Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Internet Crazies

This is probably pointing out the obvious, but there are a lot of crazy people on the Internet. I like the Internet. I enjoy interacting with people all over the world and having an ever growing pool of friends in different countries. The downside to forums, Facebook, Twitter and whatever else you opt to indulge in, is that you run the risk of meeting people who can ruin the whole experience for you.

Over the weekend, I found myself knee deep in people's issues, wading through their snap judgements and ignorance. I know I'm a bit of a loud mouth, but I've never considered myself to be rude or narrow-minded. If someone presents their opinion to me, I don't dash it on the jagged rocks of my own feelings and emotions. And I value that everyone doesn't always see eye-to-eye. I like that. It means we aren't robots.

I feel I am a reasonable person. I venture forth each day with the intention of giving everyone respect and acceptance. That said, I can get fairly feisty when defending myself or someone I know. Although, unlike others, hurling insults and uttering threats just isn't my style. I'm more of a sarcastic, barbed comment kind of gal.

I know, I know. If you opt to poke a piece of shit don't be surprised when you get poop on your finger. I am aware of the consequences in engaging in a virtual Tête à tête with people, as we all do. Unlike a lot of other people, I remain, for the most part, unemotionally involved in these situations. For one, these people don't know me, no matter how much they think they do. And secondly, when they attack people in this fashion it really shows a lot more about their own character than about mine.

I'm not saying I never have a problem with it. As most of you know, I post my vlogs on Friday. They are fun for me to do and I know a few other people enjoy them, and so, I've kept at it. I get that some people might not like what I have to say, especially with the Sled Dog one and the Beauty Pageant tangent I got on, but those are the breaks. And people can say whatever they like about me. I don't think I am talented or full of myself, I think I'm a right nerd who is just messing around for shits and giggles.

But riddle me this. Why on Earth would someone attack my dad? My last vlog was thanking him for the support he has been giving me as of late. It's a nice thing, you know, thanking those people in your life that you appreciate. So it really is confounding when someone has a problem with it. It makes you sit back and go, "Really? No, really?" It doesn't make sense, now does it. I suppose if I put on my therapist hat I would chalk their anger up to jealousy and daddy issues that run deeper than any of us can even imagine.

Everyone knows a vlog is almost exactly like a blog. You don't have to watch it. You can ignore it. So why do people opt to project their hatred onto the world? I mean, it can't be healthy. I was honestly worried at one point over whether a few of these people were actually capable of existing in the world without padded walls and a white jacket, if you know what I mean.

The thing is, unlike blogging, vlogging makes things a lot more personal.

Your face is out there. And people have the option of commenting on it. It isn't like Facebook where most of my 200 friends already knew what I look like, strangers can take a look. And not only can they take a look, but they can leave comments, sometimes even anonymous comments. Oh, and they do. People love to be cloaked in a blanket of anonymity. Of course, the crazies have an excuse for everything. If they tear into your blog, they wonder why you can't take feedback. If they rip how you look apart, you're way to sensitive. And on and on, the excuses never end. They always have a way to reason away their poor behavior.

To be honest, this sort of thing dumbfounds me. What would possess someone, on the other side of the country, to comment on someone who they have never met and try to bring them down a peg? Why? I don't actually have an answer for that. It stumps me. Probably because it's something I would never do. I always laugh when someone attacks me physically or starts calling me names, it really signifies to me that they aren't very creative and can't come up with any better verbal sparing. On top of that, when people react in this manner over a discussion, it amuses me to no end, because they are incapable of articulating their point and defending it in a calm and collected way.

That doesn't mean it doesn't get annoying. Over the weekend, I had four interactions with the crazies on the Internet. To the point where I took down my vlog and censored the address that was showing on the envelope. That's sad. Isn't it? That I actually thought to myself, Fuck, I don't want these people having my address. Who in their right mind would want to appear that unstable? And when they wake up in the morning, are they not mortified they acted in that fashion?

My shit stinks. That's the truth. I egg people on, I say things I know will stoke the fire instead of smothering it, and sometimes I even say things I later regret. I am flawed and fucked up at times. Because, after all, I am only human. People take what I say too seriously. I joke far too often. And I play off serious things to the point where it is probably a bit dangerous.

There are times when I have fought tooth and nail over something. I can count three people on my fingers who I do not like and would not want to meet in real life. Three, out of hundres of thousands of people I've interacted with over the internets. THREE. I should learn when to shut up and leave things be, but I figure, they might as well be taking a round out of me instead of someone else, someone who might take it a lot more personally than I do. People are merciless. I see comments on little kids videos on the internet, and people are just mean. I don't have that mean bone in my body. And I don't understand how other people think it's their right to say whatever drivel comes to mind.

For the most part, I know how to conduct myself with decent decorum on a forum, facebook or twitter. I don't hate anyone and cannot believe people would just toss that word around. I've never torn into someones physical appearance or threatened them. And I personally think attacking someones creative endeavours is one of the most cruel things you can do. So why do some people have common sense and others don't?

People think they can say whatever they want on the Internet and there are no repercussions. What they don't realize is that the repercussions are things they can't even see. Losing friends, people losing respect for you, people not taking your opinions into consideration and people, some you don't even know, thinking you're bonkers. I mean, I know I can be eccentric and odd, but if people actually thought I was nutso, that would cause me concern.

I suppose the intention of this blog is to say:

The crazies can be really annoying.

Even though you know it shouldn't bother you, sometimes it does.

And be careful what you put out there.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I'm All Heart

Just like Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character said in Jerry Maguire, I'm all heart, Mother Fucker! I love the love. Sure it's icky and creepy and weird at times, but for the most part, there's nothing better than feeling adored. In order to bring my dedicated watchers a super star awesome Valentine's Day, I have thrown together a video of tips that will help them through this ever-so exciting day.

Feel the love. Love the love. Subscribe to my vlog. Comment. Love love love.

Speaking of Jerry Maguire, remember the cute (sort of really annoying) kid in it? He's like 18 now. Here's a picture:

I feel kinda dirty looking at it. I mean, he needs to do up those buttons.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dirty, Stinkin', Animal Lovin' Hippy!

There are few things that enrage me. Ignorance is number one.

Yesterday, a guy I've talked to all but a handful of times popped up on my Facebook chat. It was the usual pleasantries, the ones I so hate to exchange, and then I was walloped up the head with a comment that made me angry. He so casually mentioned that my eco-friendly subject matter on my vlog makes him want to pull his teeth out. As does my accent.

Well, the accent is one thing. I can't change it. I'm not going to start talking with an Irish or English accent just because a couple can't stand the way I say 'about' or how I tack 'eh?' onto the end of random sentences.

But then I got to thinking about all my Eco-Friendly subject matter. And really, asides from mentioning I was vegan like twice and maybe mentioning that we should try to clean up the Earth a bit. I haven't really focused on anything related to the environment. For the most part, I've kept it light and airy. Easy, breezy and beautiful...and yet, I am not a cover girl.

Then, something else dawned on me. It delivered a big ole WTF? moment.

For some reason, I felt a little dirty about being an eco-friendly female. Why is that?

And this isn't the first time it's happened. I often get called a modern day hippy, which also gets me going. At first I thought I was offended by being called these things. But after looking at the whole picture, I realized I am a eco-friendly modern day hippy, so why should I be irate. Then I though maybe it was my hatred for labels. I am not defined by my decision to not eat meat or recycle or support women's rights, and so I do not call myself a vegan environmental feminist. In the end, that was a long shot...and so off base. The anger didn't come from the label or the name calling, it came from the attitudes of the people.

It came from the inflection of tone, the lift of their lip into a sneer, the roll of their eyes. It came from the fact that they automatically dislike those qualities. It came from the fact that, in their eyes, these things are annoying, pathetic and an inconvenience.

It came from their ignorance.

They think I'm going to sit them down and lecture them about all the reasons they shouldn't eat meat or what their children are going to have deal with in 2050. I have better things to do with my time.

They think I hold myself higher than everyone else because I don't eat dairy or because I shop second hand. Those things have nothing to do with why I hold myself higher! ;-)

They think I love animals more than them and want to seclude myself in a forest without all their stupidity. Well, that's true.

To be honest, I've only ever answered questions people have. I don't think I've ever lectured anyone about anything. Except good music vs bad music. I keep to myself. I live my life the way I want to live it, and I don't force myself on others.

But when did being a hippy become a bad thing?

Oh, those stupid hippies who want to live in a world without unnecessary suffering, who don't want war, who want everyone to get along and have a love-in. DAMN THEM!


If you ask me, this world could use a few more hippies.

And then I posted a vlog about Animal Rights and being a decent person because I'm a dirty, stinkin', animal lovin' hippy!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sensitive Writer Syndrome

The Sensitive Writer Syndrome is a common, and complex, disorder. While there are writers who claim they don't get 'upset' or 'take to heart' the critiques they receive, I sometimes have to wonder how honest they are being with themselves.

Not too long ago, I claimed to be one of these people. But over the last couple of months, I've really noticed how easily swayed I am by others views. Not consciously, of course. But all it take is a passing remark by someone to plant the seed of doubt.

And, as we all know, doubt can be a rather savage creature.

Second guessing myself and my writing because of other people is new to me. That's not to say I never questioned it or put to the side something I wasn't sure on. No, it's just saying I never did it because of what someone else might have said.

Oh dear. This is making me sound like a spineless jellyfish without a thick skin. That is not the case. Whenever you put yourself out in public whether that be through blog, vlog, twitter, facebook, Authonomy, Write On, or SlushPile Reader, you open yourself up for criticism. Everyone who's been along for my journey knows I've received plenty of criticism. And a lot of it does roll of my back, but sometimes, certain things stick.

Usually, it's the certain things said by certain people.

Up until the last year and a half, I didn't have an audience. It took awhile to adjust to it. After over 700 comments on Seeking Eleanor on Authonomy, I understood my writing isn't for everyone. Someone will always hate it. And you cannot please everyone. These are wonderful things to come to terms with, because once you do you can relax a little and just shrug it off.

I think I've adapted rather well.

Here's the tough part. No matter what sort of writer you are, whether you only plan on writing one book or you have three completed and working on your forth, it's personal. It is your idea, your time, your energy, and, in some cases, your blood, sweat and tears. It's hard not to be sensitive about it. And while we may grin and bear it, there are times that it really gets us down. And that's when the SWS comes into play.

Sensitive Writer Syndrome can strike at the most inopportune times. It could be on the third round of edits or the thirty-sixth 'not for me' rejection. It might do a sneaky ninja attack in the middle of the night and prevent you from sleeping. Hell, it might even show up when you're sitting on the toilet really regretting eating that second extra-spicy bean burrito from the dive Mexican place around the corner. The tricky part of this affliction is one never knows how long it will stay for, how debilitating it may be, or when it will go away. Sometimes it never goes away.

The key for all writers in regards to SWS is to understand your own version of it. Like a compliment, a complaint will render different actions from the person receiving it. All sorts of things come into play. Who said it? How they said it? When they said it? How detailed they are?

For example, while Jackie O'Mackie, the writer of Gothic literature, doesn't care if her friend Betsy Boom rips her work apart, she becomes an emotional basket case if her own mother says anything negative about it. And, quiet the opposite, Peter BoBeater, a writer with a penchant for creating silly little children's books, hates it when his wife Lena mentions his horrible punctuation, but is perfectly happy with his own mother's pedantic ways.

See how it can differ from person to person.

While I did make those examples up, shocking I know, I can only shed light for you on my own version of SWS, because it is rather unique.

Once my work is in completed form, the ending finished and at the stage where I start my edits, I am open to anything anyone says to me. This is not where my Sensitive Writer Syndrome comes into play. No, mine exists before the novel has been completed.

Up until this last year and a half, I didn't have an audience. I didn't have people who showed an interest in reading my work, least of all while I was actually in the middle of writing it. But now, I have people clamouring (that's so the wrong word) to read my work. They ask me to post snippets. They question what I am working on. And they seem excited about the idea of reading it.

This is where my back goes up now.

When I am in the middle of crafting something, I think that idea is amazing. It's all I am focused on. I eat breathe and sleep it. It consumes me. Literally, devouring me until I get it all out and can get back to my life. And so, when someone shows interest in reading what I have started I get a little thrill. But what accompanies this thrill is my SWS.

If I opt to let someone read my work at this stage I run the risk of being derailed.

This is something I know.

Depending on the reaction I get back, I could completely give up on the story. It could be something little, like the person suggesting I write it from a different POV. It could be something big, like someone saying they didn't like it and it had no substance. It could be something ridiculous, like someone not being as excited as I think they should be. And it could be something hurtful, like someone saying it's cliched and expected.

I know these are just their opinions. For the most part, I don't even want to take them into consideration! Especially when I know they are unprecedented and foolish. I mean, they are on a piece of work that isn't done! How could it be cliched and expected, they don't even know what's to come! And yet, still they bother. They plant that pea-sized seed of doubt, and that pea feels like a mountain when I sleep on it at night.

I love feedback on my work in progress. Wait...that's not clear enough. I love helpful feedback on my work in progress. Wait...that's not enough either. My Sensitive Writer Syndrome loves helpful and constructive feedback on my work in progress.

It's really easy for me to be derailed when I am in the middle of writing a novel. That's a unique characteristic to my disorder. I think I am a better writer for recognizing the traits of my special brand of SWS. And I think others would be better off knowing the nature of their own beasts, because there are things we can do to curb it.

We could avoid the things that flare our SWS up...because, like Herpes, it's never going to fully go away. Or we can face it. To be honest, I'm not going to stop letting people read my material, even though that's exactly what my urge is to do. What I am going to do? Cultivate a smaller group of people whose opinions I value. Try not to take to heart the comments I receive from the peanut gallery. And try with all my might to finish the things I start, and not allow myself to be derailed.