I recently was hired to work at my local library part-time.
Seriously, I’ve yet to find one thing that consumes me to the exclusion of all other possibilities –
(Yes, okay, okay, I will add the caveat of, “for any long-amount of time, for it could change tomorrow, next year or next second as I learn more about me, my world and navigate the whole “Why I’m here” conundrum –
I freely confess to being accused simultaneously of Procrastination, Stagnation and Life Motto of, “Oh, that was so two seconds ago!”
And just as frequently accused of “Dog with a Bone” tendencies, since I tend to remember history and past patterns – social, cultural, governmental, religious and personal.)
This Sunday Morning Spent…
Reading the American Library Association’s collected information for Banned Books Week – Information on our shared American history of Freedom of Speech and Changing Times, Current Trends, Perennial Trends, etc., etc., etc.
What I learned made me want to cry in frustration
For, you know…
Over the years, I have read many of the books contained on the Top 100 Banned & Frequently Challenged Books List, that, apparently, still make the damn top Most Wanted 100 List Every Year.
(Yes, I just cussed, online and outloud – be grateful I showed restraint and didn’t use the ‘f’ word…)
My thoughts turned to…
- How very lucky I am to have been raised in a home full of books and by parents who loved to read,
- To have been educated by teachers who saw the beauty and wisdom to be found in literature
- To have had the support of School and Public Librarians who didn’t ask why I wanted a book, but simply showed me how to find it in card catalogue/shelves, or ordered it in for me from another library.
While there are so many books I still have on my “To Read List”…
(so many, in fact, I may not live long enough to read them all)
Today, I am carried back to my younger self and I fully become aware, as I scanned the various lists compiled – and I ponder upon:
“Where would I be, just now, if I didn’t have this perspective in my brain to remember the story of?”
So many of the books I read during my childhood – how many humans are never trusted enough to even be exposed to?
Protection? Tyranny? Fear of Change? Why!?
And why doesn’t every child, young adult, adult get the Freedom envisioned by the Founding Fathers of America,
(which had to be clarified by the First Amendment to the Constitution of our Country, just to make sure, everyone got the message,
“You come here? Things are going to be done and said that might make your blood boil, you are free to expose yourself to such information, gather and talk about it, if enough of you are showing up to discuss, we won’t make the media shut-up about reporting about it – we will protect them, whether they deserve it or not & were responsible or not – Whether we agree with them or not…That’s who we wish to be…”)
(You do know my current views regarding mass media and social media, right? If not, well, travel through the archives, you’ll find frequent breadcrumbs to the trail of why is it so, are ya kidding, and we gotta do something about THIS! Don’t we? Why Not?)
I grew up surrounded
By family, teachers, librarians who took the time to share the context, history and concerns of the time/place in which the idea of a story was born and shared.
Was introduced to the circumstances, (societal and personal experience), which inspired a writer to take up their pen, examine their inner/outer worlds, and share.
Was trusted to take the perspective, ponder upon and choose –
…is not found just in the pages of Scientifically proven, Academically Approved or Historically Accurate Deemed texts –
It’s also in Our Stories – Oral traditions, Published Works, Personal Shares.
The best of us, the worst of us, the times we got it right and the times we didn’t. The stories of those who have cried and stood alone
The times we cried, got mad and then stood together, with raising voice,
“We can, (must!) Be Better!”
Always, there are the first brave souls who dared to show us how bad it could get, or how wonderful it could be – if only…
Who were willing to say, “This is the World I Dream Of” – and put it out for all to see – no matter how it might be judged by history.
Such a fine, ever-changing line we humans walk – for better or worse –
While we try to find that balance between helping and harming.
We are Explorers – all of us, internal and external – and the call of what is/could be is never far from tempting us – whether our current surroundings make it easy or hard.
Happy Reading & Writing – 🙂
My Current List of Banned/Challenged Classic Books Read
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
- Ordinary People, Judith Guest
- Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
- Catch-22, Joseph Heller
- The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
- Gone with The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
- Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
- Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, Judy Blume
- Cujo, Stephen King
- Forever, Judy Blume
- The Holy Bible
- A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
- Tiger Eyes, Judy Blume
- Lord of the Flies, William Golding
- Animal Farm, George Orwell
- The Call of the Wild, Jack London
- Ulysses, James Joyce
- Blubber, Judy Blume
- Go Ask Alice, Anonymous
- Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean M. Auel
- The Valley of Horses, Jean M. Auel
- The Mammoth Hunters, Jean M. Auel
- The Plains of Passage, Jean M. Auel
- The Shelters of Stone, Jean M. Auel
- To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
- 1984, George Orwell
- A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kensey
- For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
- Go Tell it on the Mountain, James Baldwin
- The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Jungle, Upton Sinclair