And welcome to my very first “Ramble”. I chose to headline this “rambling” as I would like to think we are about to engage in the first of many conversations which will roam and ramble all over the place as we sally forth into the wild, wild web.
When it was first suggested I should start a blog, I found myself at a shocking loss for words. What should I do? What would I say? Why should anyone care?
And thus, finding myself now inflicted with this case of the mutes and no cure in sight, I take time to go savor the Tampa Bay Festival of Reading. As I stroll through tables and tables of books, I happen upon one near the end of an aisle and instantly find my mute button is now unlocked by my flabbergasted key.
There, piled askew, sit stacks and stacks of Challenged and Banned Books. There is Looking for Alaska by John Green, sitting next to Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home (loved the musical!). Sherman Alexie. Toni Morrison. Stephen Chbosky. Neil Gaiman. Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials, winner of a CBE, a Carnegie Medal and Second Place on the 2008 list. Tony Kushner’s Angles in America. Wow. And more wow, Jaycee Dugard’s memoir, A Stolen Life, challenged for drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit; challenged as unsuited for age group…you know, I do wonder if she finds that challenge kind of bitterly ironic?
David Benioff, co-creator of Game of Thrones, has had his novel City of Thieves challenged. Ditto Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – also challenged (and I just cannot gush enough about how much he deserved his Tony Award for it).
There are also the oldies but goodies stash, led by Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, published in 1884 and first banned in Concord. Massachusetts in 1885. And even (and I am so sadly not kidding here) Dr. Seuss’ Hop On Pop, apparently it was challenged for promoting violence against Dad.
And as I stand here, overwhelmed and surrounded by so much talent, so much brilliance, I realize I not only have my words back, I have what I want to say.
I Aspire to be in such company.
I Aspire to write a banned book.
One day I will write one …
And one day, maybe you will read it.