October 27th, 2003


Food for thought

Here's a guest editorial by a young woman who was expelled from one of our local schools for having written a story in her personal journal about dreaming about killing one of her teachers. Needless to say, when a teacher confiscated her journal and read the story, the girl got in plenty of trouble. I understand that the school board has since reconsidered its opinion. The thing that struck me were the last paragraphs, which I think is a message to all of us who consider ourselves writers.

This experience will not discourage me from writing. If anything it will motivate me to write more stories. I will just have to be more careful about where I write them and who I show them to.

I would never harm anyone or anything.

I hope that I have at least started to clear a path for more writers. I hope that they will learn from this that writing is an expression of self, and no one can take away your ability to write.

It reminds me of the number of stories that I've written over the years that I've hesitated to show to anyone because I was afraid of offending someone. Most of them have never found their way out of my head. That's a shame, mostly because it's a sign of weakness on my part, as though everyone's approval is more important than writing a story.

Someone once said that if a writer doesn't offend someone, he's not doing his job (or she's not doing her job). It's something I have to get over, and maybe every writer needs to get over.

Anyway, to quote Virginia Postrel, read the whole thing.