In a world where young readers plundered about with nothing to read but Peanuts cartoons or Little House on the Prairie books. There was one woman who picked up a pen and wrote about truth. Wielding that pen in the most fictitious ways, she cut down the shrouds of secrecy shining the light of validation on millions of young readers. Until the censors came. (Duh duh dunnnnnnn)
“You must not write truth!” They said.
“F*ck you!” She said.
No, okay. She would never say that because she’s Judy Blume and she’s way too crafty to use such base verbiage. But who among us didn’t metaphorically crap ourselves when we read “Are you there God, it’s me Margaret” or “Blubber”? Whoa, knowledge. Didn’t you feel just a little bit dangerous and worldly reading them?
I am of the second generation of Judy Blume. Her books were just a few years too old for me when they first came out, but just like every other hand me down, I grew into them. And I can honestly say I have never read anything since that made me feel as validated as Judy Blume. See kids, there was a time when we young readers didn’t really have much to read that had the least bit to do with our reality.
And time marches on, SO the other day I’m in the car taking some books back to the library and NPR is on (Talk of the Nation) and Judy Blume was being interviewed. I sat in the car listening, again feeling that ‘just a little bit dangerous’ feeling. It was like muscle memory or how a scent will send you back to a specific time in your life. It’s a really good interview, especially for writers. Because she does what she does, validates. Writing can be a lonely trade and I was so glad to have heard this interview. You can also check out her website Judy Blume.com. Where she makes with more of the validation and other helpful knowledge.
As a side note, I listened to the whole interview even though the “call in” section always makes me cringe. It makes me cringe because anything anyone has to say to someone like Judy Blume seems to always have more to do with themselves than Judy Blume. I guess I would ask her if she ever thought of taking on a story about gay youth or just say, “Thank you.”