So this has been on my mind lately. I’m not super old but times have changed since I was a kid. The Internet rocks my world. It’s so awesome! Thanks to it, I can email people in different countries, I’m hooking up with old friends on Facebook, and anime is now pretty much mainstream. Thank goodness I can come out of the anime closet, and find that a billion other women watch it, too! Now we can braid shurikens into each other’s hair in peace.
But of course there are the downsides. There are creepy emails from strangers. (Note. If you’re saying, “Hello, I hope that this isn’t creepy, but I really liked this story that you wrote…” that isn’t creepy. If you’re sending videos of headless dolls because you think that somehow we’re best friends, that’s uber creepy. Yes, I mean you. Yes. Really. Yes.) People write the most appalling things online. But the biggest downfall, in my opinion, is that we can’t keep our mouths shut. There’s no mystique.
The more that I tell you about myself, the more that you have to hate. “I like sharks,” I say. “Well, I abhor them! A shark ate my brother!” you say, and there goes our relationship. Perhaps you really have difficulty around people with special needs, and their community, so there goes our relationship. Perhaps you hate my warm and fuzzy stories, and wish that I’d write straight horror. There goes our relationship. (By the way, the new emerging horror crowd seems to be the nicest group of people online. Why is this, I wonder? No idea, but it’s true. They should have their own television series about a band of diverse characters flying around the universe in a ratty ship…oh, wait. It’s called Firefly.)
Yesterday the Illiterati and I were discussing authors that rant back to hateful fanatics on their blogs. We had mixed feelings. Authors aren’t slaves to the people. A book won’t please everybody, and I don’t think that it should have to. Does an author want the book to sell? Of course. But ultimately you want to write a piece that has integrity. You want a piece that has soul. Your soul.
So you publish your novel with integrity and soul…and then somebody hates it. Vocal somebodies. Mean spirited somebodies. They rip you apart on forums and send you hateful e-mails. So what do you do?
Some of us thought that ranting back wasn’t going to solve anything. It made these particular authors look crazy, especially since some of the things that they said were….wow. Unbalanced. But some of us said if people dig and dig and dig, wouldn’t you eventually snap? Wouldn’t it feel good to say, “Listen here, jerk, I’m writing this book, not you. They’re my characters, and they’ll do what I want. Go write your own book, nyah!”
It would be easy to go off. But thanks to the ‘Net, it’ll be out there forever, posted on blogs and forums until the end of time. Mistakes can’t be erased like they used to be. “I’m sorry,” and “I’ll never do it again,” doesn’t have the same effect when your words are constantly being thrown back at you. They’ll never go away. And now that I’ve seen that author’s Crazy Eyes, a little of his/her sheen has worn off.
But then, we’re writers. We make our living with words, by spinning out the tales that other people would keep inside. It goes against a lot of our natures to demurely look down and not say anything. I know that I’m going to shoot myself in the foot a lot. Sorry. I don’t think that I can help it.
That said, I’m conducting an experiment this week that I’m hoping will improve my Quality of Life. I’ll tell you what it entails later, and if I survive it. Cuz I’m lazy, basically.