A Word About Censorship and Trust!

I’m a wise, old lady writer.  I’ve been knocked around a little by life, finally learned  from my mistakes, but all in all had a good life.  The biggest blessing in my years here has been my writing.  I read another profound piece by my hero, Charles ‘Hank’ Bukowski and it got me to thinking about who we should trust with our precious scribblings.  More about that later.

censorA tale of Censorship and Trust…..I recently have been trying to find just the right person to help me with my social networking, public relations and marketing my books.  A young woman answered my ad and she seemed like the ideal fit; she knew everything about social media and was working toward a career in public relations.   In the initial interview (via Skype) we were on a roll; she was ready to get to work and I offered her the job.  In the conversation we touched on women’s issues and that led me to telling her a little about one of my novels, Women Outside the Walls.  (She had not researched me or my writing before the interview).  The story is of women going to visit their men in prison…sometimes for years.  It’s a ‘gritty and truthful book’.  This young woman’s face shut down. Her next question was, “is there anything socially redeeming about your books?”  I almost swallowed my tongue to keep from saying a bad word.  Who did she think she was?

In an email ten minutes later she wrote me that “she could not work for me because of her religious and moral beliefs.”  

You are not going to meet a more liberal person than me when it comes to religion.  If you want to worship that carrot laying on the kitchen counter, GO FOR IT!  Far more interesting than the ‘mystery of life’, to my mind, is the mystery of death.  We don’t know what lies beyond this short spurt we have on earth.

What if this woman had censored my work while I was writing it?  What if I had trusted her opinion of my work enough to stop writing? censor (2) What if she had the religious and/or governmental power to throw my books on a bonfire?  Don’t laugh, it’s happened over and over throughout history.  A new friend told me:  “While the words we write for others are often better than the word’s we write for ourselves,  it is sometimes good to step back and read those words and apply them to ourselves.  Be bold and write your heart always.”

So, be very careful who you show your work to.  Critique the critique!   Charles Bukowski knew this…so I encourage you to read on.

cat lovers, cats, Charles Bukowskiworking it out ©  (excerpt)
‘…….I go downstairs for another bottle, switch on the
cable and there’s Greg Peck pretending he’s F.Scott and
he’s very excited and he’s reading his manuscript to his lady.
I turn the set
off.

what kind of writer is that?  reading his pages to
a lady?  this is a violation…

I return upstairs and my two cats follow me, they are
fine fellows, we have no discontent, ,we have no
arguments, we listen to the same music, never vote for a
president.
one of my cats, the big one, leaps on the back
of my chair, rubs against my shoulders and neck.

“no good,” I tell him, “I’m not going to read
you this poem.”

he leaps to the floor and walks out to the balcony and his buddy
follows….they sit and watch the night.

these early a.m. mornings when almost everybody
is asleep, small night bugs, winged things enter,
and circle and whirl.
the machine hums its electric him, and having
opened and tasted the new bottle I type the next line.
you can read it to your lady and she’ll probably tell you it’s nonsense.
she’ll be reading Tender Is the Night.’

 

(Courtesy of HarperCollins: Title: You get so Alone at times that it Just Makes Sense, by Charles Bukowski)

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