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Continuation of Interview with Daphne Woods
The part of the book that stands out most in my mind is when Meggie is forced to sit through a school assembly on safe sexual practices. That really horrified me. Was this taken from an event that really happened to someone with whom you are acquainted? Or did you find out about this type of thing from research and possibly interviews with people involved? Most importantly, was it based on fact?
It was based in some fact. About 8 or 9 years ago a high school near us literally forced students to attend an alternative lifestyle assembly. Doors were locked and students were not permitted to leave. I am sure it was not as graphic as the assembly I describe; at least I don’t think it was. But the fact remains the school felt it had the right to force this on the student body.
My purpose was to show that schools believe they have the right to educate our kids regarding safe sex and homosexuality in any way they please. And this scene is somewhat predictive. Schools may not be going quite this far yet, but what is to stop them from doing so? And if they did, would parents do anything about it? After all, schools already do teach kids to use condoms, some do already demonstrate how to use condoms with bananas, they do maintain that homosexuality is an acceptable and in some cases a preferred lifestyle, and many encourage kids to explore their sexual identity through whatever means they see fit. In California, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law permitting students to decide their gender on any given day and use whichever bathroom they want based on the gender preference of the moment! In the UK, children as young as 4 are to be taught about homosexuality in math, geography, and science lessons as part of a government backed drive to “celebrate the gay community”(The [UK]Telegraph). The arithmetic lessons involve using gay characters, the geography lessons examine the transformations of working class districts into homosexual neighborhoods, etc. etc. And, except for those parents who homeschool or send their kids to parochial schools, parents pretty much accept it all. So I think it could very well come to the kind of scene I describe in my novel.
By the way, that Maryland precedent I noted during the court case with the school really exists. The Montgomery County Circuit Court in Maryland upheld the Maryland State Board of Education’s decision to promote anal sex, homosexuality, bisexuality and transvestitism, declaring that the schools could teach anal sex any way they pleased. I just took it to a new level in showing what some schools might “please” to do.
Meggie’s family was truly dysfunctional. Were the members of Meggie’s family based upon people and situations that you witnessed? Or did all of that come from your imagination?
These family characters are based in real people, and I didn’t have to use all that much imagination in creating them, but just who they are I’m not prepared to state.
Where did you get the inspiration for the way you wrote about Meggie and Clark’s courtship?
Clark is truly imaginary. I will say that an image I had in my mind as I wrote was of Dean Cain as he looked during the first year or two of Lois and Clark! That’s why I called him Clark. I created him as a foil to David—someone passionate and intense but committed to principles. I wanted to show his relationship with Meggie as intellectual and spiritual, and I based some of their interaction on discussions I’ve had with my own husband.
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