Reply From Tamora Pierce Herself...WOW!
Hi Tammy, I met you at Darkover (MD) a month ago. You may remember me as the Aunt who brought Summer and sat in the front row every time you spoke. I wanted to let you know that it was a personal joy to meet you and to hear you speak. I have been reading your books since 1985, and will continue to be a fan for life.
That being said, I wanted to let you know that Summer is writing a letter to you. It seems that her family has headed down a path where Harry Potter is banned from the household (I know your view on this, and YES IT IS CRAZY). Summer told me yesterday that the ban now includes your books because you are a pagan. I am so sorry that this has happened because not only is she closing herself off from things she enjoys, but she is closing herself off from me as well. I have been crying over this for most of the day. She still respects you and really enjoyed meeting you, but she might be sending a letter to you about praying for your soul or some such nonsense. Now you know. I am sure this is not new territory for you, unfortunately.
Religion is a hot topic in every family. I have a minor in it and certainly have my own opinions. I respect you enormously for coming out of the "broom closet" and respect the pagan religion. I am a vegetarian / animal rights person, so how could I not respect the worship of the Earth and it's natural forces? I believe that God is too big to fit inside one religion, and that the "Force" is with all of us regardless of race, creed, ethnicity or spiritual path. This view in itself may eventually have ME banned from my sister's house. Time will tell.
Rest assured that I am still a huge Tamora Pierce fan, and my children will be too (when they are old enough).
She wrote back the very next day!
I am so very sorry--talking with you and Summer was one of the highlights of my convention, and given how much you enjoy Darkovercon and faires, this must be quite a quite a blow to you personally. Certainly I picked up on there being some friction between you and your sister with you being positioned as "wild child," but I had no idea religion was part of the issue. It always complicates things. One reason I stayed in the broom closet for so very long is that quite a few members of my own family and my husband's family are devout Christians, and I would never want to distress them. Challenging good people on their faith requires more arrogance than I possess.
If Summer writes to me, then I will answer her fairly--I certainly owe her that much! One of the many reasons I write for the audience I do is because I love its passion, even if that passion should turn in a direction I may not follow. Wherever it goes, the girls who wield it will still end up doing good things and changing others' lives for the good, and that's far more important than whether they continue to read me or not.
I am sorry to lose her as a fan, because she's really cool, but I hope I keep you, because so are you! And I hope she and her family aren't so silly as to turn you away, because you really impressed me over our short acquaintance. They'll be missing having someone fresh, delightful, and intelligent in their lives if they can't respect your right to live your life as you see fit. And Summer will really need another point of view, though she may not appreciate it for a while. She's too intelligent to go without asking questions for long.
I hope you are well, and I am really sorry to hear you so sad at what should be such a happy time. How is your health? You're due in February, aren't you? Are all your preparations made, or did the holiday season knock a hole in them?
I'm coming to Balticon in May, by the way. Will I see you then? Would you like to have lunch or dinner?
Thank you for giving me a head's up, but don't worry--I would not be mean to Summer, whatever belief she comes armored in! In the meantime, please be of good cheer--sisters can get goofy sometimes, but I can't see Summer completely forgetting her love for you, which was so evident!
Here's to a 2005 with better news on the familial front, good health for you and yours, and plenty of good books!
February? Man, I must have looked REALLY pregnant!
But how cool of her was it to write back to me? Wow, what a classy lady. I just love her, pagan broomstick and all!
Now I know why I never blogged about my time with my niece at the sci-fi (science- fiction) conference...the story wasn't finished yet.
My niece and I have shared the love of Tamora Pierce books for about two years now, so it seemed like a sure thing that going to a conference where she was the guest of honor seemed like a natural choice. Well, besides my sister being a turd about it, it was.
I was a little worried about bringing Summer to the sci-fi conference because her mother and step-father have recently outlawed "anything that can bring evil in their house", and to date that meant Harry Potter books and Yugi-O Trading Cards. Pretty silly if you ask me, but we have to respect each other's beliefs right? So I was worried about some of the people that might be at the conference, and some of the material that she might be exposed to.
What I could have never predicted was that the very first panel we watched that featured Tamora Pierce dealt with magic and the proper use of magic. In the first five minutes of the panel, Tamora Pierce came out of the broom closet and said that she had been a practicing pagan for the last 20 years, and had taught about witchcraft at the University of Pennsylvania at one time. Ok, so how was I supposed to deal with that?
Summer and I had long talks about how being around a pagan, or listening to one would not harm her Christian beliefs, and that keeping an open mind about all people is what God would want her to do, not judge them. She agreed, and we enjoyed the rest of the conference. Summer just ate up everything else that Tamora said and had a great time. She told me many times that this experience was of the best times in her life. She was sad that Tamora and people like her were going to burn in eternal hellfire...but she still had a good time.
I did not tell her to tell her parents, or not to tell her parents. I had not known about Tamora's religious beliefs ahead of time, I was innocent. I left her choices up to her. So it should not have come as a major shock when she made her choice.
Yesterday we drove to my sister's house to exchange Christmas presents. Both my sister and Summer knew that the conference had been Summer's main gift, and that I was just going to give her a framed picture of Tamora and Summer together. Summer was really happy to get the picture and immediately put it on her desk. When she showed me her new desk she asked if she could speak to me alone. She told me that the "pagan" issue had weighed heavily on her shoulders for some time, and that she had decided to get rid of all of her Tamora Pierce books. It still hit me like a brick. All FOURTEEN books I had bought for her, half of them signed in person by the author, had been thrown away.
So what do I do? I have to be the "adult" here. She is standing up for her belief system, so I have to respect that. I told her that while I respected her right to do so, that it saddened me. I told her to think about her actions, when her religious beliefs start to take away everything she enjoys, she needs to really examine them. I asked her what would be next? The Renaissance Festival we have enjoyed for the past three years? I know it will be. First Harry Potter, then Tamora Pierce books, then the Renaissance Festival...I will be on the banned list eventually.
My sister and I were not raised to believe that evil lurks in every corner and that we must banish it at every turn. That is just so silly! This is one of the prime examples of why I have a problem with organized religion, people think that they are acting in a way that Jesus would want, yet they are kidding themselves. Harry Potter is a book about a child overcoming tremendous obstacles, showing love and devotion to his friends, and about good winning out over bad! Tamora Pierce books are about the same thing, AND they teach about how girls can do anything they set their minds to. To think of them as evil...AHHH! Evil is in the hearts and minds of small-minded people, that is where it resides. People who think that there is evil around every corner are the ones who create it through their own hate. These fundamentalist Christians see evil where it is not, and point their fingers...judging where Jesus told them not to judge. PEOPLE! Jesus said to "love thy neighbor as thyself" and made friends with the lowest sort of people to turn their hearts around! Who was one of his biggest followers? A prostitute! He welcomed all with open arms and open hearts, so why is it that churchs who profess to teach his will put the fear and hate of others who are "different" in their hearts? Go ahead and breed your hate and fear, let's see how your judgment fares.
But I digress.
This just breaks my heart. Summer and I have had this wonderful thing to share and now it is gone. These books are a part of ME. They changed my life as a young girl and had a profound effect on my self confidence, so much so that if I have a girl she will be named after the main character of the first series. I feel like a part of me has been rejected, but more than that I wonder what I CAN share with her anymore? I know that the Renaissance Festival will be next...it features people dressed up like fairies and magicians. I know that lots of pagans go there. After that, Summer will no longer be able to play Dark Ages of Camelot with me, magicians and monsters everywhere. The final blow will be when it is decided that I am no longer allowed near any of them because my belief system differs from theirs. It will happen if they keep on this course. Aunt Colleen believes that God is to big to fit inside one religion, and that people of other faiths should be honored not burned at the stake. She is inviting evil into our house with her mere presence...get her out.
This is weighing so heavily on me. I honestly don't know if I want my sister's children to come over anymore, because anything that I expose them to will eventually be banned for some silly reason. I won't have ANYTHING I can share with them. Why have them over anymore? I'll just be exposing them to something they'll decide is inviting evil.
Ironic though how Lord of the Rings and Halloween don't invite evil into the house, nor does the very pagan tradition of the decorated tree in their living room. They will in time.
I finished my Christmas cards 2 days ago. Yesterday I crashed from the effort. It was a hella lot of work since I make them myself. So if you are one of the lucky people on my Christmas card list, remember it drained all the life out of this poor pregnant woman for a day afterward.
Next project: Christmas party for Jason's intern class. We got signed up for this gig before I was pregnant, obviously. So the party is Saturday night, the place is a mess, none of the food is made/bought yet. Humph. It will come together, it always does, but it drains me just to think of the effort it will take to get this place into party shape and to get all of the food ready.
Milestone: yes I can put a new page in the scrapbook, Connor greeted us the other morning naked as a jay bird, with his hand on his weenie. He had shucked his pajamas and diaper, and was looking at us like "what?". I did the only thing a mother CAN do in this situation, I took pictures. I'll show it to his prom date "this is the first time Connor has naked weenie time".
We were planning on visiting Jason's Mom on Christmas afternoon, then she called us and told us that she will be ALL ALONE, so there was no reason for us to visit. So of course we invited her to come to our place, Jason's long-lost-little-brother might even come too, yet the possibility of monkeys flying out of my butt may be higher.
Oh, and now my Aunt is coming to town for a visit! So my Mom, Dad and Aunt will be here on Monday.
WTF people? I am tired, sometimes urpy, and totally un-motivated. Stop coming to my house for a visit!!! Scew ya'll!
Just had to get that out of my system since I can't yell it at the real offenders.
Joy for the day: it may snow this weekend. SO RARE for MD. Cool.
I have no energy to do much of anything right now, so how about entertaining me? Tell me:
Your favorite Christmas song
Your favorite Christmas food
Your favorite Christmas tradition
Your favorite present of all time
Your favorite sex toy (just kidding)
I still have much to blog about, but I have been feeling so urpy lately, hard to get up the motivation to do much of anything. The baby is smaller than a pea inside me, but it is a little dictator.
Direct quotes from the baby: "No you can't eat that. Yes now you are starving and shaky...too shaky to even make food. If you look inside the refrigerator you will feel sick again. I didn't give you permission to clean the house! Sit your ass back down and let me continue to suck your energy. Give me a milkshake now damnit! I laugh at your so called skinny jeans, put on a moo moo." Ugh, and have have to throw a party for Jason's intern class on the 18th. Barf.
On another note, for those of you who are single, here is a way you can avoid living in this Bush blasted country Marry a Canadian
. They are accepting applications for American liberals.