Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Fan Mail

You've read it and wept.
Or laughed, admired, thought.
Was pleased, encouraged, up-lifted, or disturbed.
Everyone has their buttons.
I seldom read horror, for example. My imagination is too active.
From my research on the fringes of criminology, fictional serial killers and serious manipulators also hold little appeal.
One of the values of book back blurbs - one can decide to whether to purchase or avoid a genre, a subject.
Not so with entries in flash contests like Jason's.
You can't know in advance just what will turn up on a click.
But you do know it is caveat emptor - subject open season.
One expects to find a wide variety of treatments, from nice to nasty, decorous to disgusting, sweet to sacriligious.
In other words, you know what you're getting into as a reader; you know beforehand your withers may be wrung by some writer.
Other than as a compliment to the skill of a specific writer, how can one complain?
Yet some do, if I read one of Flood's past posts correctly.(Trying to make amends for screwing up your link on Monday, Flood.)
Someone was disturbed.
Disturbed enough to e-mail her about it.
Been wondering ever since if this sort of reaction is an act of subtle censorship.
If the sub-set demand of "I don't like this topic" is "You shouldn't write about such things."
Verbotens. Taboos.
At the same time wondering if voicing a reaction, a complaint, is really any different from its obverse - the complimentary reaction to a piece of work.
The "I think this is wonderful" reaction carries the message "Write more, more, of this stuff."
What do you think?

BTW: M.E.Ellis's book Pervalism came out from Wild Child Publishing this March.


Erik Ivan James said...

"I don't like the topic" not an acceptable comment to a blog post in my opinion. It's the type of comment to just ignore. To me, a blog is personal. If you don't like someone's expression on their blog, don't go there. Visiting blogs is a choice.

Flood said...

While Erik is right about personal blogs, this was something I chose to share publicly, with readers and other participants of the contest, right? So comment is expected.

My initial reaction to someone being offended was to feel very bad and then very sorry. Then, I reminded myself that art should move people. No where in the rules does it say the people should be moved in a positive way.

I quickly accepted this to be as flattering as praise, because emotion was evoked.

Don't worry about the link screw-up. Forrest's interview went well. Thank you for all your encouragement, Bernita.

Bernita said...

Reading entries in an open contest is also a choice, Erik. So I don't quite understand the complaint.

I thought your entry particularly well done, Flood.
One of my favourites in a stellar crew.

Ric said...

Gee, if you don't like it, don't go there again. Lord knows, there are milliums of blogs to read.

If I can say something encouraging, or contribute, I do. If I have nothing to say, or if the topic doesn't interest me, you're not going to hear me say, "What a waste."

Savannah Jordan said...

I post what I want to in my blog. I am sure something there has turned off someone at one point or another. That's okay. Like Ric says, there's plenty of other blogs out there to read.

It does bother me on some level to think that something I write might offend someone. I spent too many years allowing others opinions to shape me. I did that with my writing, too. But, then I decided to hell with that--it's better to be true to yourself, or in this case, your writing.

"You can't please everyone all of the time."

If you try, you are doomed to failure.

Bernita said...

Sorry I'm so slow this morning.
I'm like you, Ric, enjoy my favourites list but don't always comment.
Taste is quite subjective, after all.

There's always someone who will get offended, no matter what, Savannah.
Have you not blosomed as a writer after you decided to do your own thing?

Savannah Jordan said...

That's when Savannah came out of the closet and started writing Erotica. That's when I ended up with two contracts, and a lot more interest in my writing. So, blossoming has been good. :)

S. W. Vaughn said...

When responding to subject matter that offends one's sensibilities, the proper and polite manner is to adopt the outlook of an agent or editor: "Not for me, thanks."

Some people just can't resist chastising others for what they view as a sleight against humanity, rather than an attempt at expression that may actually entertain some. No one who dislikes Howard Stern hesitates to bash him publicly. Personally, I hate the bugger, but if I were ever to communicate with him, I would express my dislike for his methods. I don't know him, and therefore can't judge what type of person he is. Not everyone, unfortunately, is able to separate the artist from the work.

Common courtesy is a rare commodity these days. It's a good thing writers have that thick skin resulting from rejection after rejection, but it's rarely as thick as we'd like it to be.

Bernita said...

QED, Savannah!

People can be rude without realizing it, Sonya.
Like the ones mentioned yesterday(?) over on Romancing the Blog.

M.E Ellis said...

Oooh! Thanks for the mention there!

You know, I went on one of those random blog jaunts a while back, when you click 'next blog' and was stunned with what came up. Of course, I did what was best for me and stopped reading, moving quickly onto the next blog, but...I'm not joking, it was an in-depth post about this woman's nether regions, complete with a picture of it in all its baggy glory.

Ahem. I didn't report it, as some people might find that type of blog stimulating (hahaha) and who am I to say I didn't like it?


Bernita said...

My word.
The things one learns.

Dakota Knight said...

I think commenting is great, even if the comments are bad, as long as they're meaningful and somewhat constructive. People who spew needless venom drive me crazy sometimes. Commenting is a way to let bloggers and other writers know that there are people out in the world checking out their work, and hopefully encourages people to keep writing.

Bernita said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernita said...

I enjoy reading comments, Dakota.
Always check them out on every blog I visit. Interesting angles, ideas and takes.
Prefer those reactions that back up their reactions with logic and reasoning.

Jaye Wells said...

I agree with Flood on this. It wasn't a blog entry. but a fiction piece entered into a contest. I read the comment and didn't think it was rude. I think the person questioned Flood's handling of the theme she explored.

I certainly don't condone bashing someone. But I think if our work doesn't ring true for someone we need to hear it in a honest and constructive way. Espcially if we're putting work out there with intention of being judged.

Bernita said...

And I'm afraid we're at cross-purposes here.
Perhaps I was not clear enough in expanding from the particular to the general..

Jen said...

I agree with Erik. If I read something offensive on a blog, I have a choice.
For example: I'm politically active. When I read a blog by a fellow author that states an opposite opinion, will I comment? No. Will I stop visiting that blog? In my case, no. I have a lot of friends with differing opinions on politics. It's not my job to comment on their opinions. That's me. Some people feel it's their "duty" to point out lack of morality, lack of courtesy or lack of sense. *shrugs* What can you do?

Bernita said...

I can be quite forthright about lack of courtesy, Jen.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I too, post what I want on my blog...I tell people, "It's like TV, if you don't like what's on, change the channel!"

Opinions are like butt holes, everyone's got one!

Sorry that I'm late to the party. I been kinda busy today. I'm sitting in the middle of a 9 county state of emergency...water, water everywhere, not a drop to drink!

I'll post pictures on the blog tonight

Anonymous said...

I'm with Sonya. Common courtesy always. No exceptions. The alternative is say nothing and don't go back. For example, I do not have the energy or the stamina to participate in political or religious debates on the internet. I just move on.

As a reader, I want writers to say anything they choose. I'm fascinated by brave topics and approaches. As a writer, though, I'm not brave enough to venture into certain topics. People will lash back. I'm just not looking for that kind of controversy.

December Quinn said...

You know, I know I have an intelligent and well-thought-out response to this, but I'm just a little too tipsy right now to post it.

Just shut up if you don't like it, and don't read it again, you self-righteous little wanker. (I mean the people who complain, of course, not you Bernita.)

How's that?

Jaye Wells said...


Sorry if I wandered off-topic. I misunderstood your intent.


Bernita said...

Never rains but it pours, Bonnie? First blog trouble and now THIS?
Me want pichures.

Will do fine, December, she said uneasily.

I also avoid political and religious debates like the plague, Jason. Maybe because I think I've seen/read them all. And some positions become positively cult-like.

No problem, Jaye. I wasn't clear. Just considering the ethics of topic disapproval - as writers we expect disagreement on style, structure, approach, etc.( but get rather hairy if we are told a subject is off-limits) - and if such disapproval amounted to a form of attempted censureship. Or not.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Pictures are up Bernita!

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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