By Kay Springsteen
Let’s take a moment to consider what the hard-won freedom we enjoy means to us as writers and readers of romance. We have the freedom of speech. Simply put, this is the freedom to speak freely—to say anything, without censorship—without fear of legal repercussion. Freedom of expression is usually synonymous with the term freedom of speech, and includes not only verbal speech but any act of imparting ideas or information, regardless of the process used, including the written word. Of course, even this basic freedom is limited by the threat of lawsuits if we speak or write libelously. However, in terms of writing fiction, we are free to put pen to paper, or tap onto our keyboard, and say anything we want. We can tell our stories our way. To some, this may mean writing a hot and steamy sex scene. To others, it may mean writing a sweet story without any sex. Some people may find meaning in the fact that they are able to write an interracial romance, or a gay romance. Whatever freedom of speech means to you and what you write or read, take a moment to thank our Founding Fathers for recognizing, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
As you celebrate your freedom on this July 4 holiday, please also take a moment to consider those who have, over the intervening time from the signing of the Declaration of Independence until now, given up their own rights, sometimes even their lives, that we might enjoy the freedoms afforded to us. The members of our military: Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. If not for the sacrifices of our military and their families, we would not have freedom of anything. Freedom isn’t free. The next time you tap out a scene of any kind in your current story, or crack a book of your choice, remember we could easily live in a country where such things are not allowed.
Have a safe and free and happy Independence Day! Happy (and free) writing!