Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Blumesday and writing heroes

Apparently Judy Blume has a day of her very own: According to this article on NPR, Blumesday was yesterday.  Judy Blume is one of my biggest heroes -- I have a picture of her on my fridge that I tore out of a magazine in college -- so this headline on NPR yesterday caught my eye.

The funny thing is, I haven't read all of Judy Blume's books -- not by far.  I read Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret when I was a kid, as well as a couple others, and I read Forever in college for a YA lit class where, ironically, I had to try to defend why the book shouldn't be banned (an anti-censorship exercise our professor had us do in small groups).

What I admire about Judy Blume isn't just her books -- they are wonderful, of course, but that's not why she's my hero.  I admire her for writing about controversial topics, and continuing to do so, even after so many of her books have been challenged and/or banned.  I'm of the opinion that -- at least in children's and YA lit -- if you're not making some teachers and parents outraged, you're not doing your job as a writer.  A writer's job is not just to entertain, but also to make people think, to expand their minds at least a little, and in order to do that you need to risk pissing off a few of the more rigid individuals.

Of course, even though I admire her and her writing, most of what I write isn't anything like Judy Blume's books: It's fantasy instead of realism, new adult instead of juvenile and young adult.  But I still hope to piss off at least a few of my readers someday.

Who are your writing heroes, and what is it, exactly, that they make you want to strive for?  Hopefully at least one my readers has a more noble goal as a writer than "pissing people off"!

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