This month It's all about spice!
Over the weekend I visited a Sikh religious service. A group of people from my church, Methodist, accepted an invitation to attend a service at a nearby Sikh house of worship.
We attended their worship service with a guide who spoke at length about the Sikh religion. The Sikh traditions include a community meal at the end of service called the Langar. This Langar or free kitchen is a practice that goes back 500 years to the religion's early days. It was initiated by the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. (FYI Guru means teacher, Sikh means disciple or student).
The Langar is designed to uphold the principle of equality between all people of the world. Rich eat beside poor, and people of any caste are welcome. People sit on the floor, except chairs are provided for those of us with bad knees. To be inclusive of members who cannot eat beef, or pork, or any meat, the meals are vegetarian.
They also contain very little spice.
I'm not trying to be a spoilsport. I enjoyed the company and the meal. We had soup, beans and rice, homemade yoghurt, and a sweat pudding. But a little more spice would have pleased my palate, probably proving I am spoiled.
I tend to try spoiling my readers. I have just wrapped up teaching my four week online course, Adding the Spice of Diversity to Your Writing. In there I try to show authors how they can do the same by adding to manuscripts that frequently contain all-white, all able-bodied, middle class or wealthy, heterosexual people who rarely if ever even mention religion. Some authors and publishers see this as being universal.
It can also be a little bland.
I use the spice metaphor in my class title for a reason. Food is fuel. But it is also a social lubricant.
I was recently invited to be a member of the WeNeedDiverseBooks™ team. All of us feel honored by the recent announcement that School Library Journal has named our organization one of the named 2015 Movers & Shakers. As SLJ put it, "Movers see the future and bring it to life." I'm proud to be part of WNDB, a change agent, and a spice bringer.