Sunday, June 5, 2011

In Real Life.

Recently, a post in the Wall Street Journal has garnered the ire of many a YA author and aficionado. Before I say more, find the article here .

The particular piece has been rebutted (aka, torn to shreds) by many, many other people thus far. It's caused a veritable outrage on twitter, making the '#YAsaves' tag/conversation the third most active twitterthingy going on in the US. That is A LOT of conversation.

And it's a good thing, don't get me wrong.

But for me, instead of getting all wound up over it, it's easy to just let it slide. Roll off, no problem. Why? Well that's easy: Because I don't care what some obviously narrow minded  woman has to say about my genre. Seriously. Couldn't give two shits. (Como se dice 'publicity stunt'?)

Should the article have been filed under the 'Opinion' headlines? Probably. Would it have still sparked off this wildfire of a debate? I think so, because we're all so passionate about what we write. (Which is why we write in the first place, right?)

I don't think anyone with a lick of common sense will allow the article to cast a cloud of distaste over all YA. It's clear to me that the woman in question didn't look very hard to find something suitable for her daughter to read. Anyone who does think blood and guts and torture is that all YA is, well, fuggetaboutem.

What I obviously DO take very obvious issue with is the free and easy way the writer drops names--not cool. She obviously never learned the golden rule of writing: Respect your fellow writer. If we don't respect each other, who will? It's hard enough to make it out there like it is, without all the backstabbing, etc. in the workplace. Who hasn't gotten the "Why don't you get a REAL job?" question? Pisses you off, huh?

That's the aspect of the article that made me most irritated--the lack of writerly respect. THAT pisses me off. THAT makes me want to say "Okay, darling, if you can do it better, by all means...."

Then you'll hear the crickets chirping.

I don't have gratuitous violence in my YA. As a matter of craft, it's my intention to not have gratuitous ANYTHING in my YA. Everything in the story plays an integral role. But there is violence. There is blood. There is loss. Because the stories I try and tell could be real to someone, somewhere. My characters get broken down, kicked around, but come out on the other side stronger for it. Some of the best people I've ever met in my life weren't raised in 'perfect' homes. Everything wasn't marigolds and roses all the time. They had hard lives, much harder than mine was as a child. And if I can ever measure up to 50% of them, I'll consider myself extremely blessed.

The YA section the lady perused obviously didn't fit her tastes. That's okay. Real hurts sometimes. I just turned off the news because hearing about some poor little girl who may or may not have been murdered is all anyone's talking about and it makes me think lots of people shouldn't be parents to dust bunnies, much less children. The story is incredibly sad. Should we not talk about that either?

If you want to shelter your children from some things, fine, I don't care. (And just because FOX owns the WSJ, it doesn't make this a conservative/Republican movement. My folks are VERY republican, but have always encouraged me to read whatever I wanted to.) Don't make this a politics issue; it isn't one. This is one misplaced opinion that's gotten a lot of attention, nothing more, nothing less. (We're so pumped about about it, I think we're actually making it more than it is. A LOT MORE.)

If you don't want real, I'm sorry, you won't like my YA. But that's okay. Because maybe there's someone out there, somewhere, who needs it more than words can say.

They're the ones I'm writing for anyways.


  1. I agree! It wasn't political by any stretch of the imagination. /sigh Oh well. Bracing for the next headline. (After all, we've already suffered V.S. Naipaul and WSJ in the same week.) ;)

  2. Ugh--you're right. It has been quite a week!

    Can only get better from here, LOL. :)

  3. What the hell? Maybe she should have just bought her teenager a nice pop-up book. I bet her 13 year old has probably already seen more at her local middle school than what's in most YA.

    Everyone has a right to their own opinion and to decide if they want to censor their children or not but I agree that this was biased on the part of the article writer. They wouldn't like my writing either.

  4. Lord of the Flies. this is now going to be the only thing I say to people who complain about how suddenly new YA is all gratuitous violence and too dark and blahblahblah.
    We read Lord of the Flies in FRESHMAN YEAR. I was 14. GUESS WHAT I AM NOT SCARRED. okay, maybe I have an unhealthy love of explosions in my books now, but... that is probably unrelated!