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"!