I have a friend who I don't open up to much. After some thought I realized it's because it tends to backfire. Sometimes it's an exchange of glances, sometimes it's a very subtle comment. Sometimes it's even more subtle--it's by omission. It's what they don't say, a disrespect by disregard, avoiding my opinion on something I happen to know a lot about while asking others who don't know, or arguing with me when I do in fact know what I'm talking about.

At first I didn't know why some of our exchanges left a bad taste in my mouth; I thought it was just me.

But I finally said fuck it. I should trust myself, right? So I've come to take a close look at my reactions to things, trying to recognize sabotage when I see it. I had a very strong reaction to something writerly recently, and I realized there might have been a bit of sabotage involved. It's too subtle to pinpoint and cloaked in thick good will, but I think it's there.

And it's important to avoid. We as writers--hell, as people--have plenty of fears and doubt. We sure as fuck don't need someone adding to the mix, eh?


Erica Orloff said...

I recently left a place of worship I had been comfortable going to for about five years. But something happened that exposed a level of hypocrisy, ugliness, mistrust, outright lying, you name it. I won't EVER belong to an organized religion again . . . and it's that feeling precisely. Like, "Is it me? Is this hypocrisy? Treachery? A form of sabotage?" And then learning to trust your instincts and say, "Yup. It is."

Trust yourself. Life's too short for the bullshit.


Anonymous said...

Whoa! Hang in there - not good at all! Maybe you will need to have a toast to toast that "friend" away.

No one should do that to a friend or an acquaintance or anyone!

Kill the bullshit and party on....

Travis Erwin said...

Life is much easier if you learn to trust your inner bullshit detectors, but sadly we've all been burned when we knew better.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

I think it's so sad, Erica, that you will forever forgo organized religion because of it. That must have been a bad scene to make you make that decision! Wow.

I dunno, Anon. I don't tend to just cut people out of my life. That's too complicated. But I do put up walls and conduct myself carefully.

Trav - True Dat. Sucks to get caught up in it.

Natasha Fondren said...

Writer's paths are so individual, that I'm not sure writers are really good at giving or receiving advice. (Your first paragraph seems to suggest you guys were exchanging advice.) I watch writers' careers to learn from them and inform my decisions, but direct advice is a little trickier.

People tend, as a general rule, to think their own path is best. (Studies show that even when people think choice A and choice B are equal before buying, they think the choice they made is far better than the other choice AFTER buying.) After they make a decision and choose a career path, they're emotionally invested (and usually unaware of it) in convincing themselves they made the right choice.

It's human nature, which is fine... but then the advice they give is biased--and most dangerous of all, it's both unconsciously and emotionally biased, neither of which is at all helpful.

Instead, I just watch and study. And generally discuss Double Stuf Oreos instead. :D

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Interesting thoughts, Natasha. I try to preface things I say, especially on panels, with "This is my bent."

It's tough especially with newer writers who are looking for Answers.