This week we celebrate Banned Books Week. Banned books are insights into a culture’s deepest fears. They speak to what we’re trying not to face, what we’re in total denial of or what we feel we must suppress to maintain and protect the current order. Clearly these books hold power. For one, a book like this has become visible enough to be a problem and two, its contents are so powerful they must be controlled. These are books to pay attention to.
I imagine one day we will look back as a planet and be impressed with how limited our thinking was during this time. I imagine in this future day, we will generally think many more thoughts than we do now and we will feel completely free to do so. This is a natural future to me because in my imaginary world, thought and awareness always expand.
I have a professor friend I work with in Alabama. Last year during an interview I told him I didn’t think my new coloring book, Gender Now, would be banned despite the fact that it has children in their natural states showing multiple gender expression. He said I should be so lucky to have my book banned. I laughed. Yesyes. I should be so lucky! Lucky enough for my book to join the list of those books that in their mere existence present the great opportunity for us to expand our minds to the point of freedom.
Here’s to all the banned books, the good, the bad, the brilliant and the brave. To you I show respect by happily falling through the dark, out of my clothes and into the dough of the night kitchen! In salutation of all those who have helped expand our minds…I play. I expand. I know. I am free.
And I sing into that night…You will never imprison my mind. (Gandhi)
About Banned Books Week: Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than a thousand books have been challenged since 1982. More at: http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/