Wow! The Internet can be a rough place
When I got the idea that I wanted to write for Internet sites, I had no idea what was out there. I mean, yeah I knew about the identity theft and porn. Stuff like that. I knew there were crazies. But I didn’t anticipate the hostility.
I guess my basic outlook on life is one of hoping for the best. I look for the best in people. I smile at people I don’t know and perform the occasional random act of kindness that the bumper stickers preach. One time I was brushing the snow off my car in the parking lot of a hotel where we had spent the night. I then did five or six other cars just for giggles. On another occasion an elderly couple was in front of me in line at the supermarket. The gentleman was looking longingly at the grapes in my basket. He then tapped his wife on the shoulder and gestured at the grapes, whispering in her ear. She gave him a stern look that was most clearly a “NO”. Wistful, he continued putting the groceries on the belt. When they took their bags and headed toward the door, I grabbed my grapes (after they were rung up of course) and gave them to the man. He looked at me quizzically and then showed his wife, whose back had been turned. She looked at me, an expression of surprise on her face. She came over, hugged me and said “God bless you.” Although I don’t always achieve it, it is how I try to live my life.
So when I came up with the idea to be a writer, I had no idea what was in store. At first my only readers were people who already knew and loved me. Of course they were an encouraging crowd. Duh. When I started to branch out and post links to my work on other websites, I began to run into animosity. OK, I inadvertently broke the rules on one website. In my ignorance and over-excited I posted too many articles at once. In about five minutes some guy wrote a comment that felt as if he was landing on me like a sumo wrestler. I was called “spammer scum” and accused of “using their internet community” for my own selfish gain. It was pretty shocking. What had I ever done to that guy? And for my previous blog entry about my 7-year-old, I was informed “This anecdote is obviously propaganda intended to quell our disquiet about the authoritarian nanny state we have come to live in.” Wow.
So I guess one thing I have to learn (again) is to have a thicker skin. I suppose that if I am going to be a writer I have to accept the fact that it will not always be a delightful ongoing bake sale. Some people will like my stuff, and some people won’t. There will be those who will go so far as to make personal attacks. For a moment I was so discouraged that I thought about ending my ever so brief writing career. But then I decided I am tougher than that. Or at least I will be. So was the decision to start writing a good one? I’m not sure but…
It seemed like a good idea at the time.