Three Things Thursday

From Cheryl Van Eck

Today I want to discuss censorship.

This is difficult for me, because I am religious and there are many books I choose not to read based solely on content, regardless of literary merit.

However, the point is that I choose not to read them. I make the decision to censor myself. I don’t ask (nor do I want) anyone else to decide for me.

The topics, words, and scenes that typically get a book banned do not, unfortunately, exist only within the pages of that book. They exist in reality, even in a teenager’s reality. To take away those books is to take away tools that can help them to form their moral universe. I learned more from characters who did everything wrong than from characters who did everything right.

I don’t believe the government, the schools, or any other group should have a say in what children or adults are allowed to read.

I don’t believe in banning books.


From Brenda Bensch
Saw a tiny, adorable, little girl at the grocery store this a.m. with her harried mom.  She was too little to reach almost anything in the store . . . until she got to the sunglasses display . . . which went ALL THE WAY DOWN to the floor. She was trying them all on. But, of course. Then Mom made her put them back. Well, with help . . . those racks are tricky! 15 or 20 minutes later, the little girl ran behind me in the checkout line, reached up on tippy-toes as far as she could, and shoved 3 small packaged toys onto the conveyer with my purchases. And she was wearing . . . you guessed it . . . sunglasses. A little red pair. Mom was nowhere in sight. But, soon, I heard her calling the little girl’s name. She ran to mom, who began to walk away from the checkout line, admonishing the child to go return the sunglasses. Again.
“Wait!” I said. “She has 3 toys here too,” and I handed Mom the toys. She just shook her head and walked away.
Write a scene: Are you, or your MC, the observer, as I was? Are you/MC annoyed? Or laughing, like I was?
Are you/MC the checker who recognizes the girl? Are you annoyed, laughing, or just trying to check out the lady at the counter who packed too much stuff into the cart and now has two more customers waiting?
Are you/MC the harried mom? Are you angry, loving, fatigued, too busy to take note of everything at once?
Are you/MC an adorable 3-year-old, feeling her oats? Are you disappointed the checker lady didn’t give you the toys back? After all, you put them up on the counter like Mommy always does. Then she gets to keep all that fun and yummy stuff!
And if you’re writing fantasy, sci-fi, western, romance or whatever, which things can you change up to make the basic idea still work in YOUR genre?  That’ll stretch your imagination!
From Carol
In my spam today was this lovely message: Men–stop the dribble.
I don’t even want to think of it.
But I have to.
Is this a message to basketball players?
People who put too much liquid in their mouths?
Could this be a warning to hockey players?
Is it about the weather, with dribbling rain?
Oh, our beautiful language. And oh, what we get to do with it.
I hope each time you write, you choose your words wisely.
I hope each time you write, you make things sound new–different.
I hope each time you write you create a world-even in contemporary writing-that sings with beauty because you have constructed the sentences.
Last night I spoke at the Orem Public Library about Writing Like a Writer.
My goal, as you all know.


Filed under CLW, Exercises, Life, Revision, three thing thursday, Uncategorized, Voice, writing process

2 responses to “Three Things Thursday

  1. Cheryl, I agree. I’m against banning books as well. How do you feel about censoring what your own children read?

  2. It’s hard for me to say exactly, since my daughter is only one and it hasn’t really been an issue yet. 🙂 But I believe I will do what my parents did, which was teach me to self-censor. They taught me how to look for clues (the picture on the cover, description on the back, the section of the library/bookstore it was in) that would determine if it was an appropriate book or not. However, they never once took a book away from me. I read everything, including authors like Stephen King and Sidney Sheldon…I learned to “fix” the bad words in my head (I still do this, actually) and to just skip parts that were completely inappropriate. My mom and I would often have discussions about some of the things that I read. Eventually, I stopped reading books that I had to “work too hard” to read on my own.

    Now, am I saying this approach is right for every child? No. And I don’t intend to speak for what other parents should do. To force parents to allow their children to read everything is just as bad as not allowing their children to read anything.

    I don’t buy into this idea that parents don’t try hard enough to be good parents. Everyone I know is working their hardest to be the best parent they can be. I believe in putting faith in the power of families, and the power of parenthood. One good mother can overpower a thousand “bad” books.


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