Happy Independence Day!

I hope y’all are enjoying the holiday. Hopefully you’re too busy to read the blog because you’re eating great food, sipping cool lemonade, and connecting with family and friends.

Our house is crazy today—just the way we like it. Kids are running in and out, my mother-in-law and I are sharing recipes as we hurry around the kitchen, my husband is directing traffic around the sprinklers and keeping kids in the yard and out of the Edisto River (I probably need to check on that setup in a second), and my mom is with us, not in perfect health, but better—a blessing we couldn’t have counted on only a few days ago. We’re celebrating all things American. Too bad y’all don’t live close enough to stop by the house and sample some of the Cantaloupe Cocktail we invented right after lunch.

At the expense of getting too sappy, I encourage you, wherever you are today, to stop and appreciate what it means to be American. And what it means to have complete freedom when it comes to the important things—-religion, speech, assembly.

Consider what it means when it comes to your writing. You are not required OR forbidden to write a certain kind of story with a specific agenda. You can write whatever you want, whenever you want. Lots of people around the world don’t have this freedom. They can’t even read what they want. They could be put to death for reading the wrong newspaper.

So the next time you want to complain about an agent, or an editor, or the publishing industry in general, remember this: Our Founding Fathers made this great experiment in democracy possible and put their lives on the line so you would have the freedom to express yourself. Appreciate the unique position you’re in—if the agent or editor doesn’t like your stuff, someone else will. Or you can write something else and try your luck again. You can join a writers’ group, composed of the people of your choice, without prosecution or persecution. Be thankful for the system, with all its imperfections, because it’s better than the alternative: censorship.

Make sure to stop and be thankful, really thankful, before you choose to be hateful.

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