So September 9th marks the day that just about all California school children go back to school, if they haven’t already done so. With them go many of my hopes. I still hold on to faith. I still believe. But it’s getting harder to stay strong.
Some author that I can’t recall right now wrote about a ‘season in hell’ as a sort of passage that we all have to go through in our lives. My season has been lasting now many seasons, or so it seems. Without being overly dramatic, I can say quite truthfully that the past couple years have been very difficult. Things used to come so easily to me- I hardly ever seemed to have to try. Now, everything seems hard won.
So be it. I will not despair. Not yet. I’m waiting for that Eucatastrophy that Tolkien so often wrote about. The unforeseen turn to good even when things seem to be utterly lost.
J.K. Rowling won her court battle against Steven Vander Ark, the creator of the online Harry Potter Encyclopedia. Vander Ark was attempting to publish a book version of the online lexicon but Rowling sued claiming that Vander Ark basically just cut and paste her own work (with little or no references) and thus the book would be a violation of copyright laws.
Rowling detractors cite her initial support of the Vander Ark website, claiming that once he moved to publish it in book form (where the money is) she only then showed resistance. Rowling has claimed all along that it’s not about money, but rather about upholding copyright laws- she has stated for quite some time that she wants to publish her own Potter encyclopedia, promising to give the proceeds to charity. I believe her.
My take on it is this (in short): if Steven Vander Ark takes the time to go over the entire manuscript of his book and basically re-write it- putting it all into his own words- rather than simply pulling Rowling’s text at length (the copying and pasting he was accused of doing) then I think that the ruling (and Rowling) would have no claim against its publication. Put another way, Vander Ark can still eventually publish an HP encyclopedia- he just has a little more work to do (and perhaps now little motivation to do so). Perhaps Vander Ark is hoping for a Eucatastrophy too.
More publishing news. The Jewel of Medina has finally found a publisher with the balls to publish the book. It has been put on hold by more than one publisher for reasons based on fear that Islamic zealots would incite violence upon its publication. The book is about one of the Muslim Prophet Mohammad’s wives, Aisha. The novel follows her life from when she was six years old, that’s when she became engaged to Mohammad (a grown man), until the prophet’s death.
Two points on this. One: I think the book might very well incite violence from certain members of the Islamic community, so I admire the publisher’s courage (if indeed it be courage.) Two: even if it’s just rumors, how many more examples of violence tied to Islam do we need before we begin to discount it altogether? “…And you shall know them by their fruits.”
Try to think of a Christian analogy. When the farce of a movie “The Last Temptation of Christ” was released, was there any fear that it would incite riots? Were there attempts made on the life or family of the director? Was anything bombed? I don’t recall anything of the sort, nor would I expect there to be. Yet, with Islam, I have no such assurance to civility.
Ask Salman Rushdie about the very real threat of violence under the Islamic shadow for having written something they find disagreeable.
Perhaps it’s just me. After all, it’s just my thoughts written here in some disarray. Be easy on me.