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Roses From Dark Places - Banned Books Week (Continued)
bibliomaniac
Bullied Linnet must find her courage and defeat a dragon...
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Sometimes, just sometimes, good comes out of bad.  Since I wrote my last post I have been overwhelmed by the responses I have received on a personal level, both from the book community and from the wider world outside it.  It has, at times, made me very emotional.  Scribble City Central has has had well over a thousand visitors in just a few days (a lot for a blog such as this) and the number is growing by the hour. Yesterday I was interviewed by Alison Flood of The Guardian newspaper, who wrote this article, bringing the #SpeakLoudly campaign to the attention of British readers, and that has now been picked up by the Huffington Post in the USA too.  So right now, I would just like to thank all of you who have taken the time to visit and comment here, on Twitter, on Facebook, on #SpeakLoudly and elsewhere--you are wonderful, and it means a great deal to me. 

The thing which has really overwhelmed me, though, is the private emails I have had from so many women, telling me their own stories of abuse as children and teenagers.  I will not tell you what they said--I do not intend to break the confidences I have been entrusted with.  However, they all had one thing in common which I can reveal.  Each told me that 'I'm not as brave as you. I'm not brave enough to speak out'.  I want to say this to them.  They were brave.  They were brave enough to write to me. And I will try to be another voice for them, along with Laurie Halse Anderson, Cheryl Rainfield, Ellen Hopkins and the myriad wonderful writers of YA and other fiction all over the world who continue to let the sunshine into the dark places of abuse and fear and shame and guilt and enable the roses to grow. I'd like to leave you with Ellen Hopkins' wonderful poem on the subject of book banning from her article in today's Huffington Post.  It says it all, really.

Manifesto

To you zealots and bigots and false

patriots who live in fear of discourse.

You screamers and banners and burners

who would force books

off shelves in your brand name

of greater good.

 

You say you're afraid for children,

innocents ripe for corruption

by perversion or sorcery on the page.

But sticks and stones do break

bones, and ignorance is no armor.

 

You do not speak for me,

and will not deny my kids magic

in favor of miracles.

 

You say you're afraid for America,

the red, white, and blue corroded

by terrorists, socialists, the sexually

confused. But we are a vast quilt

of patchwork cultures and multi-gendered

identities. You cannot speak for those

whose ancestors braved

different seas.

 

You say you're afraid for God,

the living word eroded by Muhammed

and Darwin and Magdalene.

But the omnipotent sculptor of heaven

and earth designed intelligence.

Surely you dare not speak

for the father, who opens

his arms to all.

 

A word to the unwise.

Torch every book.

Char every page.

Burn every word to ash.

Ideas are incombustible.

And therein lies your real fear.

© Ellen Hopkins 2010

PS: If you would like to join the fight against book banning, please sign up to SPEAK LOUDLYThe more who join in, the more powerful our voices will be.  And if you think that small things don't make a difference, just try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.