Let’s pretend you don’t like mushrooms.
This is actually easy for me to pretend because I don’t, in fact, like mushrooms. I don’t enjoy their taste and, more importantly, I find their texture unnerving and their appearance vile, particularly that little hairy part. Ick.
So, you don’t like mushrooms. That’s okay. You don’t have to eat them. If you don’t want mushrooms in your house, that’s also okay. Your house, your rules. If you don’t want your children to eat mushrooms, fine. They’re your kids, and you can raise them however you want.
If you find out that a neighbor has been giving your children mushrooms and trying to make them eat the little fungi, it Is okay for you to have a conversation with that neighbor and ask them to please refrain from offering your child mushrooms because you are a no-mushroom household. If your child’s school cafeteria starts serving only dishes with mushrooms, it is within your right to request that they offer other options.
If, when you see another person eating a mushroom, you wrinkle your nose in disgust and tell them you don’t like mushrooms, I guess that’s okay. It’s a little rude, but you’re entitled to your own opinion. I may have wrinkled my nose at a few people in the past.
All of this is okay.
Going to your neighbor’s house and telling them to stop eating mushrooms? That’s not okay. Calling the school to demand that they stop serving mushrooms? Also not okay. Standing outside the grocery store with a sign that reads, “BAN ALL MUSHROOMS”? Definitely not okay. And asking your politician to make laws against people growing mushrooms just because you don’t want to eat them? 100% not okay.
To sum up, it is okay for you to dislike mushrooms and choose not to consume them. It is not okay for you to try to remove them from society just because you think they’re gross.
THE SAME RULES APPLY TO BOOKS.
If you don’t like a book, don’t read it. Don’t buy it. Don’t keep it in your house. Don’t allow your children to read it, and make sure other books are available for your kids. Feel free to wrinkle your nose when you see someone reading the book and post a negative review about why you dislike it. All of that is okay.
Just don’t tell someone they can’t like it either. Don’t tell other people’s children they can’t read it. Don’t tell stores they can’t sell it. Don’t tell libraries they can’t keep it on their shelves. And don’t try to create laws to rid the world of the book. None of that is okay.
It’s simple. Don’t ban mushrooms. Don’t ban books. Get another hobby. (I suggest reading.)
There’s another thing I want to mention. No one says this enough. You’re allowed to change your mind. About books, about mushrooms, about politics, whatever. I’ve hated mushrooms my entire life, and I used to be really vocal about it, but a few years ago I realized I could handle them on pizza if they were cut up small and didn’t show any of the hairy bits. Then I found a big piece of one in my spaghetti sauce and decided to be brave. It didn’t kill me. Recently, I even survived eating a small stuffed mushroom at a dinner where the host ordered them and I didn’t want to be rude. I didn’t enjoy it, but it wasn’t as objectionable as I’d feared.
I won’t be ordering a portabella sandwich anytime soon, and I still gag a little when I see toadstools growing in my yard, but I have softened my stance against mushrooms. That’s okay.
So, if you ever find yourself alone in a room with a comfy chair and a cup of tea and a copy of a book you swore you’d never read, it’s okay to open it and peek inside and read a page or two. It’s okay if you don’t like it. Then again, it’s also okay if you do.
This week I’m excited to be attending the TLA (Texas Library Association) annual conference in Austin. I’ll be talking about school visits and signing my Spooky America books at the SCBWI booth on Friday, April 21st from noon to 1:00PM. Stop by and say hello! Anyone who purchases a copy of The Ghostly Tales of Austin, The Ghostly Tales of New England, or The Ghostly Tales of Burlington will be entered in a raffle to win a free signed copy of The Ghostly Tales of Dallas which comes out on May 1st! I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a part of an organization dedicated to keeping books and libraries safe.
One thought on “A Fungus Among Us & Where to Find Me at TLA”
“Keeping books safe.” Yes. That is what we need to be doing. Love the mushroom analogy (Have you read Mexican Gothic by the way?). Super excited about your TLA conference; I hope to see you post about it!