I just want to read

I learned to read before I went to kindergarten. (Trust me, this will piss off a teacher no end) My oldest sister – aka Satan – was in college, learning to be a teacher, and she practiced on me. Actually, all the kids did, I was the youngest so when we played “school,” I was the one who learned something while they were just being bossy. 🙂

When I got to first grade and was totally bored with See Jack Run (yes, I’m old, as my friend Kristy says “shutty.” ), the teacher was equally bored with me and didn’t exactly encourage my prowess. It didn’t matter. My parents were both readers, and all of us in my family share a love of books to this day.

I read everything that looked like a good story, and some that were not so great. It didn’t matter, really, it was a book, and it was a ticket to an adventure, and another world, and I can’t tell you how many times I was told to go to bed and I begged for “just one more chapter!”

I think I was in high school before I paid attention to the name on the front of the book, the name of the person who actually wrote these stories that took me to far off lands and wonderful adventures. I had never paid attention to anything but the story itself. I think it was J.R.R. Tolkien who changed that for me, I tore through The Hobbit and the trilogy and what the heck? People actually write series? I can read more than one book about a character? Holy cow, who knew?

I never cared about the author, except if he or she had a new book coming out, or if the last one was as good as the others, or dear Jebus, does the library carry them? I didn’t care about the author’s skin color, or race, or nationality, or religion. I didn’t care about the characters skin color, or race, or nationality, or religion unless it was pertinent to the story.

I still don’t care. I just want to read a book, If the book is about something abhorrent to me, if the main character were a horrible racist and described as a hero, I wouldn’t read further. I’m an adult, I can figure out that I wouldn’t enjoy that story. I don’t have to agree with someone to enjoy their work. I might not like the guy who plows the roads but I’m damned happy if he does a good job! (It snowed here this morning. In April. Don’t get me started on global warming.)

And in today’s world, children – and yes, they seem to be children to me – are cancelling authors who may have written wonderful, amazing stories, that would be a life line to a child in need of one, They’re cancelling authors for any number of reasons. I saw a sad post from an aspiring writer the other day – she said she loved to write stories but as a white person, she felt terrified that she would get some detail wrong if she wrote about a character of another color, as a heterosexual female, she felt she had no right to write about a character who was of another gender or who was perhaps bisexual or gay, and that no matter how much research she did, she would never feel that she wasn’t making a mistake, some tiny mistake, that would destroy any work she might have done. She said that she was thinking of giving up her dream because there was no longer any joy.

I just read We The Living, by Ayn Rand. (Speaking of authors, this one I never read till college and then was forced into Atlas Shrugged at a time when it made no impression on me at all. Or did it? I returned to her work at the suggestion of Peachy (aka, my enabler) and it’s certainly making an impression on me now) Some of the characters in this book experience this same despair – for those of you who haven’t read it, it’s set in the early days of the Russian revolution and the Communist takeover. It saddened and frightened me to see this same despair playing out in a young person today. In America – where I grew up believing you could be anything you wanted to be if you just tried hard enough.

What’s the point of trying if you’re going to be cancelled for a “micro-aggression?”

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22 Responses to I just want to read

  1. The cancel culture is ruining this country. I read Altas Shrugged in 2009 and it opened my eyes. Who is John Galt?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love anything by Ronald Dahl.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. yarnmama10 says:

    I also had figured out how to read before entering school. No one taught me per se, I just figured the code for some words by being read to so much. It was my primary entertainment.

    I can’t even wrap my mind around a society that is so hyper sensitive that an author isn’t free to just tell a story. WTAF?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Both of my children could read chapter books before kindergarten and I had battles with teachers because of it. H taught herself and reads and writes still. I was a reluctant reader or so the nun said. Now I love to get lost in a book.
    It’s a very sad state of affairs if a person gives up on something they enjoy because they fear what someone will say. What about the people they will touch with their writing? Surely more people will lose out than will be fake offended. This cancel culture attitude must be cancelled.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can understand the girl’s thoughts, though. The people who go after these authors are quite vicious and unless the author is someone famous enough, or with a big enough following, to withstand the storm, they can lose everything. J.K. Rowling has been through this recently – with people actually crying because they love Harry Potter but hate her. Her books are too popular to be cancelled. Smaller authors aren’t given the same privilege.

      Liked by 1 person

      • While I can understand feeling that way someone has to say enough is enough. If everyone gives up and gives into the mob we all lose. Bullies have to be stood up to. People need to be taught to stand together against the mob. JK Rowling stood her ground because she truly believed what she said. Young people need to be taught they have to stand up for their convictions.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I deciphered my first Sumerian cuneiforms when I was still a small Mespotamian.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am an avid reader, with a strong desire to escape into another world and someone else’s life. My mom was an avid reader and I’ve been told that I loved having stories read to me, so she would bargain with me to promise me a story if I behaved. It worked most of the time, I’m told. As a member of the grammar police, the spelling police and the punctuation police, it is seldom I read a book without picking up a mistake on at least one of these. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” reminds me that we are all human and we all make mistakes. If a story is meaty enough to leave a mark on me, I can overlook mistakes. I feel bad that authors have lost the joy in writing because of fear of making a mistake! They ARE books of fiction, and that means some discretionary liberties are permitted! Authors, I hope, will find the courage to write those books and choose to call any ‘cancel culture’ stuff as discretionary liberties!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s interesting how so many of us share the same experience of learning to read early and falling in love with it. I also agree that research needs to be done – I wouldn’t attempt to write about anything without doing research first. What upsets me is that it seems that no amount of research is enough, but if a book doesn’t have at least one bisexual, person of color, transsexual, etc character, it’s also cancelled!

      Like

  7. Reblogged this on Ramblings and Ruminations and commented:

    As an avid reader, this blog article really hit home with me! I hope you enjoy it as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Peachy says:

    Yes, whatever happened to fiction being fiction? Why do we need things to be accurate? We should just all start writing about aliens who probably couldn’t care less how they are represented in a work of FICTION. Let me just pull out my dictionary to check the definition of that word again…

    Liked by 1 person

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