“Anyone caught discussing books would be executed in the marketplace”

No, this isn’t from some dystopian novel I’ve started writing. laughing. File that under things that will never happen. It’s from the establishment of the Chinese nation, quite some time ago. My son and I have been listening to Story of the World, Ancient History while driving around lately. It’s good for him, he is happier to do the History lesson when we get to it in my lesson plan if he’s heard the CD chapter a few times already.

It’s good for me too because I hear little things that I hadn’t before. I know I have a degree in history but my focus was on Wars of the Twentieth century. I did take some ancient, Africa and Rome. But all my other classes focused 1740 forward.

So this morning when the CD was explaining how China was united by a ruler named Chin (hence China) who overcame multiple other warlords and maintained his dynasty by severe rule, I heard this bit about book burning and discussing books being punishable by death. And it occurs to me there are so many ways I could have died if I had lived in another time.

I went through a whole phase where if you told me not to do something, I did it, just to see what would happen. Luckily I live in the United States and it was the nineties, so I got told things like don’t get that tattoo (I have three), don’t get that piercing (I’ve had 6), if you don’t go to college you’ll never get a job (ha and double ha), you’ll never make it as a writer (still proving that one wrong), etc etc etc

Even right now I have blue and purple hair. House wives shouldn’t have multi colored hair. Shrug. Kiss it.

Ok, maybe it wasn’t a phase as such but a way of life.

So you can imagine if I was told “Do not discuss books in public.”

There I am on my quickly nailed together box (no soap boxes back then), speaking persuasively in favor of books: of what you can learn, how they can change your life, that a populace that can read will never be truly oppressed…right up until they cut my head off with an ax.

So there my head is, staring up at you from the ground, asking what are you doing that everyone or even just one someone told you, you can’t, you shouldn’t, you won’t…..

3 thoughts on ““Anyone caught discussing books would be executed in the marketplace”

  1. blue and purple hair should technically get you beheaded nowadays!!! lmao although I have thought of doing it myself… I lean toward just purple. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was usually told I could do anything…oddly, I found a lot of pressure in that level of encouragement. I floundered in being unable to decide what to work on so I got pretty good at lots of things. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. There were a few things I was told I couldn’t do…and I just realized they are still huge struggles or even small points of defeat. Either my mother was painfully astute, or since there were only a few I believed her and defeated myself….You’ve given me a crazily clear AHA moment. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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