Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Great and Courageous Post on Bullying

Author Seanan McGuire

In sum: Read This.

About a year ago, my dear friend GlamKitty told me about this book she'd recently read and loved. It was an urban fantasy book called Rosemary and Rue by fledgling novelist Seanan McGuire. Oddly enough, I was familiar with the name because Seanan McGuire is also a folk singer, based in California, and I'd heard some of her music before. I read and loved the book, which was creative in a way different from anything I'd read in that very crowded genre of speculative fiction. It took me a while to figure out what it was that struck such a chord with me, but 'round about the time the author very graciously agreed to answer questions for my book board (yeah, another hat, people...) I started realizing that she evoked memories of my childhood and all the great stories of Irish fairytale, myth and legend. The scary and the beautiful that I remember hearing all about from my grandmother came alive again in my mind, in these books. I could really tell that she'd read Katharine Briggs and Lady Wilde and a slew of other Irish Faery World authors/cataloguers backwards and forwards. Her world was, however, so thoroughly grounded in her own creative thinking and so visually built out that her books provided that rare sense of stepping into another world. Real reverie. Not long after I started following her work, she published more of an edgy, sci-fi suspense novel that I still count as one of my favorite fiction reads of 2010, Feed. It's about zombies. Well, actually, it's more like a metaphor about people acting like zombies while their world is made constricted and small by actual zombies. It's about the media and politics and how much people are willing to give up to be safe and what being safe really is. It's all grounded in just enough knowledge of virology, along with a sly take on politics, blogging and the press, to make you wonder if something like that could really happen. Not necessarily the zombie part, but that maybe some biological disaster would cow the human race that way and to what extent it could be exploited for political advantage. It was kind of amazing to me that she could do such totally different styles of writing so adeptly. Anyway, I just adore the author's works. They are excessively diverting but in a way that is quite intellectually pleasing. (And that's rare in the genre, as I say...) She does cerebral sci-fi/fantasy that puts her in a class, in my mind, with people like Richard Preston and Issac Asimov. After having occasionally corresponded with her for a while, I was delighted to have met her in person over the weekend in New York City. She seems like a very genuine person. Very down to earth for someone who just won the Campbell Award (an international award) for best new author in the field of science fiction. 

So here, in short, in my mind is this very accomplished author, whose work, written and musical, I admire. Imagine my sadness when I read her moving post on bullying. As in how terribly she was bullied while growing up. I can't imagine the semi-secure place you would have to be in to write so openly of your really awful experiences when you're just beginning to get into the public's sights or just... ever. She's got all kinds of courage.

Read it. And read, as she suggests, Kate Harding's post.

Share it with your children if you have them.

© Bright Nepenthe, 2010

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this. I have forwarded the link to everyone who has kids or knows people who have kids, who is gay, or knows someone who is gay, etc.

    Honestly, I never think of myself as a wonderful person particularly, but my self esteem rose today as I realized I never bullied. I was made fun of due to braces and a flat chest...I just hit the guy over the head with a book. But hey, that's just me.... Teach your kids to fight back. Even Jesus didn't say to turn the other cheek....although the last time I looked he was nowhere around to help these poor kids.....