Today is Blumesday--not a typo, as it turns out, but a holiday concocted to celebrate the beloved young-adult author Judy Blume. Bloomsday, which honors James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” took place on Sunday.
As NPR reports, Blumesday was created by writers Joanna Miller and Heather Larimer, who, try as they might, found they were never quite able to embrace Joyce’s vast novel. “We sort of self-deprecatingly said, ‘Well the only way we could participate in Bloomsday was if it were Judy Blumesday.’ And then the joke turned into, ‘Wait, why aren’t we doing this?” Miller said, on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”
And so, a few years ago, they did, beginning to hold the celebration in their native Portland, Ore., in 2007. The following year, the event was moved to L.A. This year, it is returning to its Oregon roots, just in time for the release of the first film based on Blume’s work, an adaptation of her novel “Tiger Eyes.” The Blumesday celebration at Portland’s Secret Society will include dramatic readings of Blume’s work, musical performances inspired by the author, and a game of “Name That Blume.” In the past, the event has included a video chat with Blume herself, something Joyce’s fans surely wish they could have had in the case of their own celebrant.
Blume’s fiction--including the teenage classic “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” celebrates the awkward, often painful stretch between childhood and adult life, dealing with timeless adolescent girl issues like menstruation, developing breasts, parental divorce, masturbation, and bullying. The controversial subject matter has landed the novels on banned-books lists countless times, but guaranteed them generations of fans regardless: While they hold a nostalgic appeal for those who’ve come of age since the ‘70s, the books are timeless in their ability to capture the adolescent experience. In fact, they are still embraced by middle schoolers today, as Portland school librarian Quinn Sanford told NPR: “You can always go back to your book, and you always have that same friend there,” she said.