So there I was, trawling through Facebook, window shopping a few online groups, testing out the waters to see which would group suit me and my little idiosyncrasies. All of a sudden I came across this particular group that gave me heaps of positive vibes. I consider it a Luxury to be amongst like-minded souls. So I was glad I found this one. After going through the hoops of requesting and gaining approval from moderator, I was in.
To show that I meant to be an active member and not just a lurker, I decided to introduce myself. I wrote a post explaining who I was, what I do, what my hopes were regarding fitting into this particular group etc. All good.
A few of the other members were sociable enough to respond to my post with a Hi, or a Welcome. There was this one guy (I am assuming it was a guy. In cyber world, one never know.) who went to extreme lengths to snub me and my effort to fit in with a derogatory comment. In his opinion, I lack self esteem and dignity. Why else would I introduce myself as a writer? Does that define the sum total of me as a person? A writer? He also said that the particular group was for self-respecting members and not some useless ‘writer’ who was planning to utilise their esteemed group as a venue for self promotion.
Pop…If I ever had an ego balloon, it was that moment when it burst.
With a few choice words that I do not care to repeat here, I retaliated, and quit the group. If there was a door, I would have slammed it. There is nothing like a good door slamming to make your point. I was hurt, upset, and quite taken back by the hostility from this stranger. But then I started to think. Is there a grain of truth in his words? Do I lack self esteem? Am I hiding my insecurities and my inhibitions behind the writer’s cape? Am I projecting myself as a writer because…well…I am a loser in other avenues of my life? Is that what’s happening here?
(I know….this was quite deep stuff…especially for a person like me.)
But then I took a good look at the three books I’ve published. And the three others currently in my WIP folder. The light bulb moment came to me when I started to reread some of the particularly difficult scenes I had crafted. And then I thought-Damn, I wrote that.
I freaking wrote that.
In that moment I realised something. I am not ashamed to be known as a writer. I should never be. Its a gift. Not many are blessed with the skill to connect a few random words and paint a beautiful picture in a reader’s mind.
And why should a writer be ashamed of their work? If that were the case, Shakespeare and Shelley and J.K. Rowling wouldn’t have ever shown their works of art to public. Their works wouldn’t transcend time, life and culture. They would have written in the privacy of their homes and buried or burnt their work so it would go unnoticed.
I am not saying I am by any means eligible to be compared with literary geniuses in the field. But I do believe that as a writer, I should be proud of the work I produce.
Yes, a writer’s imagination has a life of its own. Our conversations with the voices in our head make us super weird company. We lurk around bookstores like a junkie looking for a next hit. A writer may think pyjamas are perfectly acceptable work wear. But you know what? A writer is also capable of building worlds, destroying them, recreating them. He or she can blur the lines between truth and lies with a few words. A good writer can break a reader’s heart, heal, and break it all over again.
So yes, the incident, while it hurt me and my ego on a superficial level, it also taught me a valuable lesson. I should be proud of what I do and continue being proud of my accomplishments. No matter how trivial they may appear to the world.
(For those of who bit the bullet and read this post to the very end, sorry it sounded like a rant.)