Home » Progress » The Monday Rant #1 – If Disagreement is a Dirty Word, the Stink is Everywhere

The Monday Rant #1 – If Disagreement is a Dirty Word, the Stink is Everywhere

Black sea sunset

Sometimes the search for illumination is futile. (Photo via Wikipedia)

I decided to begin this series with a rant that comes more from the heart than from one of those places that feels like toes crammed all day into shoes that are a size too small. This one is about disagreement and acknowledgment.

We all live with disagreement every day. It hovers around us to some degree, in offices and in our homes (even if our only companions are pets and broadcast media.) It sits on the bus with us, rides in the next car on the road, follows as we make choices in the supermarket and looks over our shoulders as we vote. Disagreement is everywhere, always. So why do some of us have trouble dealing with even the faintest whiff of it? Why does polite discourse set them off?

I realize that conditions I’m unaware of could be where some of these answers lie, but I’m also sure that until that type of answer is clear, at least somewhat, we all do society a favor by not jumping to conclusions. I believe it’s best, initially, to attempt polite conversation with a person as if they understand the notion of polite conversation. It’s good practice for life, especially if you have to work for a living, make it there and back home each day (sometimes stopping off to buy dinner fixings on the way), or perhaps raise children who’ll be able to do these things, too.

Last week I was offended by a ‘brave’ very short story written by a woman who didn’t state whether she was black or white, but who appeared to be white because of some strangeness that didn’t sit well with me in the story she appeared to have written from a black perspective. In about three short paragraphs of comment, I politely left a few points for her consideration.

She answered with a long comment that went on and on about how happy she was to have received such detailed feedback and, if I recall correctly because it’s all gone now, she seemed to think I liked her work and was trying to encourage it in its present state. She said more than once that she was sorry she couldn’t acknowledge anything I’d actually said within her lengthy reply, but she just didn’t have time.

I’ve been told by others that I’m not always as plain-spoken as I think I am and that it can often be hard to tell whether I’m angry, pissed off, sad or ready to step over a cliff. I re-read my comment and wondered if I had been polite to a fault and caused her to misunderstand. That would be unfortunate considering my points. But could the length and opaqueness of her answer also have been an elaborate pat on the head to shut me up? I left about two sentences more to say I understood her not having time to respond. I just wanted to be clear that as a black woman, I was offended by her story.

I was actually hoping she would tell me that the only problem with her story was that the protagonist was white and she didn’t make that clear enough for me to see despite the photograph illustrating her post, but she didn’t say that. I was hoping she might say that yes her protagonist was black, but she didn’t realize that it was so dangerous for a black person to get so close as to “brush past” a Klansman. I was hoping she would briefly note the feelings of a person who was offended by what she wrote, and that as an artist she would consider why, how or if the point of view she tried to convey was one she knew as well as she thought she did.

I’m all for brave. It felt brave to me to write about my feelings in her comments section considering how many pats on the back she already had there. But do I really want to be a person who isn’t understood because I didn’t even try? Do I want to be quiet because race is such a tough subject that I should be grateful she tried to address it in her work at all? Hell no.

Yes, it’s her blog and she gets to do and say what she wants. She gets to delete our ‘exchange’ and add a verrry long couple of rants about people who get offended because she hasn’t got time to respond to every single comment she gets and, doggone it, she’s not even going to worry about trying to be ‘nice’ to people anymore. Okay. And I get to wonder what makes a writer, who can write so many words in one sitting that don’t address anything much, prefer to do that than to write a single paragraph about their work to someone who took the time to read it more than once and who left a direct, but polite, comment in the little box that asked, “What do you think?”

If it’s an aversion to disagreement, well WTF, you can change what the little box says. It doesn’t take so many hot, airy words to do that.

Postscript: I didn’t want a link to this post to just pop up in her comment feed since her own feelings seem to be so sensitive. (Besides, she knows where I am, if she cares what I write.) But in the hours since I wrote this, I’ve realized that I can just say where her blog is if anyone is interested in reading her story. Her blog address is scriptorwrites.wordpress.com and the story is called, “Ain’t None of Us Got a Clean Soul Heah.” 

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44 thoughts on “The Monday Rant #1 – If Disagreement is a Dirty Word, the Stink is Everywhere

  1. Wow – good on you for saying this and for commenting on her post so generously (whoever she is!) I’m a white Australian but I had a (sort of) similar concern with another white Australian’s representation of Aboriginal characters in a novel she was trying to write, but she wouldn’t listen to me. At the time I was a lecturer at the local university and she was my student, and I thought parts of her novel was both patronizing and misrepresentative in the way she portrayed the Aboriginal people in her novel (BTW, I also thought she was similarly unconvincing in her portrayal of teenagers in general – she was in her 60s so she didn’t get it). Anyway, bravo you!

    • Thank you, Julie. The situation you mention sounds very similar. Even though I got up the nerve to write about this, I still feel sort of dumbstruck. It’s hard when someone is rude to you, but thinks they’re doing the exact opposite. Now I’m working on letting it go.

  2. Well. Huh. It was your disagreeing comment that led me to this awesome blog. (I also had issues with the story. My issues weren’t deleted.) I’m white currently living in Montgomery, Alabama. Everything I know about the Civil Rights era has been informed by research. (I’m a hopeless academic.) It’s very strange to see my children learning these things more organically. I grew up in Ohio with hippie parents. My kids are growing up with classmates some of whose grandparents and great grandparents marched from Selma or walked for a year in Montgomery. Their understanding of this portion of history is going to come from a much different, much more organic place, than mine, even though they are one more generation than me removed from the Civil Rights movement.

    I can take them to Oak Park, where once the zoo stood, and tell them that it was closed in the 1950s because the city wasn’t willing to integrate it. (The new zoo is a wonderful fully unbiased institution.) I can take them swimming at the YMCA and tell them how the city avoided integrating pools until the mid 1970s by closing the city’s pools and giving the contract to the lily white YMCA, then subsidizing the Y. (And if, in the ensuing court case to force integration, someone hadn’t accidentally handed the prosecution proof that the city was paying the Y a subsidy, I don’t know WHEN it would have integrated.) I can take them to the interpretive center between here and Selma and show them life sized images from the March to Montgomery.

    It’s a different world now, and a different world for them. And I think that the original post that you objected to reflected someone who carries an academic understanding of these events only. I respect what she wrote, but I wish she had left the dissent up.

    • Thanks for commenting about this. As someone who also commented on the blog I mentioned, I’m glad you added your thoughts about it here.

      I wish the writer of the story had been able to participate in a discussion about it. She left me without answers that could have illuminated her goal with the piece. When writing about so powerful a subject, it’s hard to believe the goal isn’t to stir emotion from a specific point of view, or perhaps multiple points of view. I wasn’t sure of those specifics. I couldn’t understand her focus. I’m sorry she didn’t want me to understand her work.

  3. The thing about writing from another racial point of view (or another gender, socioeconomic background, etc.) is that you have to really do your homework in order to understand whether your characterization is accurate. It isn’t something to do lightly, and I’m not sure you can really imagine yourself into the role. It takes a lot of conversation, reading, and research, and only then–and only maybe–will the writer come close to getting it right.

    I also get irritated by this constant use of the word ‘brave’. Bravery is not about throwing down some half-assed representation of a world the writer has not taken the time to understand. Bravery is not about saying something incendiary. Bravery is the search for truth. I think we know it when we see it.

    • I agree with you about homework/research, Averil. It’s one of the hardest parts of writing for me. I wonder if some writers forget that emotion and reaction have to researched sometimes as much as facts do.

      Even if the truth of a piece of work is that the writer’s heart is in it, but they’re trying for something and missing it somehow, that’s a truth I can respect. Art doesn’t evolve without misses. And it doesn’t evolve in a vaccuum. Whether the artist interacts with their audience or not, listening to them and considering their reactions, informs their future work. I love your last two lines, “Bravery is the search for truth. I think we know it when we see it.” I hope I do know when I see it.

    • Good point. Bravery and ignorance do not make for good partners. Nor do brave and foolish. Or brave and arrogant…or invulnerable. To be brave is to take a leap, trake a risk with real consequences that one is ready to face. Very few of us is really brave. As you say, we tend to know it when we see it..

  4. I’m not sure how to respond to this (even though I very much appreciate it, and respect your right to voice your feelings), since I often offend with my strong opinions, then fall all over myself apologizing, sometimes betraying my own commitment to what I believe is true. I think I’m open enough to be proven wrong, but somebody’s feelings are not always enough to change my mind. I think of how Flannery O’Connor wrote about blacks, and how her ingrained racism gradually lessened, but I can’t fault her depictions of it, even as she made some of her racist characters somewhat-sympathetic human beings. This post reminds me of a recent essay by Bill Maher in the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/22/opinion/please-stop-apologizing.html

    • I’m going to go to that link and read Maher’s essay later this evening. I’m familiar with his ideas and his work and his ability to provoke thoughts and reactions. I like him even if I don’t always agree.

      I hear what you’re saying. I often have strong opinions, too, and it’s hard to walk that tightrope between respectfully understanding a strong opposing opinion and backtracking on my own point. I want to be open and I want to listen to understand other points of view, at least in the beginning of a discussion until I believe I understand. I can even change my mind if I hear something new and persuasive, but that can’t happen if I’m the only one reaching out. Being asked what I think feels strange when the person asking doesn’t want the conversation that would help me decide.

    • I just read Bill Maher’s article. I agree with him for the most part. I didn’t think De Niro’s comment was offensive. Perhaps not right for a room full of humorless stuffed shirts looking for something to pick on, but definitely not ‘offensive’.

      As to the rest of Maher’s article, I get his point. I don’t want to be one of the overly sensitive. I just want to know a writer has a point of view, a point, and has researched their subject well enough to know what does make sense and what doesn’t. As long as it has some sort of focus, even if it takes poetic license with my history for an abstract reason, or veers toward humor, I can take not liking it. I know how to turn the page — or just write something of my own.

      I wish she had illuminated her point for me so I would know she had one. At this point, it seems that she didn’t.

      • I couldn’t get past the third sentence. She’s laying that dialect on with a trowel, honey! I love the photo, though, and don’t find it racist, unless it’s illustrating something racist. Women in India still carry stuff that way. It just radiates dignity and simplicity, in my view.

    • Now I’m curious to know if you’ve read any Flannery O’Connor and what you think of her. I’ll still like you even if you hate her. 😉

      • I may have read one of her stories in the past, but I don’t remember. I know her work is considered classic, so you’ve peaked my curiosity, but I’m bracing myself.

  5. I think we owe it to each other to speak up when we see offensive content, especially cloaked in the guise of “creative writing”. Personally, I have a hard time judging this sort of thing (i.e. the story to which you refer) without reading it. But that’s the problem online, isn’t it? There is no body language, no tone of voice. We aren’t in a classroom where we can discuss content, and people can’t take turns speaking in a timely manner. We can comment, then wait. Maybe the author was rushing off doing errands (or to work, LOL, some people don’t have their priorities straight) and could have misread the intent of your words. I’d hate to think someone blithely posts a racist story. But as with the Limbaugh case, I think the free market will decide. If there’s any decency in this world, she’ll lose readers.

    • Sorry for the double-comment. I wanted to add – I’ve had similar experiences like this where people have censored my (polite) comments. It’s infuriating. But at the same time, it’s worth the effort. I’ve read posts that seemed to resonate with me, only to follow the comments and see that someone picked up on some sort of sexism, sterotype or otherwise unfair characterization I had not noticed. These exchanges opened my eyes and often taught me to read or listen more carefully. This time your exchange may have been deleted, but keep your eyes open and remember that people who subscribe to the comments will probably still see your comment since WP automatically sends updates and those don’t get deleted.

      • Thanks for adding that, Amelie. I would hope others could see the validity of my point even if she didn’t. I haven’t had to delete or block a commenter yet, but I would only do that if they were insultingly offensive or repetitive with an offensive point they’ve already made. I’m not sure where that line is because no one’s crossed it here yet.

        I’ve had that experience, too, where I didn’t see the exact nature of someone’s post. I’ve been embarrassed a couple of times by missing a point I didn’t actually agree with. I try to read more carefully, too.

    • I don’t think it was a racist story in that she meant it to be. I think it was inadvertently clumsy. I’ve been struggling with putting up a link to it (because the writer seems somehow fragile, brittle) and I don’t want the link to just pop up in her comment feed. I’ve only just now realized that I can put the title of it at the end of my post and then interested readers can search it. I’ll give all that more thought after I answer my comments.

      I hear you about body language and tone of voice. We all seem to need more of that lately. I wonder about how misunderstandings were handled in the days when the written word meant everything if communicating was to be done over long distances. Why is it harder now?

      I’ve written a few pieces (fiction as well as articles) concerning autism. I want to hear if I offend anyone, because their point of view may be one I would never expect. If I think I did consider their viewpoint when when writing, I would want to explain how to them, in the hopes they’d understand. I would’ve preferred that this writer made it clear that she wasn’t interested in points of view that didn’t agree with hers. Then I wouldn’t have opened myself up to her rudeness. I might have written about her work anyway, but my article would’ve had a different focus.

      • Sparks – I just read her piece and her long comment. Whoa. First of all I thought the whole piece was somewhat offensive. I won’t get into why, but that’s how I percieved it. Secondly, and more to the point, that long comment of hers was disturbing. She jumped from sounding overly grateful to completely out of control angry. It reminded me of someone having a bipolar episode. Sorry to sound so judgemental, but if you read that comment, something is clearly wrong.

      • I was confused for a while about my reaction because of the praise she received and the fact that she won the contest she wrote the story for.

        As to the disturbing nature of her long comment, that’s why I wrote the part about how there could be conditions I’m unaware of. I don’t think you sound judgemental. I sometimes pick up on things, but lately I’ve been trying not to jump to conclusions because right or wrong, it isn’t often appreciated. I never want to minimize the problems of mental illness, but I don’t think it minimizes it to notice. It’s so hard for anyone dealing with it to be treated fairly in our society.

        In this situation, I made a conscious effort to asssume nothing about her mental health, and to concentrate on my own point of view. I actually feel some guilt about that. But should I? Is there a line a caring person should walk? Where is it? Should I ignore something that would surely offend more people than me even though well-meaning people find a lot of merit in it? I’ve got a lot of questions. I wish I had a panel of experts to help me find answers.

  6. I actually read/commented on that post (it’s weird how the internet can sometimes seem so small) – I thought she did a great job with the voice (I love a good accent). I had to do a bit of searching to go back and read that (holy cow, long!) comment about not commenting on everything (followed by replying to every comment, sometimes in mini conversations). It’s sad that your comment isn’t still up, and riciulous that she took it down while at the same time saying, “i dont’ care what you all say, and I don’t respond to everything”. I hadn’t thought of the issue of the black woman being able to point out klansmen, and how horrible that kind of nearness would be… and how dangerous knowing (and acknowledging that kind of knowing) who is in the KKK could be. There’s definitely still racism where I live, but it isn’t nearly as blatant and out in the open as those people were. Having feedback about the unrealistic nature of even a gossipy woman talking to a friend bringing up anything about the kkk is something I think would be appreciated. It’s unfortunate that someone can react so negatively to feedback that doesn’t fan her ego.

    • Thanks for that understanding, Lexy. What you say about her story points out why feedback from a black woman (from many black women) could have been valuable to her as a writer interested in the subject she wrote about. It gets back to Averil’s and Julie’s points about the importance of research to a writer when they tackle different cultures. Writing isn’t an easy job.

  7. Re, she obviously can’t, or won’t, cogently discuss whatever she wrote, and the nerve of you to question her about it harummphh. anyway, your “rant” is well taken. don’t write it, or say it, if you’re going to run away from someone wishing to discuss what you wrote or said…or conversely: you can say it, you can write it, and i can say or write that your way of dealing with questions regarding same is cowardly – which she appears to be, and which thesis you have so eloquently put forth here. continue…

  8. Ran out of reply boxes, and sorry to multiple comment. Don’t normally do so.

    But as to your question; my friend and I were discussing someone in our “community” who has gone a bit off the edge. She has been posting, we think, drunk and being really over the top in comments to others. My friend put it this way: when you see someone (metaphorically) running down the street, screaming and ripping off their clothes, just lock the door and wait for the police to come. Sure, you did the right thing in speaking out against what looks to be an inappropriate post. But her world is a bit too twisted to waste your time on, in my opinion.

  9. Is she serious?! Heck, I was offended! I’m even more offended by her non-response; it was quite a waste of all those words which said absolutely nothing. I got the BLEEP-BLIPPETY-BLEEP part, though. 🙂 I suppose that required a whole lot of creativity, perhaps more so than actually researching and/or carefully crafting dialect in a non-offensive, and more accurate manner? Responding to your comment, which was long gone before I got there apparently, would have required too much self-discovery, I suppose.

    I don’t get flooded with comments on my blog, however, I so do appreciate it when my readers take the time to actually read the content, then comment as they are moved, whether we are in agreement or not. In listening and responding, I just might learn something about myself and become a better writer in the process!

    • I’m grateful to hear your opinion on her story, Ms. Empress. I was more offended by her non-response, too. I’ve had that feeling before. Anyway, I love your last paragraph. I feel that way about comments, too. Thanks for adding yours to this discussion.

  10. You were brave enough to say what you needed to say to this woman, and that’s what counts. If you can take some peace away because of that, it’s worth it. How she chooses to react (or possibly turn a blind eye to things she doesn’t want to hear) will flavor her writing for the rest of her life. How will she grow as a writer if she can’t take feedback that may not be glowing? Constructive criticism is what forces me to stretch. I know we can’t make all people happy, but if something I wrote offended someone I’d want to know why and I’d want to talk to that person about it. I might not agree with them, but I’d still want to talk, and to do so respectfully. I think you did your part so you can sleep nights. What she chooses to do with that is out of your hands and not deserving of your time. Have to say I’m not sure I even want to read her short story because just the title doesn’t sit well.

    • Thanks, Lisa. Out of my hands, yes. I think writing about my feelings and being able to discuss the incident here helps me to learn from it, and let it go. I appreciate you sharing your take on this.

  11. I haven’t read the story so can’t comment specifically. However, I do agree that you have the right to express your point of view a) from your perspective of being a black person if the story is written by a white person from a black person’s point of view and b) if a post invites comments then it’s an invitation, right? From what I’ve gleaned from reading your blog,Ré, you seem to me to be a thoughtful, intelligent person who, if you have an opinion, it’s not generally going to come as an uncontrollable rant. Therefore, I would have expected some intelligent interaction to take place and an acknolwedgement of the points you raise from your own specific perspective.
    In the end some people are “touchy” and precious about their creations. I guess that’s the variability in all of us. And that’s the wider point you make. Are we afraid of disagreement of the things we hold precious be they opinions, creations, possessions ? I suspect it’s down to self-esteem. If someone – if you – were to have a negative view of anything I wrote then I’d expect you to say it – but it’s not a game changer. I’d appreciate your view and if I’m willing to listen and learn I’d take it on board- cogitate, digest, keep or discard. But at least that would be showing it some respect.

    And so my last point is a little lighter – having read all your post and then for you to write ” If it’s an aversion to disagreement, well WTF..” made me smile, anyway. Power and peace to you, lady.

    • Thanks, Al. I was beginning to wonder if my closing thoughts on disagreement were mostly going unnoticed. I’m all about learning through discussion. If someone else isn’t, they shouldn’t ask me what I think. Glad I made you smile.

  12. Re, I have to disagree with both you and Scriptor on some aspects of this one. It was very wrong of her to remove your comments, and I didn’t realize she had done that until today. It seems obvious that she is an extremely defensive person, especially when it comes to her “babies”–her writings. That’s no excuse to justify completely removing your comments. Before I knew that she did that, I got a chuckle out of how much she went on and on about not wanting to address every comment. I have always found it odd–her stories and poems are very opinionated and vivid, yet her comment replies have always read as, well, almost “spammish” in nature. She would, for instance, typically type a very generic comment reply basically saying “thank you for reading my blog”, then repeat it, sometimes almost with the same wording. Her incredibly long rant had a lot of repetition also. I think the long comments to her from Jester Queen and others, followed I believe by yours, apparently were more than she wanted to deal with replying to (well, that was part of it anyway). If she didn’t want to really address your issues, she could certainly have just said that she respected your opinion but stood by her story, or something.
    Unfortunately, since your main comment is gone, I can’t recall or reread all of it, but I believe you had issues with the dialect? and I know you didn’t think a black woman could so casually brush past a Klansman. But, don’t you think that that was part of the whole nature of the evil of the Klan, that they were just ordinary people that you would brush past during the day? He, as a Klansman, would no more intend to specifically do her harm than he would any other black person he would encounter in a normal day. I imagine the routine passing by, brushing past, or any other of what passed for interaction between blacks and whites in those days, during daylight normal daily life, was just how life was. Broken, wrong, with a false sense of superiority by most whites, but still, “routine” during the day. If I had an issue with anything regarding that, I would have a problem with the (clearly black, clearly a gossip, clearly someone who didn’t seem to care what people thought of her opinions about people) protagonist’s lumping together of Klansmen with others who she considered to be people who thought highly of themselves, but were actually buffoons. If, in some magic way, all the evil and crime and harassment done by the Klan could be removed, then yes, they were a bunch of redneck buffoon morons playing dressup. But of course their actions went beyond the sin of philandering, way beyond, into the realm of organized evil.

    Personally, I don’t react well to criticism of my writings, even though I’ve asked for it. When you and others critiqued a story I wrote about an axe-murderer wife, there was praise mixed in with suggestions for improvement. With Scriptor’s story, you apparently had such a strong negative reaction to it that (I don’t recall) you having much of anything praising to say about it. I don’t suggest that you kiss people’s butts with your comments, but that would stick in a person’s craw, so to speak. However, that doesn’t excuse her deletion of your comments. The only time I deleted a comment was when I got lazy about posting, posted a joke I had heard and liked, then some (to put it delicately) psycho moron, gun nut, wack job, goonball, truly frightening weirdo took issue with part of the joke and said some truly frightening things about different groups of people. I deleted that comment and the whole post, since it wasn’t really “my work” anyway, and thus no big deal. I can’t imagine deleting a comment from a sane-seeming person who just took offense with my story. That was wrong of her.
    I didn’t mind her use of dialect though. How accurate it was, I don’t know, but it sounded, to me, similar to Southern black dialect of the 1950s or ’60s as it has been commonly portrayed in TV, books, or movies, and wasn’t itself patently offensive. The real sucky part: You are both immensely talented writers, I believe, and would probably agree on a lot of world issues. For pure writing ability, I would put your “A Light in Disguise, A Christmas Story” from last December, as well as Scriptor’s “Thanksgiving: A Story”, from last November, in any short story anthology; they are both excellent. I am sorry you disagreed so heartily, and I find it ridiculous that she censored you.
    I know this got way too long, but I didn’t have any other way of saying it. I truly think if you had read some other stuff of hers, or if she read anything of yours, that you would enjoy each other’s writings. But, yeah, the lady’s got issues.

    • TTD, thank you for reading this post and leaving your views.

      When I reached the end of your comment and read what you said about Scriptor’s Thanksgiving story, I went over to her blog and read it. I’m not a writing teacher, just a writer who is serious about my work and the learning that informs it. I won’t go into the specifics of what I thought about that story, but I will say that I believe she has an enormous amount of raw writing talent. That may be what you and others are responding to. I think if she could be open to the fact that there is vast room for improvement within her writing, she would do herself quite a favor. The things about her Thanksgiving story that hurt me to read (none of them having to do with language or plot specifics, only with a very certain, glaring clumsiness of execution) makes me wonder if something specific about her is hindering her progress as a writer.

      To explain about the Ku Klux Klan (and dangerous bigots in general) for you and others who don’t understand: especially in the past that Scriptor’s story seems to take place in, a black person could be tortured and killed just for “brushing against” a white person. At the time of the touching, accidental or not, the black person may only have been pushed and yelled at to remind them of their ‘place’, but later on they could have been sought out somewhere and made to suffer their real punishment. Sure, this may not have always been taken to the point of extreme beatings, arson, rape or murder, but I am a black woman with memories and family stories that have been handed down. I’m very fair-minded, and I can be sensitive to strange portrayals of my people. Because of what we’ve been through, I think that’s understandable. I don’t think it should be unexpected that any group of people with a difficult history would want it written about in a truthful and purposeful way.

      Hearing a black perspective on a story one wants to write from a black perspective, can help one avoid the hollowness of false storytelling. Research in general, is a writer’s best friend; both emotional and factual research. A writer’s aim should always be the truth in a situation or a feeling. That’s why we need to keep listening. We need to learn as much as we can about the many ways people feel and react to each other and to life in general.

      In the story I left Scriptor the comment about, the thick dialect she gave her character didn’t illuminate anything. Besides that and the detail I already explained, it isn’t clear what she wants to communicate with her story. I’m also unclear on why Scriptor thinks a black woman would use the word “us” (including herself) after listing the faults of the white people she was describing. That’s just illogical. If one chooses to write something provocative about another race, I would hope they’d have a purpose in mind. I don’t actually think she thought about how her story might be perceived. And if the point is to provoke (which it could very well be), I think an artist should be honest about merely trying to rankle nerves.

      And now I want to be done with her writing. Scriptor doesn’t want a dialog with other writers about this work we do, or with people who disagree with the veracity of hers. Of course, that choice is hers.

      About my attempts at critique (which I think is different from criticism) I do try to politely give my honest reactions to stories I read, because that’s what I want from my readers. Critique is hard for me to hear, too, but I learn a lot from things my readers perceive negatively. I may not agree, but I still learn a lot about the ways people “hear” and how I’m writing that gets in the way of them “hearing” what I’m trying to say.

      I appreciate your support about her deleting my comments. Thanks.

      • Well, I stand corrected on several things, and nicely and politely done also, without a bunch of bleepity bleeps and ranting and raving like I’ve heard, oh somewhere, lately. A person thinks they knows, from news reports, books, magazines and some movies or tv shows, how things were in the awful old days in the South, but obviously I for one didn’t know the extent of it. I appreciate the info and am amazed and appalled at the extent of it. I would like to think that sheriffs and businessmen being Klansmen is a thing of the past, but who knows? Yuck. I am truly sorry for what you and others have, or had, to go through.

        Pretty sure you’re right about her not wanting any dialogue. Anyway, I think I’ve put in about 5 cents worth instead of 2 cents worth, and want to close with a comment about something that’s been almost overlooked in all the comments: What a great opening sentence you wrote for your blogpost.
        Later.

  13. Ré, feel free to delete the whole thing if you want. In fact, I’d like it if you did. It’s more than a bit angry (though I still stand by my words, if the not intensity of emotion), and meant more for your eyes than anyone else’s. Sorry for the offensive words, they’re not part of my usual vocabulary! 🙂

    • I went back and took it down as you asked. But there was a lot in it that I liked. I’ve been muting the intensity of my reaction ever since I read Scriptor’s story, so I appreciated the intensity of yours. If you decide you’d like it back up, perhaps with a cut or two, just let me know.

  14. If you haven’t already seen this morning’s post on Bluebird.com, it speaks so well to what you’re feeling, Sparks, about this matter and your relationship with the writer who deleted your comment. It was SOOOOO good, I had to re-post it this morning. Hope you have a good day.

  15. I read every one of these here comments and replies as if they mattered more than anything else that’s happening in the world right now, right this very minute, and you know what, when I got to the end of the carefully written arguments, niceties etc. etc. I realise beyond a shadow of doubt that it is important to say what you think and feel even if you are going to piss someone off for saying it. And, and it’s a huge “and”, Scriptor lady who wrote the story can write her stories any which way she chooses – Re knows that, I know that, everyone knows that – even if her writing isn’t very good (in my opinion) and she doesn’t take helpful criticism very well or she’s a feisty cow or whatever. I’m a bastard, sometimes, I bet whoever’s reading this is also a complete numbnuts occasionally, it doesn’t make us bad, evil or stupid does it? No, just human.

    Personally, I rather like being human and I rather like others being human too.

    Re, I love you, whatever you want to say to whoever you like is fine by me. Frankly, I wish more people would be candid to me about my writing, painting, poetry etc. I always have the feeling people are being kind because they don’t want to offend or hurt me. Nice, but not really helpful.

    RRx

I love it when you talk to me ...

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