I thought that in light of the recent events surrounding the banning - or removal - of several of Dr. Seuss' books from publication - that it would be an interesting bouncing off point for a period of time during my writing life in which I became crippled with overwhelming fear of what I can only describe as "The Mob".
I used to be rather more active on social media platforms. I enjoyed the communities I had found for myself. I can still recall the very early days of the very early art sites I used to upload my art on, one of my favourites being Elfwood. I then discovered DeviantArt - and back then, it wasn't some giant, corporate money spinning website, it felt like home. It nurtured my overwhelming love for art, and I discovered people there who were more than willing to help me grow. It was small, comfortable, and caring.
But the years crept on and things changed.
What was once small, isolated online communities became large and infected with an invasion of judgemental tendencies.
I just wanted to make art, create worlds, write stories.
I wanted to create enjoyment for people. But apparently I was not allowed to do this - there were rules now - who made these rules? The Mob - and these rules changed every day. My characters had to be this - or that - or something else. If I did not include certain things it made me a bigot or a terrible person. Every day I was told indirectly - "You are a terrible person because you do not include this and this in your stories."
I was forbidden from writing this type of character, or that type of character because I was who I am. Someday, someone was going to come for me and my world - my characters - my hopes and dreams. So, I may as well not even try...
The last straw came when I received feedback from an agent, telling me that the only way I was going to get published would be to use my own disability to sell myself because then I would be a marginalized person and it'd get me a foot in the door.
I threw everything on the floor, sat down in my office and cried.
I wanted the quality of my work to be what got me a place in a Publishing House, but was that worthless. Was I worthless?
I completely broken down to the pressure of fear. I knew I was not a terrible person - but it is hard to constantly have that fed to you on your newsfeeds on all your social media.
It was a long six months that I did not write - nor did I draw - I was consumed by an overwhelming and crushing fear that I would be found judged under the oppressive eyes of the terrifying social media mob.
This was a dark hole I found myself in. I was scared. I lost my love and my passion for writing, it all drained away into this pit of fear. It took me a long time to claw my way back out and find my footing again. What had once been my comfortable home for so many years, the online world, became something sinister and twisted. I dealt with it the only way I could. I removed myself from the toxicity.
And things have been better since then. I loath Twitter - I think it is little more than people spitting at each other, occasionally saying something witty and worthwhile, but mostly meaningless dribble. It is where people you barely know will police you for your wrong-think, but, how does anyone know what is wrong on what day anymore?
I manage Facebook, simply because I scaled it down dramatically and in doing so, it's basically a place of family photos, Lord of the Rings posts and cat videos. ^_^
However - interestly enough - something funny did happen that slightly altered my distrust of online communities.
I joined Instagram - or Catsagram - The Cats of Instagram.
Cats. I love cats. I love my cats. I love taking photos of my cats. So I thought, hey, I'll just start posting photos of my cats and suddenly, I found a place I started enjoying again with really nice, warm, caring people.
Cats. The pioneers of the internet. Still bringing people together. ^_^
Art however - online art communities - have forever been ruined by populism and judgemental opinions. And...so has fandoms.
So what - in the end - does this all have to do with writing and being an author? Well, it was during those six months, and the climbing my way out of that hole I managed to get myself into, that I began searching for a solid foundation to stand on and build myself around. I knew that at some point I would crumble - no - I was always crumbling - but the strength of the foundation beneath me would keep me from that hole. Even if I did fall into that hole again, then I could tie a rope to that foundation and pull myself back out.
Sometimes though, when stories such as that pertaining to Dr. Seuss', come to light - I question my desire to be a writer again.
So easily can a finger point to you and condemn you. So easily can the rules of today's society alter overnight and you can be deemed unworthy.
Therefore I return to my foundations and continue to be oh-so-grateful I am not on Twitter anymore. XD
I think I am okay with being a hermit writer. If I get to share my works from this little corner of the universe with those who seek to find, then, a little warm community will grow.