Take It Back

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When I told my 12 year old ASD son that the media’s reporting of the recent Santa Barbara tragedy had spotlighted the killer as having autism, he was angry. He threw his hands up, stomped the floor, cried out in frustration.

“Why would they do that, Dad?” he asked. “Why would they make it seem as if autism can cause mass murder? As if someone like me could take the lives of other human beings?”

“I don’t know, son,” I replied.

“Do they realize they’re hurting lots of ASD people who’ve done nothing wrong? Do they understand they’re making innocent people suffer?”

“I don’t know, son.”

“And it’s no use apologizing later. Once you’ve said it, it’s out there. You can’t take it back.”

“I know, son.”

There was great truth in my boy’s words…If only they were his words.

None of this conversation, in fact, happened.

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‘Another’ Post About Book Diversity

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Diverse Books

First, the good news:

The recent #WeNeedDiverseBooks Twitter coup was an admirable rebuff of the longstanding hegemonies in children’s and young adult fiction. It doesn’t look like a flash in the pan either, so that’s good too.

Now, the bad news:

The whole exercise has further illustrated – dare I say, reinforced – the pecking order of minorities in both the book debate and the wider society looking on.

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Billy, Don’t Use My Number

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Numbers

Writers love to tell you their word counts.

“Just did 500 words before breakfast!”

“Got my 1,000 words done for the day!”

“30,000 words done on the new novel!”

We take great delight in passing on the numbers we produce. I have been no exception. If you trawled back through my Facebook and Twitter posts, you would find statements similar to those above (though probably not without profanity).

Well, I’m here to tell you that’s all in the past. Aside from those punching the keyboard, no digits will ever again offer any implied measure of my authorial efforts. And if my colleagues on the shelves have a high regard for the craft – as I know they do – they will avoid any future reference to word counts, too.

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