About the story behind the campaign to acquire William Blake’s Cottage in Felpham, to honour Blake, truth, and the appeal’s donors and supporters.
The Blake Cottage Trust’s parade of lies and abuse of power is the worst insult that the legacy of William Blake can ever receive
READ THE FULL STORY IN THE 18 CHAPTERS
IN “MY TESTIMONY” SECTION
R E A D N E W B L O G E N T R I E S I N B L O G S E C T I O N
I N C L U D I N G I R R E G U L A R I T I E S I N T H E B C T & B S ‘ S F I N A N C I A L I N F O R M A T I O N
I have set up this webpage in the hope that those who care about the future of William Blake’s Cottage in Felpham may find out that things are not as they should, and decide by themselves whether if there is anything they can do to help demand accountability from the Blake Society and the Blake Cottage Trust, so that one day the Cottage may be in the hands of people with integrity and become what we promised the public that it would be.
I am an author (poetry and fiction) and translator, of Mexican origin, and I have been living in London since 1999. I was a Trustee of the Blake Society for four years, its Secretary for two, and co-founder of the Society’s appeal to acquire Blake’s Cottage and turn it into a centre for creation. I articulated much of the original project that people supported.
In the blog section you will find more precise information about what has gone wrong. It includes former entries from my personal blog (www.diazenciso.wordpress.com), that I have now copied here.
We started the Cottage appeal with the ideal to make a contribution, however tiny, to make of this world a better place through a home for artists, authors and thinkers. The work they would create there would then go out into the world; the Cottage’s doors would be a threshold between creation and the public, and open to all.
William Blake believed in such things. His battle was personal and social, spiritual and political. He knew that without the integration of the different forces within us, all we could hope for was strife, violence, hatred and fear. We wanted to counter the ways of the world that William Blake challenged himself and create a haven for the dissenting imagination. In fact, the very first step that the Blake Society’s Chairman, Tim Heath, and myself took towards this project in 2013, way before it became public, was contact the relevant organisation in the hope that part of the Cottage’s programme could become a House of Refuge for persecuted writers. We’d make of Felpham a City of Refuge!
That was a goal worthy of Blake – it encompassed the truthfulness, beauty, dignity and courage, and ultimately faith in the transformation of war into joy that were his lifeline.
Instead of that, and at the core of the Society that bears his name and is supposed to care for his legacy, some of the meanest and most degrading forces within poor sleeping Albion have been unleashed, dragging the whole project, and the spirit of trust and generosity of all those who supported it, into the mire.
To go on paraphrasing Blake, the Spectre of some individuals went rampant. Rage, the confusion and blindness of inner states of fragmentation slowly turned into hatred and destruction. We can imagine this as Blake’s unwritten Prophetic Poem and picture Albion sleepwalking, so dead to the world that he cannot care for truth and beauty, not even when they come from himself, for he can be both the person who devotes 30 years of his life to an invaluable and generous work preserving Blake’s legacy and, at the very same time, the one who splatters Blake – and his Cottage – with mud, mixing up his own demons with Blake in such an entangled way that he no longer can see the difference. This is indeed a tragedy, an extraordinarily sad thing to watch. It is also something that no individual has the right to do as a Trustee, let alone Chair, serving the public in a Charity – let alone two!
To the initial repeated question, Why?, the reasoning, the hand stretched out over and over for a constructive dialogue, then the warnings, there has never been an answer to this day.
To this person’s were linked the hatred and rage of other Spectres in the Blake Society – this is indeed, more than anything else, a story of broken spirits, and the havoc they can wreak. Again, however much these people may be deserving of compassion (things must be harsh in your life indeed to behave like this), these are people who had no right to do what they did. Not with a public project that people supported in good will. Not working as Trustees of a Charity.
And then comes what is perhaps the meanest, most miserable part of this story: the rest of the Blake Society Trustees themselves, who saw and knew what was happening, keep on seeing and knowing, have repeatedly expressed their outrage and indignation and yet just stood and stared. They stared at harm being done to a common project, to the good will and support of hundreds of others, harm to the very Society they are supposed to have in their care, and harm to concrete human beings, without doing anything to stop it. When they realised I was going to speak out, they all joined in the scapegoating (the scapegoat being my humble person), and are all, every single one of them, colluding with what they have condemned: gross deceit of the public around a public project, stealing of people’s work, harm to others, an insult to Blake’s name and just in passing, allowing the Cottage to go into ever greater disrepair. They are together in this with the Blake Cottage Trust: the Blake Society by washing its hands off its responsibility for the project, the Blake Cottage Trust by ignoring that they are an illegitimate organism, grasping on to whatever power they believe the Cottage might confer to them and proving in the process completely incapable to look after it. Why?
For over three years I have been trying to communicate with every single person involved in this rather sad state of affairs. I have given them the benefit of the doubt endless times, asked to meet up with them in person, that all of us involved in the project, in fact, meet in person in order to set things right, for all of us to work together; I have been asking for open communication, transparency, at least a tiny bit of honesty and good will, to no avail. Everybody in the Blake Society, then in the Blake Cottage Trust, knows how hard I have tried to find a solution so that there was no need to make this public, so that we could all concentrate our energies instead in saving the Cottage and creating the beautiful place we promised to the public that we would create.
After such a long time of receiving not only no response, but of being on the receiving end of bullying, scapegoating and slandering, and of watching how these people keep on using and abusing others, lying, scheming about what is here for them if they collude in the cover up, tearing the poor Cottage apart in the hope that they’ll get a slice of it, instead of doing the only thing they had to do, which was precisely care, I simply had to speak out, I could keep silent no longer.
It is all very simple. It is a matter of care: for people and things. Rather than honouring such a basic human principle, these people have engaged in harming people and things. Anyone who understands Blake surely knows that doing so in his name is a particularly nasty insult to him.
As events develop I am being witness to a fascinating staging of the human comedy. It is also rather unedifying. It is indeed good material for that unwritten Prophetic Poem we were talking about, but I’d much rather we didn’t have to go through such destruction in order to learn a bit more about what it can also mean to be human, if we’re not careful.
It is up now to everyone who knows what is going on to do their part, if they care enough.
If you want to read several relevant documents please go to the “About and Documents” section in this webpage.
If you browse around the different sections in this blog, I think you will have a clearer idea of what is going on.
If we are lucky, Albion may still awake.