My WIP. I haven’t talked about it until now, often referring to it as my “real writing.” As some of you know, one of my best friends was killed in a drunk driving accident. At the time, my therapist encouraged me to write about her death and I’ve been doing it ever since. My WIP is a work of fiction, but it’s what I imagine a young drunk driver’s life to be like in the years following a similar accident. Due to the emotional toll this takes on me, this work is far from finished. I haven’t released excerpts of it yet because I’m not ready for any sort of backlash. I’m not ready for writing that recounts such a sad time in my life to be ripped apart.
Tonight I realized that I have made the right decision, because I was hurt when a “Blogger Friend” (we’re in the same tribe on Triberr, friends on Twitter, etc.) attacked my most recent review in a blog post. This person clearly misunderstood what I was trying to communicate in this review and if he gave me 24 hours, I would have responded to his initial comment in order to explain where I was coming from. Nope. He decided to write a post that bashed both me and my words.
To his credit, this person didn’t say my name. However, he reproduced my review without asking my permission (a writer no-no and, you know, an act of plagiarism). Since he used my exact words and since we run in the same Twitter/blogging circle, it’s pretty clear who he was referring to. Me. Either way, even if that wasn’t the case, he should have never personally attacked me or my character in the ways that he ultimately did. I said there was something creepy about Abe Lincoln. Sue me. I didn’t say these words out of malice or hate, more as an entertaining opener for my review. We writers call it a hook. But guess what? THERE IS! I DON’T TAKE IT BACK! I didn’t mean it in an I’ll-mug-you-on-the-street creepy way! The creepy that I was referring to was more along the lines of an I-may-just-be-in-a-secret-society creepy. I am beyond proud to be an American; consequently, I wasn’t trying to disrespect Honest Abe!
Still, without letting me explain myself, here are a few of the nastier judgement calls this person made against me in his post:
-”Abraham Lincoln is only creepy to a child who hasn’t been taught history properly. ” (Funnily enough, I minored in history at one of the nation’s top 20 liberal arts colleges. I focused on American history specifically.)
-”I suppose that could sound creepy to someone who might be narcissistic.“
-”I suppose that would sound creepy to someone who didn’t understand the true meaning of valor and self-sacrifice to a higher cause.”
-”Abraham Lincoln might also sound creepy to someone who hasn’t been taught to revere their country.”
-”I suppose that sounds creepy to an intellectual who believes that there is nothing special or exceptional about the United States.”
-” ’Scarily convincing?’ Are you kidding? News Flash: Vampires are not real!” (Oh my God, they aren’t? I’m so happy! I can finally stop wearing this garlic wreath around my neck!)
And my *absolute* favorite:
-”The only plausible explanation I can come up with is that the author of this review is like one of the girls I knew in high school who liked the bad boys.” (This one hurt me the most. I can’t put my finger on why. My grandfather used to beat the hell out of my grandmother, so I have made it a personal mission to stay away from “bad boys” like him. That’s none of this person’s business and neither is the fact that I’ve been successful.)
Final word: There’s a difference between respectfully disagreeing with what someone says and tearing their work (and them) apart. What should I do now? Should I approve a post in which I was attacked in such a churlish manner? I’m a fan of free speech, so my first inclination was to do so. However, I’ve decided that, in good conscience, I can’t do it. I don’t agree with how this author handled his views, so I will be perfectly candid in saying that I will no longer approve/tweet *any* of this person’s posts. I have lost respect for them and simply cannot support their work. I posted a review of a vampire book, not an intellectual thought piece about Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. We’re all writers and we’re in this together. I think we should act like it.
Yay! I survived my first Internet attack; my hide has just grown a little bit thicker. I’ve said what I needed to say and have defended myself as I felt necessary. I’m done. I won’t say anything else on this subject. *I have NOT and will NOT comment on this person’s post. No part of me wants to delve into this with him any further.*
By the way, creepy or not creepy, Abraham Lincoln will always be my favorite president.