When I read Lorca’s tweet about this a few weeks back, I have to admit, lots of jokes came to mind. But this isn’t my story to tell.
Given that I love to give an author the floor about anything controversial, I offered my blog to Lorca to share with us all the details. I couldn’t be prouder of a fellow writer for standing up to sexism, discrimination, and just plain old out and out stupidity. You go, girl.
I can’t be sure, but if the conversation with my family and my pastor is any indication, I’m going to hell. I think it might have been an intervention, but it may have been an Amway sales meeting. I can’t tell. Either way, I’m pretty sure I was supposed to agree to do something or sign up for something at the end of the meeting, but it never got that far.
My pastor called us in because I use too much profanity in my writing. And I have to admit that by golly, I do love the b-word. And don’t get me started on how useful the f-word is, especially when you’re being told that you’re offensive and probably a bad Christian and that you might be responsible for global warming because you cuss too much.
I might have made that last part up.
He asked me the weirdest question, only it turned out to be a rhetorical question and when I answered it, he was nonplussed. He should have warned me ahead of time that he really didn’t expect an answer. Anyway, his rhetorical question to me was, “How would YOU feel if you found out that I, as your pastor, were writing steamy romance novels in my spare time?”
I replied, “Are you any good?”
He stared at me. I did explain that as a fiction writer, I am able to read a book and NOT think, “Wow, Stephen King must have soooooo many bodies buried in his basement,” or “Gosh, that Danielle Steele must be a total slut and I bet she can get both ankles behind her head! Well, maybe when she was younger, I mean.” He did not agree with me, believing instead that the words on a page in my books are an indication of who I am as a person, and more importantly, also indicate my lack of faith in God.
The pastor had the best ever extortion thing going: if I didn’t agree to stop using so much bad language and non-Biblical scenarios in my writing, he was going to have to ban me from teaching first grade Sunday school. It took all my strength not to laugh. Have you met a first grader lately? Even when they’re being sweet, they’re covered in snot. And when they’re being crappy AND they’re covered in snot, there’s just no saving them.
I politely declined to stop being a writer and willingly agreed to stop teaching Sunday school. I think it hit him around four o’clock this afternoon that there was now no one to teach fifteen snotty first graders next Sunday. And it made me smile.
Lorca Damon is an author and teacher in a juvenile correctional facility. Her two non-fiction books on autism–Autism By Hand and Knowing Autism–are Amazon bestsellers, and she writes YA fiction about some of the hard realities she has learned from her students. She writes the kinds of books she hopes her inmates would want to read, if they ever decided to read a book. Follow here on Twitter @LorcaDamon.