I started working on this blog post almost two years ago after I had purchased a banned book. Being able to select any book and read it is part of our democratic freedom.
Until today, the blog was parked in my “Pending” folder. I would review the post, edit, and the click saved. Writing is a process. I almost posted the blog when I read Rachel Gillett’s article in Business Insider about Elon Musk’s ex-wife, Justin Musk.
The article focused on the lessons Justin Musk had learned from her former husband. Her insight was brilliant and the article went viral on social media.
Justin Musk responded to a Quora thread about finding your passion which sparked the article by Gillett. Musk stated, “It’s not what gives you bliss or makes you happy 24/7, but what you’re willing to suffer for – what you genuinely believe to be worth the sacrifice.”
The passions and dreams that reside in our soul require work and dedication. Justine Musk talked about her emotional resonance and how it applied to her writings and life. Her main point is that we often overlook what is at the roots of our passion. What makes us tick and drives us to pursue our dreams.
Books provide an emotional resonance to me. Being dyslexic I had a difficult time reading in school and still scan across many words I am unable to decipher. Below is the original post.
Reading a Banned Book (2014)
For some, I walked on the edge today when I purchased a banned book. I found the book at an estate sale for .50 cents and could not resist. The lady of the house was not from Dallas as her book selection reflected a cosmopolitan traveler whom I suspect previously lived in New York City or Europe.
The banned book was The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. At home, I went through my collection of purchased books and started reading a couple of sentences from each book. After the first two pages of Stein’s book, I was hooked and could not put it down.
A dog tells the story. He dreams of becoming a man. I read the book within 48 hours and am completely dumbfounded why this book was banned. I searched through the pages seeking an answer. Anyone who spends time on the Internet sees the trash talk posted on social media networks which I believe is often far worse than what is written in this book.
The dog had compassion. He took a stand for truthfulness and decency; he was a man of honor.
In high school, I read Catcher in the Rye, Huckleberry Finn, Animal Farm, A Separate Piece, and other literary classics that were often banned or considered controversial.
My mother taught high school AP English for 30 years and assigned many of these famous books. She always gave her students an option if they requested to read a different book. I can remember when the first Harry Potter was published and how it was banned by schools and organizations.
Dr. Scott Peck wrote about how life is hard in his timeless book – The Road Less Traveled. Learning how to deal with the hard knocks and messy aspects of life is not easy. There is a time and place for everything. Instead of banning books it is our responsibility as parents to discuss with our children why we believe a specific book or movie should not be read or viewed.
When I was teenager my mother explained her reasoning why I could not see R-rated movies. I did not always agree with my mother; however, I always respected her judgment. Now, I am a parent and can fully understand and appreciate her wisdom. A teacher at heart she focused on educating me about difficult situations and subject matters. She offered guidance as I learned to make my own decisions.
As a teacher, my mother was against book banning. She believed it was important to educate her students and focused on teaching them how to make good decisions. She discussed writers who offered her students an opportunity to study from afar the hardships of life, and then discuss solutions for handling these difficult situations.
As authors, it is our responsibility to make sure what we write and create is to the best of our ability and most importantly encourages our readers to think. There are about two dozen books that have stayed with me through the years. Reading these books forever changed my thinking, awareness, and perspective.
I know why I write and why it is important to me. Just like Justin Musk discussed how we are willing to suffer and sacrifice for our passions. We must be willing to stand up and make a difference for what we genuinely believe is worth our efforts. Writing books is what is important to me for many reasons, and I make the effort to manage my dyslexia so I can write.
I think about the book, the emotions I felt while reading, and most importantly, I think about how I wished the dog in The Art of Racing in the Rain was a real person.