Last week was the Widows' Book Club group at church, and they graciously invited me to come talk about MOURNING BECOMES CASSANDRA. I don't imagine any of them read this blog, but if this turns out to be my final post, tell someone that I was bludgeoned to death by women wearing purple.
In most book clubs I've visited, we spend a lot of time talking about the writing process: how do I get my ideas? how do I find the time? how does (self-)publishing work? and so on. And those things were touched on this time, but one woman happened to be in attendance who belonged to the weekly Bible study I co-lead, and she steered the conversation toward the Eastside Academy students we host every several weeks. This in turn brought up two controversial subjects: Cussing and Today's Youth.
I spend a fair amount of time defending the cussing in the book, and you blog devotees know that I've blogged about it more than once. For certain demographics (read: the rather-churchy and Widows' Book Clubs), I do try to warn people ahead of time, but I hadn't gotten to this group. Sure enough, when it came to discussing the f-bombs, I could see one woman's eyebrows going up and up and up. Finally, she burst out with, "Now, I haven't read the book--" (nor will she now, I imagine) "--but I want to know why young people have such terrible mouths! We have such a beautiful language, and those words--!"
This, at least, was a new twist. Usually the cuss-scientious objectors object to me, the Christian, the pastor's wife, using such language. Thankfully I cannot be made to answer for Today's Youth, and I took refuge in a "Well, f--- me, that's kind of beyond the scope of this discussion" (kidding) (about the expletive). Other than recommending she avoid my book, movies PG-13 or higher, and THE SKINHEAD HAMLET, I had nothing more to advise.
So much for cussing. Next came the Youth. I had launched into a paraphrase of the speech delivered by Mark Henneman to the would-be mentors in the book, all about Youth needing adults in their lives and the wonders of being such an adult. Controversy #2. "Has anyone ever sat down with those kids," demanded Eyebrows, "and told them that, if they don't graduate high school, in a few years they'll be homeless?"
"Umm...actually, those kinds of discussions don't go over very well," I answered. "You know kids. It's why the smoking ads don't work--they never think it has anything to do with them." Heck, those kinds of discussions don't work on me. I know very well that never exercising and eating loads of sugar will one day turn me into a diabetic blob who suffers a massive heart attack when she tries to struggle up from her La-Z-Boy, but I think, in that case, I'd better enjoy all the lumping around and dessert I can get in the meantime.
Anyhow, nothing like a little blood-pumping excitement at book clubs. Eyebrows even said, "We'll see you again when you write your next book," and presumably she meant it invitingly, rather than so-I-can-rake-you-over-the-cultural-coals-again. We'll see--next book pimping stop is the Senior Adult Fellowship, which includes lunch and men!