My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hate Mail! (Or Love Mail?)

There are certain milestones in a writer's life.  Certain guidepost markers that let the writer know that they are moving out of a solitary hobby and into the public sphere--that they are, in a manner of speaking, "making it."  The first publication.  The first paycheck.  The first book deal.  The first advance.  The first enraged editor boiling their pet rabbit.

While a writer might not ever make millions or have nightly threesomes on the French Riviera, but there are certain signs that their writing is getting out into the world and making an impact.

One such milestone is hate mail.  And I got some, baby.  I GOT SOME!!!!  After nine months of sweat and toil, someone I didn't know took the time to tell me I suck.

No writer is beloved by all:


There are pages and pages dedicated to hatred of Shakespeare.  People who study Joyce don't like him. Many people think Virginia Woolf is unreadable. Faulkner turns stomachs. You can get a high society meeting to turn into a back alley brawl by introducing the topic of whether Hemingway was a genius. Stephen King gets death threats. There are entire CAREERS dedicated to dismantling Dan Brown for humor and sport online. JK Rowling is largely regarded by millions to produce writing worse than her mid-tier fanfic.

Do you think anyone would care this much about what they perceive to be bad writing if these people were unknowns?

Fuck no, they wouldn't.

The more popular a writer, the more people are going to take time out of their day to talk about how they suck. And no one will (or even can) spend their precious life essence trashing you if you're not out there to be trashed.

So for every writer, there will always be the first anonymous hate mail. The cherry-popping cowardly snipe taken from the shadows by someone who not only noticed you, but then stopped to read, and THEN took time out of their day to talk smack.

I have arrived!

This is probably how the person wanted me to feel.

But, unfortunately for them, this is how I actually felt.

So what WAS this hate mail?  I know you're dying to know.   It came in on my top entry of the day, but it was about my Who Is This Clown page.  I can only assume the person wrote the comment where they did because they couldn't write a comment on one of my fixed pages.  I say that I can only assume because it's honestly difficult to tell exactly what the person was objecting to.

Anonymous Wrote:

I like your "about me" page much better. 19 paragraphs of word sophistry fucked my eyeballs. i mean, really: who is this pretentious clown? I think I'd rather chug a jug of cholorox bleach than read this blithering drivel. your writing serves as an antiseptic to sanity. 

I don't know about you...but I'm not even entirely sure this is actually "hate mail."  I mean, I think it is, but it's tough to tell.

"Antiseptic to sanity," is kind of hard to parse. Anyone who knows me would know I would consider the general sentiment there (not the ableist implications) one of the highest compliments I could ever receive.  Unless they meant that it cleans sanity...like a sanity antiseptic. (Saniseptic?) It's not really clear what they meant since written communication skills are clearly not within this writer's skill set.

Assuming they meant that it was KILLING their sanity...AWESOME!!  Considering how fucked up and stupid most "sanity" looks.....

(People spending money they don't really have on things they don't really need to impress people they don't really like or regretting 90% of their decisions when they lay dying and wishing they lived a life a lot more like the people they once called crazy)

....I'm pretty okay being an antiseptic to that.

But now, a somber note. Take care, my cowardly commenter. Seriously. I don't want you to hurt yourself.

If I ever felt the need to imbibe toxic chemicals rather than continue reading something (And I got pretty close during book three of the Hunger Games) I would probably just stop reading.  This doesn't seem to have occurred to you, and I worry that the ready availability of bleach may be a toxic combination with your inability to conceive of such alternatives.

Lastly, a protip: I'm not much of a grammar wank, but if you want to talk about "word sophistry," you might want to use capital letters, proper punctuation, and spell Clorox correctly. It might be the difference in making me feel bad for a few minutes vs. laughing so hard I needed to pause before being able to finish the last sentence. 


  1. Love the protip. I am always thinking to myself, while reading comments on online forums, if you're going to try to appear intelligent as you are stating your rather biased drivel, you should probably demonstrate that you passed English in 5th grade by using proper grammar, punctuation and spelling. Idiots.

    1. Especially when the commentary is pointing the finger of "bad writing"!

  2. LOL... "cholorox bleach"? That sounds pretty effin' serious. Oh, anonymous haters. Never, ever change!

    1. Right? Sounds kind of like they figured out a way to combine Cholera and bleach together without the bleach killing the Cholera.

  3. The last half of this entry was read, in my head, by the voice of Strong Bad.

  4. It's so awesome that you turned hate mail into a good thing!

  5. Love it! Quick correction (because I know you welcome them) the last paragraph, "protip" is accidentally spelled "potip".

    1. Laughs. I cleaned this up today and made my irony citing itself ironic.

  6. ouch, 4 months into following you I mark the milestone of disagreeing with you for the first time- The Bell Jar is one of my favourite books EVER. Apart from that great text as usual, so true for one thing but I also love how you can turn around virtually anything;) keep up the good work! xxx

    1. I can appreciate it as a writer and an English major. And I can see WHY people liked it. But every reader has that one canon author they just can't stand, and mine is Sylvia Plath.

  7. How is your French? The first part of this post reminded me of a scene in Bernard Werber's latest novel where the spirits of so-called fantasy fiction through the ages have a battle with authors of "serious fiction". I think you might appreciate it. Unfortunately Werber is not much translated into English, for reasons I haven't understood.