A glamorous newscaster stands before the camera crew, microphone in hand.
“Tonight we’re coming to you live from Yourtown, America, where it’s Banned Book Week, and the number one thing on everyone’s mind—is your book banned?”
She holds the microphone out toward the camera which swings around to reveal a startled author.
The camera crew pans back to the newscaster.
“But would it be, if they knew what was in it?”
The author’s gaze darts nervously to the sides.
“Oh definitely. For sure.”
Maybe it seems comical and farfetched, Reader, but it’s happening in towns and cities all across the US today. More and more books are being banned each week for the dumbest of reasons.
Which is shocking, given that I live in a country that prides itself on granting its citizens the freedom of speech above all things.
Fortunately, I’m lucky enough to live in a state where the act of banning books is illegal. (Can I get a round of applause for California?) Sadly, most are not so lucky, Reader.
‘Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.’ — Voltaire
But let’s be real here, it’s not that big a leap to go from the banning of books to the burning of them. Anyone who’s even skimmed history could tell you that.
And as I sit here looking at my shelf of Floridian contraband, I begin to wonder, will my books be banned next?
Will my books be ripped from the hands of a teen reader?
Will they be called dirty? Erotic? A sex crime?
Will they be thrown in a dumpster as a performative political stunt?
Will they be burned?
It might seem like a dystopian nightmare that only belongs in the pages of Fahrenheit 451, but the terrifying truth is we’re nearly there now.
But there’s still time to fix things. To rise up and demand change. To say, I want to live in a world with diverse voices. Where representation matters. And where history isn’t rewritten with lies.
And where books aren’t banned.
Your cohort in storytelling,
PS 👉 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is right around the corner and so I’m going to be releasing an Outline in an Hour workshop in the next 2 weeks. This workshop will be exactly what you need to go from “What do I write?” to a flexible outline roadmap on November 1st.
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