Warning: Cerebral rant ahead.
Freedom is a word used by many people in various ways. As an American writer, freedom is a concept and value that I’ve been raised to not only consider, but defend and fight for freedom as an inalienable right. Yet freedom does not mean ‘actions without consequence’. There is always the chance of a result occurring due to an expressed thought or an action manifested from a person’s will.
Maybe in the future this might change, but within the modern-day, there is continual effort to destroy and hamper freedoms of the human individual. We have gained freedom, but some freedoms we have also lost or are losing. The process is occurring both ways. Even in the United States, there is a daily struggle to define and comprehend what freedom means.
As an author, freedom of speech is a major thing. The right to articulate an individual opinion or idea without fear of government retaliation or censorship is important. However, within the private sphere of capitalism between citizens, limits can be placed depending on the setting.
For instance, Amazon is able to restrict and limit the freedom of expression to certain extents. Almost every publisher online maintains boundaries, especially on the precedent of United States laws that have to do with obscenity.
In this way, the “free market” and private businesses regulate freedom of speech to suit their purposes and biases. This can be done blatantly (through banning/deleting) or subtly (through algorithms/searches, etc.). Then there are readers and audiences who will try to sway whether a work will be punished or rewarded (or completely ignored) for its freedom of expression.
So, while a writer could simply write whatever they want and post it anywhere until some consequence occurs (or print it themselves and distribute), many choose to abide by these boundaries and research what is acceptable and what is not. This leaves it up to the readers and an author can only hope for the best, that they are not targeted by someone’s hate and come only into contact with people who’re drawn to the story instead.
Age ratings are a form of restriction to freedom of speech built on societal choice of what is appropriate for what ages. This can change depending on era and who is involved despite many sites using age ratings as objective distinction to decide what is welcome or not for adults/non-adults. YA is a good example of this.
You might write a list of what a proper YA might be, what it might include and what it might avoid to keep in the parameters of being for the later teen/young adult ages… YA, after all, is not “Adult”. But if you pick out fifteen random YA books, you might be surprised to see what they actually include.
I’m often surprised by how modern YA books will focus heavily on (suggested) sexuality, blatant violence, and the framework for a mature HBO show without the visual nudity.
As a writer, I’ve never felt drawn to writing for YA, though I’ve considered it before. I simply do not understand the allure of the genre. While YAs can be enjoyable to read in the way a candy bar is sweet to eat, it isn’t ever the meal I crave or even a snack to tide me over; it’s just a quick artificial rush and maybe I’ll want another one later, but if I eat too much, my teeth are going to hurt and I’ll get cranky.
Metaphor aside, it is freedom that allows me to not bother with YA and focus on what I enjoy instead. I can make my own choices, but each choice will have its very own consequence and influence the path I walk upon.
The beauty of freedom, for me, is that later on… I have the freedom to change my mind. I adore being able to change, to contemplate something so deeply that I come around and embody something I didn’t think I ever would understand, to shift paradigms, to freely become a different person yet remain myself at the exact same time. The exploration of my internal self is something that if I had to repress such instinct, I would be miserable.
There are consequences to this freedom though, to giving in to my instincts. Changing my beliefs, values, thoughts, and actions continually is tough to explain to people on the outside who are not privy to my internal logic. It seems eccentric, sometimes wishy-washy, or baffling to acquaintances. I’ve learned to accept it because I honor my instinct and I choose my freedom to do so over attempting to be something stagnant and stale. I have the freedom to be happy or miserable. I aim to be happy.
Freedom is a wondrous thing, though it can be overwhelming – as is the case with anything awe-some.
Freedom to think, freedom to believe, freedom to understand, freedom to deny, freedom to actualize, freedom to lie, freedom to play, freedom to live, freedom to die, freedom to feel, freedom to work, freedom to consume, freedom to sustain, freedom to love, freedom to hate, freedom to theorize, freedom to build, freedom to create, freedom to purchase, freedom to travel, freedom to agree, freedom to disagree…
Freedom to write.
Freedom is a concept; the condition of being Free.
Individual freedom means there will be consequences, but anyone who is a believer and supporter of freedom should defend the right of anyone else to express their freedom just as they wish for themselves to do the same.
Complexity is born from different perspective realities overlapping and rubbing against each other while within this greater freedom state. Two individuals can define reality in completely different ways, most notably the conflicts between Objectivity and Subjectivity, as well as Dogma and Skepticism, or Determinism and Free Will.
Freedom, by its nature, does not favor one individual over the other – no matter how Objective or Dogmatic that individual might be. In the same, an individual is not made superior due to how Subjective or Skeptical they identify as. Either way, freedom is equal and the same for each as long as it does not infringe on a fellow’s freedom in turn. This is the direction of where freedom must go… otherwise the concept will decay and be lost until reasserted once more.
Perhaps it is not so important for authors and writers to understand this, but I find solace in contemplating the nature of freedom and exploring opportunities to delve into internal boundary creation through the process of manifesting my writing. It, also, provides consideration for world-building and how freedom might differ for the characters in my stories.
Kudos if you actually read that. Sorry if any typos, I’m exhausted, but wanted to post because tomorrow I will be completely offline to catch up on Camp NaNoWriMo; I’m only about 2000 words in, need to buckle down and get further along if I want to finish the manuscript by the end of the month. I might extend being offline for the whole weekend (if so, I’ll post G on Monday along with H) or I might get on Sat. just to post G’s entry instead. Will decide then.
What freedom are you grateful for?