i have come to admire for her poignant and incisive grasp of things! My own sense of childhood losses, stern discipline and lack of connection came into sharper focus. My genealogy work beginning in 2005 also assuaged heartaches and losses which had given me room to digest fresh insights into family and contexts and how we can get stuck within ourselves and not live the life it’s said we came here for.
So i had lots of ‘hangups’ early on and being the eldest (of four siblings) was one of them! I never married although i could have had i dared to trust and like myself. After years of many hard times mixed with the joys of some international travels, obtaining a university degree in 1983, followed by working in the performing arts as a secretary for several years i returned to professional nursing. In the 90’s i ventured into mental health nursing training and sought my own psychotherapy with the author of the book above alluded to, although at that time i was not involved in getting to ‘know’ ‘Shakespeare’. However many years later i consulted with the psychiatrist again and his 2012 book was on his secretary’s counter. Being told it was a book of fiction, a sort of ‘wisdom’ tale that dealt with Queen Elizabeth I, i was intrigued as i wanted some different reading material and i had had some past life regression (1 session only) which featured this lady!
It took a year before i started reading ‘The Way of the Quest’ by Dr, George Blair-West. It took me back to my young days of reading beloved fables and was rapt; it did though help to get back in touch with my ‘sense of injustice’ and the agony of it. I found myself, now in my mid 60’s restricted to time and place as i never had quite been before. It seemed ‘the Universe’ was gently forcing me perhaps to face myself anew. One day i was talking with Mum in her suite and at one point burst into tears telling her about George’s book. I was sobbing as i tried to explain what it was about and how incensed i felt by the forces forever taking aim at Francis. Mum was a very thoughtful if not outwardly demonstrable person but she was tender towards me yet mystified as to why i was so upset. I was at that time not quite able to reply fully.
I want to remember and retain monarchy (constitutional) which so recently has loomed large on the World Stage Itself. Francis was and is King of Literature and a Prince of All Realms. I want his story now to be told in full as so much is declared nowadays in the name of ‘mental health’. But hey, Francis is one great avatar of ‘mental health’ who lived the range of human experience in a massively toxic age that explains our own. Let’s really look at him anew.
Kindest regards and thanks for your great website Lawrence,