Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?
. . . our nasty stories
Poets and writers are getting lost in the weeds of censorship and accommodation. Giving our writing autonomy away should be the last act on the battlefield of public opinion.
We have allowed political playbooks to divide and disrupt our personal and professional lives. We have chosen silence over dissent. The arts, always a barometer of free speech, are insidiously infected with a desire for collective approval. It is way past time to push back against ALL censorship.
Have we given our self-determination away to someone or something outside ourselves? How small we become when we give in to societal pressures or norms. How limited in scope. Uniformity creates mediocrity.
Unless we put our gut feelings on paper and screen, we will never offend and we will rarely write brilliantly. Self-censorship to accommodate anyone is the micro to the macro of Roald Dahl's posthumous censorship.
The editors at Puffin should be ashamed of the botched surgery they’ve carried out on some of the finest children’s literature in Britain. As for me, I’ll be carefully stowing away my old, original copies of Dahl’s stories, so that one day my children can enjoy them in their full, nasty, colorful glory.Laura Hackett, deputy literary editor of London’s Sunday Times
Apparently Dahl's censorship was challenged by enough people that Puffin backed down and is printing his original works under the guise of "The Classics Collection."
Writers should never write to the current agenda, the mood of the country, or with the desire to make literature more palatable to a particular group of readers. Conformity has no place in writing.
As poets and writers we can successfully mimic, we can hide just enough of ourselves to be published. But those who continue to be real in an increasingly unreal world, will be the ones who are eventually appreciated and remembered.
I thank God for gifts given, yours and mine, and concurrently know they will turn to dust. What matters is what we say today, aware that an audience, sometimes an audience of one, will take our words in and possibly be changed. Or angered. Or saddened. Or challenged. Or comforted.
These are not the times we planned for; we are collectively spinning toward chaos. What better way to calm the souls of those around us than by telling our personal truths? Not watered-down truths approved for the masses. But our own gut-wrenchingly difficult and beautiful truths.