I hate that someone said something awful and I let that make me angry.
And I wouldn’t be doing this here, in this forum, had it not had a direct impact on my writing.
I’m working on a new book. Typically I hire an editor on the back end. I thought it might be interesting to get feedback at the start and compare the two processes.
A woman wrote a book on writing. I read it. I hired that woman for two sessions. I send pages, she’s gives feedback. First session went pretty well. She seemed to have a sense of humor. She talked fast and a lot … but I was paying for her input and I managed to get a few questions in. I knew she bounced between California and New York and I admit, it flashed through my mind that she was probably a liberal, but it flashed right back out because we were talking about writing, not politics.
We were to have our second session in a few days. I woke yesterday to an email from her titled “refund.”
Apparently, she saw something I said on Facebook (why she was looking my posts, I have no idea) and she didn’t like it. She decided it was impossible for us to work together, hence the refund.
I can think of about 5,000 ways she could have handled this better. Let me throw this one out:
I’m sorry to have to do this, but I stumbled across one of your posts on Facebook. We all have a right to our opinion, but this left me feeling uncomfortable and so I think it would be hard for us to continue our working relationship. I hope you understand. I have issued you a refund for the remaining session.
I would have been disappointed. I would have thought her unprofessional, but I would have gotten over it. It would have been fine. It’s her company. She can do what she wants. If a baker is free to decline to make a cake on religious grounds, she can decline to read my pages on … whatever grounds these are.
But that’s not what she choose to do.
She started with an emotional diatribe about her granddaughter and how she was the same age as the crying child in a photograph from the border. She went on and on as if she were building the moral hill from which she was going to slay me.
Even that, I probably could have taken. But she wasn’t finished.
She needed to tell me I was a different “species” from her, and that she had no interest in trying to convince me of something I wasn’t “wired to feel”.
So this woman, that doesn’t know me … knows nothing about my life or opinions or how I came to hold them, decided she would sit in judgment and assume what I was capable of feeling.
Those of you who know me, know I could spend the day watching dog rescue videos and crying. I just rescued a feral cat with a wonky leg, and I’ve sponsored kids from the Philippines or Honduras since I was an 18-year old without a pot to piss in.
You probably also know I’m a conservative … Republican by default, but a live-and-let-live girl when it comes to social issues.
No, this woman doesn’t know me. But she choose to judge me based on politics.
This is what it’s like now.
“You can’t care about children unless you think like I think.”
“You can’t care about women, or race, or poverty, or anything, unless you think like I think.”
“And if you don’t think like I think, it’s perfectly acceptable for me to call you names.”
If you care about children, and the law, and the Constitution, it puts you in a quandary. I find it odd that some of the people screaming the loudest for diversity, can’t abide diversity of thought. Some of the people yelling for compassion and understanding seem incapable of exhibiting those traits themselves.
I’m sure this country had it’s share of problems in the early 1900s with the European immigrant influx. We’ve had economic and diplomatic issues since this country began, but I don’t know that we’ve ever been at each other’s throats like we are now.
It’s a sad state of affairs. And I don’t consider myself blameless. I’m sure I’ve upset some folks like she upset me. And for that I apologize and I can only try to do better and keep the discourse civil.
There’s a chance my path will cross with this person in the future. The writing community, while large, is tight. I will be … civil. But I will always be disappointed in her.
Her book made a nice trash can liner.