Book Banning

banned books

 

I came across an article in my Facebook feed today and had to write about it.

Banning books is something that has always been associated with Nazis and Communists. The picture of armed soldiers and brain-washed citizens standing round a pyre of burning books is something straight from a dystopian novel. Or is it?

In Portland, OR the Public Schools board voted to eliminate the use of any textbooks or other materials that are “found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities.” 

Whether you believe in man-made global warming or not, this is incredibly wrong. To keep information out of the hands of children (or anyone for that matter) simply because it does not fit one’s world view is pure Nazism.

A school should be a place where children are taught to think critically for themselves. Not a place where they are force-fed the ideology of a school board or teacher. Where are we headed or to where have we already come if the opportunity to think and argue and discover truth is taken from us?

A dystopian society is not just some fantasy world in the YA section at Barnes and Noble. It is a reality waiting to happen and all it needs is for people to stop thinking.

“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
George Orwell, 1984

Five Biggest Distractions From My Writing

Writing is a solitary and exhausting endeavor. It takes so much concentration that I find myself easily distracted. What are my five greatest distractions?

  1. My Children. I love them dearly, but they do demand most of my attention. Especially my seven month old, Lucy. So how do I deal with such distractions? I write when they have gone to bed.
  2. Reading. As do most writers, I love to read and it can be a tremendous distraction. I only allow myself time to read after I have written a certain amount.
  3. My Blogs. There is a need for us unknown authors to do whatever we can promote ourselves. Unfortunately this self-promotion takes the time that I should be using toward writing my next book. I try to write a blog post no more than every two weeks. 
  4. Other Interests. I have always loved the arts and I have an insatiable desire to learn new forms of art; from watercolours to tapestry weaving. The best I can do is to push it out of my mind and create a new drawing every month or so.
  5. Everything Else. Cooking, cleaning, shopping, teaching, laundry… I have yet to determine how to conquer these distractions. Unless I find that I am heir to a great fortune I will just have to learn to work around them. 

What keeps you from writing?

My Five Favorite Words

 

Words-010

The idea for this post came from an article with the subject of blog posts suggestions. I have far more than five favorite words, but as to keep this post from being too tedious for the reader I’ll keep it to just the five.

Withershins- counterclockwise, contrary to what is natural, unlucky

There are certain words which bring about a specific reaction before even knowing the definition. Withershins is one of those words. It feels very ominous.

Catawampus- crooked

This is one of those words that is just fun to say. Try it. Cat.a.wam.pus. So much better than just saying crooked.

The sound of some words gives a hint to their meanings. Such as…

Mollycoddle- pamper, baby

If you’re reading a book and the father says to the mother, “Don’t mollycoddle that boy!” you know what he means even if you’ve never seen the word before.

Insouciant- easy-going, casual

Insouciant is another word that sounds a bit like its meaning. Insouciant sounds smooth and laid back.

Pugnacious- inclined to quarrel or fight readily

A common word, but one that I like the sound of and it so perfectly paints a picture. Pugnacious is a great word for character description.

There you have it; five of my favorite words. If you have some words that you would like to share, please leave them in the comments. I would love to add to my list.

Finding the time to write

I want to thank Helen for writing this. I have been really struggling to get my second book finished because of a lack of time; her post let me see that even someone who has more books than I, has the same hardships.

Helen Pollard writes ...

This is a perennial problem for most writers, and one I wish I had a better answer to.

Most of the time, the answer is:  I don’t.

Not what you were expecting? Sorry.

When I took up writing again about five years ago after a long raising-my-family-and-returning-to-work gap, it wasn’t too hard for me to snatch the odd hour here and there. And at that time, writing was all I was doing in that odd hour. Well, that and a little internet research on technique, agents, publishers – but in the main, my aim was simply to watch my manuscript grow.

Oh, how I wish that was still the case.

I’ve mentioned in previous blogs about my naivety when I got my first contract. I knew I would have to create a website, start blogging, get going on social media, but I really had no idea how much promo and…

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Favorite Literary Character

Sam Wise Gamgee

When I considered My Favorite Literary Character as a subject for this post I was frustrated with the idea of choosing just one. As you know when you are an avid reader you collect many favorite characters. But as I thought about each one I noticed the majority of them had similar characteristics and that Sam embodied them all.

Of course the character is only as good as the author writes him and Tolkien had a gift for creating characters with such depth and complexity of personality, that even the villain Gullom at times elicits our pity.

So what is it about Sam? Sam is ever loyal to his master.

“It would be the death of you to come with me, Sam,” said Frodo, “and I could not have borne that.”

“Not as certain as being left behind,” said Sam.

“But I am going to Mordor.”

“I know that well enough, Mr. Frodo. Of course you are. And I’m coming with you.”

Sam is humble. He doesn’t envy Mr. Frodo’s wealth or position but is content to be his gardener.

Sam is brave. He takes on Orcs, giant spiders, men, and Gollum. In probably the most powerful scene in Return of the King, Frodo has nearly given up but Sam finds the strength to help him complete his task.

“Come, Mr. Frodo!’ he cried. ‘I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well. So up you get! Come on, Mr. Frodo dear! Sam will give you a ride. Just tell him where to go, and he’ll go”

And he desires good and is willing to fight for it.

“There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.”

Though Frodo was chosen to save Middle Earth he couldn’t have done it without Sam; ever loyal, humble, brave, and good.

 

 

 

Books or Movies

A few months ago I was standing in the book section of Sams when I overheard the couple next to me discussing a title that had recently been made into a film. The female asked her male counterpart if she should read the book before watching the film, to which he replied that she would be less disappointed with the film if she waited and read the book afterwards.I found his response very interesting as I had just watched the final installment of The Hobbit and was again disappointed in its inaccuracy.

My husband and I have commented time and again about how books make the best movies.  Of course that is when the director sticks to the book. But unfortunately they most often do not. And I wonder why, if the book was popular enough to be made into a movie, do the directors not just leave the story alone.

There seems to be a consensus in Hollywood that moviegoers will not pay to see a film unless it is full of violence or romance or sex or all three. Consider The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien published this book in 1937 and it has been incredibly popular ever since. So why change it? Why make a single book into a three-part movie? Why add story lines that never existed in the original writing?

I can only come back again to the notion that movie makers are under the delusion that we won’t watch something that we thoroughly enjoyed in print, unless it appeals in some way to our carnal natures. In this case there was the added violence between Thorin Oakenshield and an Orc that never existed. I can’t help but wonder at how disappointed Tolkien would be to see what was done to his story.

And that also makes me wonder what living authors like Lois Lowry and Jeanne DuPrau think about the movie counterparts to their books. Were they as frustrated as I was with film versions of The Giver and The City of Ember?

So I think the young man in Sams had it right. If you don’t want to be disappointed while watching the movie, don’t read the book first.

Is The Camper Getting Smaller?

A Merry Band of Travelers

alice

Or am I just getting bigger? I’m afraid it’s the latter. I feel like Alice after eating the cakes, growing and growing until she is stuck in Rabbit’s house. Of course I can’t blame it all on cake; I think being thirty-six weeks pregnant has a little more to do with it. Yes, just four weeks to go and we will have a new little traveler.

It hasn’t been exactly easy being pregnant in a shared thirty-five feet. The already small shower feels like a shoebox and my ‘camper queen’ bed (which relates to a full-size in the real world) has the feeling of a toddler bed with a super cheap mattress. But I’m not complaining (or am I) it will be worth all of the adversity when little Lucy finally makes her appearance. I’m just not sure where we’re going to put her. ; )

In all honesty I…

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