26 September 2013

Musing on Parents, Kids and Banned Books

I'm a parent of three children, one junior high student and two elementary school students. I'm a hovering sort of parent, keeping them in my line of sight. I don't like leaving the kids at their various activities alone. It's also not because I don't trust the instructors or other parents to act in my best interest should something terrible happen, but because they are my kids and my responsibility. (I want to be there for and with them.)

My husband and I want our children to be happy, healthy, contributing members of society. We take this responsibility seriously. We strongly encourage (ok, sometimes bribe) the kids to each their veggies, make sure they get their 8-10 hours of sleep, make sure that we know their friends, and introduce ourselves to the parents of their close friends. We think of ourselves as involved parents who know what is going on in our kids lives, at least most of the time.

Which might make you think that we censor our kids' music, books, and movies. We don't. Nickelback, with their racy lyrics, is on our kids' playlists. We've bought them all their own copies of the Harry Potter Series books. We watched "The Help" together. (Yes, even the little one watched. Her expression was priceless when we explained the type of pie that Miss Hilly ate.)

Don't get me wrong, we won't let our 1st grader read "Lord of the Flies" yet. Only because she wouldn't understand it at this point in her educational career. However, when the kids get around to reading it, I'll certainly be interested in hearing their opinions.

Our policy is to not ban the media, so long as it's mostly age-appropriate. Instead we talk about it as we listen, watch, or read it together. We discuss the questionable content, why we don't agree with it, why certain words are not to be repeated, why certain attitudes and actions are or aren't allowed in our house, and why it's important to respect the opinion of others, especially if you don't agree with them.

So it always surprises me when Banned Week comes around and I read that parents challenge and get books banned from a school's curriculum or library. Prohibiting your child from reading something? That seems like waving the red cape in front of the angry bull, making the book all the more alluring. (Or at least, it does for my kids.)

Many of these challenged books reveal something about human nature that shocks and angers. (Human nature isn't all love and empathy. Shocking, I know.) There may be a few individuals who read these stories and think the sex, violence, abusive language, questionable behavior depicted something to act out. However, they are the few. From my own observations, most people don't react that way. (No one from my high school graduating class has gone tried a "Lord of the Flies" camp with anyone. Thank goodness.)

I respect that some parents may prohibit their children to read certain stories. That is within their responsibility and right. Every parent has the right to determine, with their child's best interests at heart, what story and when said story can be read. I object when a few parents take it to the extreme and decide for everyone else.

So in support of Banned Books Week, here are some links that I suggest you check out.
FWIW: After perusing the list at the Wikipedia, I'll be reading "The Pillars of the Earth" in honor of Banned Books week. I'll also have the kids pick out a book or two.

19 September 2013

What I'm Up To (if not revising)

This month I signed up for 21 Moments - Round 4 and Platform Bingo - Round 2.  Like I needed more work to do, but when else would I take on developing my writer's platform or writing just for the sake of writing? Exactly. There isn't ever a better time.

For these writing challenges, I'm handwriting everything in notebooks. Thought I'd try out someone's theory of getting more written by longhand instead of typing. I can say, that while the thoughts aren't laid out as nice as I'd like, getting to 200-300 words for the 21 Moments is much easier since I can't use the delete button. Which makes keeping caught up a breeze. It's also nice to have the work in one, tangible place. I will say that I've gotten some interesting bits from the 21 Moments.

Platform Bingo, Round 1, highlighted that I have some work to do with my platform. With time, effort, and published works, eventually my platform will mature. Round 2 started with interesting tasks, which brought up the question of when to get my very own website. Still thinking about that.

Until I figure that out, I thought I'd share of a bit of the work that I've completed from Platform Bingo, Round 1. Christina's task for the last day of round was to write a Bio. It took a while, but I finally finished it. Read it below, dissect it, give me feedback - if you like.

Anne Velosa loves a challenge. Which is why the former materials engineer became a writer. That and because she loves a good story. 
Writing a story that whisks a reader away on a mini-vacation, raises interesting questions, and plucks the heartstrings has proven quite a challenge for Anne, but one she gladly takes on. She enjoys reading different genres, so her novels contain elements of romance, history, science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. Sometimes, her fascination with technology and gadgets sneaks into her writing.  
Other challenges in Anne's life include managing a family of five,
shepherding her three children around Tucson, AZ for their various activities, and trying not to interrupt her work-from-home husband with her "Aha!" writing moments. Somehow, she also wedges in digital photography and yarn crafting into her busy days. 
Story excerpts and Anne's musing on her writing life can be found on her blog. http://mywritingexistence.blogspot.com/

11 September 2013

Hooky, Serendipity, and 11 Sep 2001

I played hooky today. Today was just one of those days where my brain rebelled against duty, obligation, and my Muse. I needed a break, and as I can't take a break from the kids or their activities, writing took the hit.

However, I couldn't just not do anything during my hooky, so I edited some photos.

One photo sticks with me given today's date. I took it after the 1st Grade Career Day Parade at the elementary school today. It was a perfect shot: a few of the kids dressed up as fire fighters and policemen standing near the lowered flags. Somehow my Hooky led to Serendipity. Unplanned. Timely. Touching. In remembrance.

05 September 2013

Me and My Blog

I know for a fact that two people that read this blog: my husband and my best friend. I know because of their encouraging email responses to Blogger's email of the post. One time I actually received an internet High Five from my friend. (There it is.==>)  These are two people that will probably read anything that I write, even if it's useless and pure garbage. That's one of the great things about family and great friends.

However, it's the rest of my potential audience that makes me question what to blather on blog about. With other writers like  LJ Cohen, Lynn Viehl, Diana Gabaldon, Rosina Lippi, and countless others offering elegant wisdom, why should anyone read what I have to say?

Leave it to the internet to lead me down that sometimes dark, this time brilliant search where I rediscovered this...

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
Steve Jobs

Just what I needed.

While I don't think I'm living someone else's life, I do find that I care an awful lot about what others may think about me and my efforts. Which leaves me shy and hesitant to put myself and my writing out there for all to see, questioning what to share in this space.

No more questioning. What I say or write may not be profound, elegant, or Earth shaking, but it touched me in some way. It might be a new-to-me service or a cool tool, something that bothered me or made me smile, a story that I wanted to read or something that my Muse insisted I put down in words.

I'll share these things just in case you, my audience, might find them entertaining, useful, or something you can relate to. Maybe it will bring
you a smile.

Could be that you'll have something to share back, and I guarantee that it will be another Made-Me-Smile moment.

So, here's to putting myself out there. Inelegance, smiles and all.