To set the scene:
Before this speech, this song played:
Then I did my speech about hot button issues in fiction (see transcript below):
Transcript of speech:
In a world where saying the wrong thing can get you cyberbullied, discriminated against at work or school, and other horrible things, we have learned to stay clear of hot button issues. We don’t talk about religion, politics, economics, culture, race or gender. We stay clear of taking a stance for anything. We become mindless robots because of fear.
Yes, fear seems to be at the root of all horrible things. I’m not afraid. Except for the dark, but we’ve covered that already tonight.
As a dark fantasy author, I delve into the minds of my characters and examine human nature. FYI, that is what dark fantasy is about. Apparently it is terrifying what I can deduce of your character and motivations after one conversation. *shrugs* Terrifying? Pfft! I call it paying attention.
One of many hot button issues I like to address in my books is climate change. Yes, nay-sayers: global warming is real. You can close your eyes and pretend it isn’t happening, but that is as effective as closing your eyes and pretending your house isn’t burning down.
In “Magic at Midnight” the only nod to this issue is Amy’s obsession with composting. In “Once…” references to Nature as our home and source of nourishment abounds.
Solar geysers, composting, recycling, using energy efficient light bulbs, unplugging appliances once you are done with them: all of this helps. You can make a difference.
Another hot button issue I’m prone to write about without forethought is feminism. I briefly mentioned the #HeForShe movement earlier and the hope for gender equality in our lifetime. In my books, this is a recurring theme.
Though the princesses are competing for the prince’s hand in marriage in “Magic at Midnight” other gender stereotypes are left as-is, leaving Amy to figure things out for herself – leading the reader on a journey of self-discovery.
In “Once…” damsels in distress learn to take care of themselves. And did I mention that the ruler of all fae is their queen? *grin*
Animal cruelty. We all say we are against it, but what do we do about it? Do we stop eating meat because of the way the animals are treated before being slaughtered? Do we stop eating chicken because of the atrocities committed against them in their short lifespan? Or do we only eat organic with the hope that no animal cruelty is committed? That’s just food. Do we know where our pets came from? Do we stop puppy mills from existing by only buying our dogs from reputable breeders? *stare them down*
What is your stance about poachers? Do you even know how many elephants and rhinos die every day because some maniac stole their tusks and horns? Or do you turn a blind eye?
In “Magic at Midnight” I’d rather be one of the lowly farm girl’s pegasi than be from the Royal Herd. Need I say more? Of course: she’s a vegetarian, too, and deals with poachers on a regular basis.
In “Once…” and other books dealing with faery dogs, I stand up for Rottweilers, amending the popular image of dumb violent animal, showing that it is nurture rather than nature that turn dogs into vicious animals.
If you don’t believe me about Rottweilers, just check out my Instagram feed and blog series “Adventures with Rottweilers” to see how sweet they can be. Their mum is far scarier.
Other hot button issues such as mental illness, bullying, racism, addiction, sexual assault, suicide, materialism, violence and so forth are also dealt with in my books – some directly and some through metaphors.
Pretending that these things aren’t real or blaming the victims is a form of cowardice, the cousin of fear.
Are you going to hide your head in the sand, pretending that your house isn’t burning down, or are you going to be brave like Amy from “Magic at Midnight” and do what it takes to stand up for what you believe in?
You need real-world examples? To stand up for LGBTQ teens – especially the ones who become homeless because of their gender identities – there is True Colors United. They are active on social media, help others to understand and create inclusive, accepting, welcoming, safe spaces for everyone. They also host summits, the #TrueColorsDay and the Cyndi Lauper and friends: Home for the Holidays benefit concert.
Yes: Cyndi Lauper is the co-founder of the True Colors Fund and 100% of the net proceeds from these concerts go to support the True Colors Fund programs.
Performers such as Pink, Fifty Cent, Adam Lambert, Josh Groban and many more have taken the stage at Cyndi’s Home for the Holidays concerts.
Sara Ramirez and Cyndi Lauper sang True Colors as a duet at 2018’s Home for the Holidays concert. It’s awesome, you should Google it and take a listen. You’ll remember Sara as Callie from Grey’s Anatomy.
And talking about Sara Ramirez: her Twitter feed is a fount of information on everything LGBTQ, human rights – including the recent draconian wave of abortion restrictions in America, legal injustices, climate change, and, of course, wonderful news about positive change in the world.
Martin Luther King Jr said: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
I’m asking you: what do you do about injustice? Do you stand up against it, or do you look away?
We regularly paraphrase a profound quote of Mahatma Gandhi to just: Be the change you want to see in the world. Which is good advice. The full quote, though, gives us much more:
We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.
- True Colors
- Sara Ramirez
- Cyndi Lauper
- Adventures with Rottweilers
- Stop Rhino Poaching
- Adopt Don’t Shop
Books from the speech:
I hope you enjoyed the speech and learned loads from the links. I’ll share the last post about the book launch later this month.
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