I remember a time, once upon a time, when I vehemently debated the importance of the United States’ “Freedom of Press.” I remember how my classmates disagreed, because reading, to them, was “boring” or a waste of time. I remember how angry I was, and how I learned that day that I would never be a good fit for a debate team (I’d probably punch some smartass kid right in his or her stupid face; aggressive negotiations, right?). It made me even angrier that we had all read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and they still didn’t get it!
Granted, that time I was pitted against a bunch of stupid kids. (No bitterness here, I swear.) But there was something about that infuriating moment in time that drove me to read more, write more, to prove that they were wrong.
Writing is art. I’m not the first to say it, and I will certainly not be the last. But it is important to reiterate this fact, if only to get it through a few thick skulls that continue to resist: writing is art.
If we lived in a society that did not allow us the freedom to write, to read, then we would live in a truly colorless world. I don’t know what I would have done without my books. They were my escape, my closest friends, for a long time. If I was told that to read R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt series was forbidden, was punishable by death or imprisonment…well, that certainly seems a bleak life, indeed.
Bradbury’s seminal work was a warning, and it remains relevant to this day. Let our kids read; let them write. And when they grow up, let them understand.