Recently, this story seriously put a bitchy bee in my metaphysical britches.
Long story short, a beloved Pennsylvania English teacher of twenty-five years may now lose her job because she...
...writes erotic novels in her spare time.
Apparently, the parents are concerned.
To me, this is as ridiculous as judging someone for secretly liking sex or working at Starbucks, and it's entirely reprehensible. If this woman is doing a satisfactory job teaching the students, if the parents and teachers and administrators are happy with her performance, why on earth should it matter what she does in her spare time?
And I'll go you one better. If you really want your children to learn how to write, anyone who's gone to the trouble to write, edit, polish, and publish over sixteen books knows a hell of a lot more than your average college English major.
If you ask me, these kids are lucky.
Okay, it would be one thing if this woman was writhing all over the table at school while reading excerpts of her work. It would be one thing if she hovered over a laptop on her desk, sweating and drinking red wine as she wrote. It would be one thing if she made them diagram the sentence Roland spread her creamy thighs as she admired his quivering tumescence. It would be one if there was a question about her behavior or abilities.
But it isn't. Everything is fine. Except that she's a romance writer.
So what? Her students would probably have a wider vocabulary, for one thing, because if there's one thing a writer of erotica knows, it's how to describe one normal thing in fifty different colorful ways.
How do I know that?
My book, the one that's being published, is a ROMANCE. It contains SEX.
So what about the next time I go to teach an art class or help your child up the ladder at the playground? Are you going to chase me with pitchforks because the people in my books enjoy sex and I know enough to write about it in a way that earned a romance editor's interest and cash? Are you going to (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE) read my books one day and then see me differently?
I hope not. I hope that you will continue to see me as me, as a woman and mother and friend.
I hope that you will understand that whether or not we talk about such things in public-- and I generally don't, because I'm a good Southern girl-- the vast majority of us have sex, and, hopefully, enjoy it. I mean, most of my readers have KIDS, and you know where they come from.
I still remember the morning I told my parents that I was pregnant with our first child, and my dad's face went from YAY! GRANDKIDS! to WAIT, I KNOW HOW THIS HAPPENS, AND THAT'S MY LITTLE GIRL, BUSTER.
And reading about such things is a big part of female America, whether we do it in private or rip off the covers or-- my favorite trick-- read it on the Nook and pretend you're nodding sagely over Ayn Rand.
I grew up in a very conservative house, and I still remember that frozen moment in the middle school library when I got to the part of Jean Auel's Valley of Horses where Jondular "spreads" Ayla's "petals," and I looked around me in wonder, thinking, DEAR GOD, WHAT IF THE LIBRARIANS KNOW WHAT I'M READING? THEY'RE GOING TO ARREST ME!
And then I went on reading and thought, "Oh. People do that? WHY WASN'T I TOLD?"
Looking back, it was actually healthy for me. It wasn't something I could talk about, but it was something I needed to know.
I believe everyone is entitled to their opinions. And I understand that whether it's because of religion, raising, or reason, many people are opposed to erotic or racy literature. But we live in a country of freedom, and I firmly believe that if you're doing a good job, then it doesn't matter one damn bit what you do in your free time, whether it involves latex clothing or Boggle or both.
And if a woman wants to read or write about it in a way that's separate from her life as a PTA president or a kindergarten teacher or a doting grandmother or a church secretary, then that's her own damn business.
On a related note, my book release has been moved up to April 2012, so you can all read it and quietly judge me then. =)