Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Censorship is Not Parenting (#SpeakLoudly)

I have some shocking news for you: People still try to ban books. I know, right?

I have some MORE shocking news for you: I'm a Christian mother of two children and I think that censorship is complete and total bullshit.

There, I said it. Not bullshit, because I say things like that all the time. But I admitted, for all of the internet to see, that I have a religious worldview that colors my actions and the way I live. And that worldview is NOT the same as this man, who is trying to ban Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, among other books. Why did I just do that? Because I don't need people like him to try and "protect" my children. I'd like to let him know, loud and clear, that protecting my kids from the "dangers" of the written word is MY JOB.

It's up to ME to read a book and decide if and when my child is ready to read it. And I very, very much intend for my daughter to read books like Speak. I can only hope that seeing a fictional girl go through difficult times will help her to understand that she doesn't have to. That she should be strong and SPEAK UP. That's what books do, after all. They put us in situations that we (hopefully) haven't been in. Whether it's fantasy or straight-up non-fiction, if we experience something with a character then it's possible to learn from that without ever physically experiencing it ourselves. What more could a parent want for a child then to give them life's hard lessons without having them hurt??

This is why I think that books dealing with difficult subjects aren't just good, but VITAL to a child's growth. Just as I, as a teenager, came to understand that my faith - which is part of what makes me who I am - will only grow stronger by questioning. If you question something, then you look for an answer. I don't want to raise children who are sheltered from the world and grow up never asking the important questions. I want to raise kids who think, who question, who explore, and who, ultimately, are all the stronger for it. I hope that the children influenced by Mr. Scroggins find a way to do the same.

Other posts/resources you might like to read:
Michelle Hodkins: Speak Loudly AND Carry a Big Stick (How books get banned.)
Myra McEntire: Speak Loudly (A very insightful writer's perspective.)
ALA's Banned Books Lists
Whimsical Fic-ery: Our Favorite Banned Books

Monday, September 13, 2010

SRS BZNS & Belief

I have a confession to make: I don't take a lot of things seriously.

As a stay-at-home-mom, this works in my favor. It's much easier to relate to a 5 and a 2 year old that way. Even in my adult-life, I take time to understand the gravity of a situation just so I know how to mock it. So, when I went to the Decatur Book Festival two weekends ago (read about it here!) I was totally psyched for the fun. What could be better than books, people who WRITE books, and people who READ books all in one place? (Answer? Nothing.)

I was not, however, prepared to be hit in the face with a desire to be *gulp* serious about writing books as a business. (See what I did there? *snort*) I've been writing for a while now, but I try not to think about the whole 'what happens next' part. I mean, sure, I know that I'm writing an amazingly incredible story that you all will be just IN LOVE WITH the moment it's published. Some part of me has kinda sat back and said "And if you never finish, it's no big deal. You're just doing this for you." See that? I was giving myself an out. I wasn't SERIOUS about it.

But then I met real writers and saw how much they LOVED it. And I thought about how much I loved it. And about how much I wanted to be ONE of them. Other people in my life could see this desire even more clearly than I could. Cheryl (one of my very best friends and prereaders/cheerleaders) gave me the 2011 Guide To Literary Agents for my birthday because she believes I'll really do it. My husband wrote, in my birthday card, how proud he is of me and how he truly believes I'll accomplish my goal of being published. If they believe in me, shouldn't I actually believe in myself?

So, I'm headed to the Auburn Writer's Conference next month. It's about time I start taking this whole 'writing' thing seriously. I even ordered business cards:

Okay, so there's a limit to the amount of serious I can handle. *wink*