THE WRITER'S LEGACY
Every writer gets to that point of wondering what she's leaving behind. Not just the wondering at my age, of donating to archives or remaining on bookshelves, but wondering at younger ages of leaving behind impressions on audiences.
I wonder about both.
Especially right now, as I launch two books, I think about how I'm perceived and how I'll be remembered, and I think a lot of it all came together a few weeks ago at the launch of Banned Books Week.
I always have to get big laughs at the launch. Humor is my way of making a point, even when I'm being literary as hell. And when I got up on that program, I was making no exception. Even when it wasn't a literary moment.
The book I chose was And Tango Makes Three, the children's story about a pair of gay male penguins at Central Park Zoo. It was challenged and banned more than any other book in recent memory, but my point that day was that it had been "banned" somewhere that stunned even me. I pointed out that in the past I'd always read from politically incorrect books; clearly this one had to be a shocker if I was going to get up in public and be politically correct. So I read, and then I called to the back for Exhibit A. to be brought forth.
And up came my four-year-old granddaughter. Who had refused to listen to the book. She just wasn't interested.
"You see," I said, my hand holding her tight around the waist so she wouldn't fall off the dais, "it's perfectly understandable for a screamingly heterosexual, pre-latency Daddy's girl not to have a broad world view, but not a librarian in Missouri."
I brought the house down.
What was my purpose there? To impress the audience or to impress my granddaughter? A little bit of the former, in truth, and a lot of the latter. Because I've decided that my endurance as a writer--and as a funny person--is pretty much going to be vested in this little girl.
Feels good. And makes sense.