Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Banned Books

I'm back at The Java House. I was standing in line waiting to order a Java House organic blend brew (yes, filter coffee) and someone comes up behind me and gives me the sort of squeeze that could crush ribs. It's Dragica, the Swiss Croatian who thinks I'm going home with her to marry her son. She's here writing, like me. It's a good place to write.

It's only 10.30, and already I've had two people chat to me about the International Writing Program (because of my bag) and one woman tell me she likes my skirt. I like this overt friendliness. It makes a person bubble first thing in the morning. Apart from that, I've been making faces with a little girl at the table next to me. Yes, I'm supposed to be writing!!!!!!!

But there's so much to look at. Like, the fascinating artworks on the wall, and the banned books brewed coffee line-up. You wait for your coffee to filter under a banned book number. It's like a mild form of political protest. Let's pour coffee on the powers that be that try to control what we read. Mine was number 7 today - Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (which I have read). Number 8 is Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, which I just returned to the library.

In America, the religious order is very strong and controlling and has caused many books to be banned in libraries and schools - books which question and provoke thought like 1984 by George Orwell and The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton which is about poverty and gangs, and how good kids get caught up in it because of where they are born and what becomes their community. Thank goodness, book-banning doesn't happen so much in New Zealand. Although I do remember Lockwood Smith trying to get The Color Purple by Alice Walker banned as a studied text at secondary school level. Did he succeed? I can't remember.


  1. What a wonderful opportunity you have been given through Creative New Zealand! I hope that it inspires you to new heights, and I hope that you get a chance to share your talent with others in America.

  2. Thanks. You're right. I feel very privileged to be given this chance. Your comment has given me some extra inspiration to write this morning, and perhaps I'll go along to see if the Iowa City Public Library would like me to read to children at some stage.