You suck! Suck Suck SUCK, I Say! Bleh! : LUSENET : Hedgehog Talk : One Thread

I'm a public personality, whether I thought about that when I started this or not, that is indeed what I have become, and sometimes people feel the need to weigh in on the fact that they personally feel that you are overrated or unfunny or just plain bad. Or even, because it's ourselves who are on the line here, that we are just plain bad people. How do you react when you read stuff like that? Do you care? Are you hurt? Do you answer, publicly or privately?

-- Kymm (, June 08, 2000


I used to be (dare I say it?) a fairly popular fan fiction author. People knew my name, they knew my series' name, and if people brought up a particular romantic pairing, they automatically kicked the discussion back to me. In the beginning, it was really neat- people said lots of nice things about me, and frequently tried to give me credit for things I didn't do. I always corrected them gently, I always answered my happy mail, no matter how much I had, and when people came to me looking for help (whether to beta read one of their stories, or just give them tips on how to write a fanfic story) I went out of my way to actually help.

Then came the inevitable backlash. I started a fanfiction mailing list where people wouldn't be afraid to do more than just pat people on the head and say "it's good!" when it's not. There were plenty of flamewars, and plenty of newer writers got stomped flat. Understandably bitter, they started their own mailing list, set us (and me) up as the devils of our particular genre, and the wars started.

I started to get a lot of ugly e-mail about how the character pairing I pioneered was stupid, sickening, gross, whatever. My name became a joke, people parodied my stories as viciously as they could (and hey, I've signed up for my stories to be parodied and found them funny. These tended to contain spurious references to me for humor, rather than the stories themselves.) They talked smack about me on their websites and mailing lists. I tried to ignore it, and did an admirable job of it for a while.

Then I did something stupid; I joined one of their mailing lists under an assumed name and started posting hte most wretched poetry I could write- which was met with rave reviews, just like I knew it would be. After a few days, I got the guilts, apologized to the list, and dropped out of fanfiction entirely. The list was understandably, rabidly pissed, and they continue to bitch about me today.

Though I've pulled all my fanfiction from the 'net, and left all the mailing lists and newsgroups, I still run across people who have an axe to grind with me. People I've never even met, people who ever wrote me, just the second generation of people indoctrinated by the wars. I still have my fans, and once in a very rare while, I'll hear about someone who misses my work, but the people who hate me far outnumber the people who like me, these days.

I am hurt every time I see something like this. It's been nearly a year now since I dropped out, and it still hurts. I miss fanfiction, I miss the community, I miss writing the stories, and honestly, I miss people telling me I'm a good writer after all. But, I've learned my lesson, I don't respond at all anymore. I just nurse my little wounds quietly and pretend to be beyond it all.

-- Saundra (, June 08, 2000.

It's okay to have low self-esteem when everything you do is wrong.

I just tend not to buy into the idea that I'm particularly good at anything, so if somebody disses me, it's like, duh. I knew that. Big of you to point it out. Then, if somebody does happen to think I'm doing something right, it comes as a pleasant surprise, but they usually have to work at it to convince me that I don't suck.

Plus, this way I get to drink a lot.

-- Colin (, June 08, 2000.

I take the negative stuff people say about me in stride.

Writing an online diary confers upon you a certain degree of fame. As a result, people will see you through a prism. Some people will have an exaggeratedly low opinion of you, but for every one such person, there are twenty readers who think you're fabulous and wonderful (I know this is true of you, Kymm!). The nasty comments are the ones most likely to stick in your head, but they only constitute a small minority of your feedback.

I don't let it bother me, and I don't respond. It's not very hard when you can put it in perspective.

-- Jennifer Wade (, June 08, 2000.

Haven't had to deal with any online smack resulting from my journaling so far.

Unless you count the lack of feedback itself , being overlooked... the neglect, the dismissal...

WAUGHHH! Nobody LOVES meeeeee

-- Michael (mwalsh@lynx.neu.ed), June 08, 2000.

The other day, I read something that I don't think was intended to be mean or rude, but made me feel bad nonetheless. It was the first time I'd ever been put in such a position in connection with my journal.

My first reaction was to post some sort of sarcastic response, but I didn't. I emailed a few close friends for reassurance, took a few deep breaths, took a shower, and determined that a lot of people like me and like my writing and I didn't need to do anything to prove it.

By the time I returned to my computer, someone else had chimed in with something nice and I wrote that person privately to thank them.

-- Jenn (, June 08, 2000.

Generally I don't respond to this stuff either. I've only found one occassion where a journal writer wrote smack about me, but she never named me specifically or linked to me. Even though I knew she was way off base it still hurt.

I just tell myself that for every one person who dosen't like me there will be others that do and I'll focus on the people who like me.

I don't talk about other journallers in a negative way in my journal. It's just not nice or tactful to do. If I don't have anything nice to say I don't say anything at all, in public anyway. I might say it out loud to my friends or over email but I won't publically say anything. No matter how much I don't like someone I know it will definitely hurt their feelings if I write something mean.

I do write smack about my family and friends though. I try to stick to the truth about things they did and how it made me feel and not try to make generalized statements about them. I try to keep it about me, but I'm sure it doesn't always work. Especially when I write entries like "Why Dave's mother is a bitch."


-- Colleen (, June 08, 2000.

Woody Allen said if you don't believe them when they say you are no good, you can't believe them when they say you are. You have to take criticism and praise with a grain of salt.

Ezra Pound said he didn't listen to the criticism of anyone who hadn't written as long as he had, or as well. If you have written well, for a long time, this narrows the field.

I have a sheet of comments on my work at The Daily Bugle (, under About, Blurbs, which includes good and bad opinions.

I noticed that writers I respect welcomed me to the fraternity of writers, as a colleague, and writers who took umbrage were people I had never heard of, who had an attitude.

If Merritt Clifton calls Trailer Park Tramp "drivel beyond help," or Pete LeForge calls Raw Energy "anecdotes and ravings," consider the source.

I tend to use negative things people say about my books as titles of books, like Crad Kilodney calling books WORTHLESS GARBAGE, PUTRID SCUM, or FOUL PUS FROM DEAD DOGS.

Thus, I called one ZERO ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10, and I called one DIARY OF AN ANGRY WOULD-BE WRITER, paraphrasing what grants panelists said about samples of my work I had submitted with an application.

(When a teacher at Tulane gave me an F in a graduate course on The Concept of Culture, I painted an F on the front of my T-shirt, wrote FINBAD THE FAILER on the back, and wore the shirt to class. To her class. It caused the perspiration-shield under her shoulder-pad coat to slip.)

Celine said he didn't have time to answer the gazettes, he had his chronicle to finish, his endless, or enormous debts to pay. I answer the gazettes in my chronicle.

I once paid Barry Malzberg $450 to tell me WEWA GOTHIC was "not remotely salable."

What a rube stunt that was. What a hick.

I prefer to think of it as innocent. Stay innocent through 29 years (in August) of that and you will have earned the acquired innocence Nelson Algren says a writer has to keep.

You have to wear your heart on your sleeve.

If they knock it off, pick it up, dust it off, and do the same thing, again.

It should hurt. And you should go on, because opinions are like assholes: everybody has one.

-- Jack Saunders, The Daily Bugle (, (, June 08, 2000.

As a baby in the journal (ing, ler, whatever) community, I've already been bashed. At first I was hurt, very badly. I wrote an entry about it basically saying bite my ass, (okay I actually said bite my ass). Then I got email from quite a few people encouraging me.

I don't know how I'll react when it happens again, I may write another entry about it, I may ignore it. I won't stoop to the same level though. We're all different. Our lives, our writing is different. I won't bash someone else for how they live, for how they write their journal.

Life's to short to be so damn petty.

Suzyramble~The Mutterings of A Fool

-- Suzy (, June 08, 2000.

And damnit I still can't remember how to use to vs too.

-- Suzy (, June 08, 2000.

SILENCE came back from Little, Brown today.

Not the first time that has happened.

Won't be the last time.

Dear Mr. McCourt, we have read ANGELA'S ASHES now, and while it is well-written, we feel that the subject matter is too much of a downer for today's audiences. Poverty, alcoholism, spouse abuse, the death of infants, chronic unemployment, the meanness of charities--my God, man. It's an unrelieved bummer.

Dear Mr. Exley, A FAN'S NOTES generated some interest here, from people who remembered the New York [football] Giants; unfortunately, people in that age group don't buy as many books as younger readers, who want to know about new fashions, trends, and celebrities their own age. It's awfully literary for today's market, too. A difficult read, you will admit.

Dear Mr. Saunders, James Joyce you ain't. Nora called him a "genius, so-called." You call yourself Joyce. Not hardly, Mr. Saunders. And even if you were, do you think anyone here would publish a book like Ulysses now? You can try, but I'd be very surprised if the reaction anywhere else was any different. There isn't any place else. Perhaps the Internet. The ant's a centaur in his dragon world.

Q: Do you think you are a genius?

A: I'm a pretty fair country writer in a subgenre filled with second- raters.

That's not a plus.

I'm a workhorse.

A workman.

If a journeyman works at something long enough he achieves mastery. He becomes a master.

I'd say I am a master craftsman. Rather than an artiste.

There's no single work, no chef d'oeuvre, that you would point to and call a masterpicece.

But the body of work is produced at a very high level, and there's a lot of it.

Those are two convincing arguments, to me. I created a body of work and I invented a new genre.

I see that Kymm is calling her forum on what you can do better than anyone else the "genius thread."

I think my stack is a formidable achievement.

I think enema verite, or crank-lettres, is a captivating form. Exciting. Something new under the sun.

I think people call me self-indulgent, irascible, a whiner, a braggart. What do they know? Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

-- Jack Saunders, The Daily Bugle (, (, June 08, 2000.

Interesting question, Kymm.

Let's see... a Famous Diarist whom I knew in real life used to write about me, and it was occasionally unflattering. Problem was, it was my real name she was using, plus a link to my email, and I liked that not a bit. It has, however, made me very careful of other people's privacy.

Since starting up my journal, which has been online about a year, I haven't spotted any negative comments. No bad email, either.

The only time I ever criticized another online journaler was when an extremely popular fellow talked major smack about my country. Nothing to do with me personally; he was just being excessively rude about Canada and Canadians. I wrote about that, but was careful not to blast the writer personally; hey, I like his stuff. I just didn't like his prejudiced attitude, which was what I took offense to.

It still felt weird posting that entry, but I never heard a peep about it.

-- Cameron (, June 08, 2000.

Jack: Please give it a rest. Your endless rants about the idiots who don't appreciate your art are so fucking tiresome.

-- Joy Rothke (, June 08, 2000.

Dear Kymm,

I don't like it when you talk smack about Survivor, or imply that only the most empty-headed imbeciles would be obsessed with it.

Kirkman and I may be the only people in America watching, but, by god, we will not put up with the slander!

Go Tagi Tribe!

-- Anne (, June 09, 2000.

So far, the worst thing someone has written about me was that I have the amazing talent of writing about interesting people and events in a way that makes them sound incredibly dull. How she could tell that the events were interesting, under the circumstances, I don't know!

I was deeply hurt by it, especially since the commentator was an acquaintance.

I don't actually remember where I wrote my response to that - I either mentioned it in a journal entry or wrote about it to my notify list. I knew full well that the person who wrote it was on my notify list at the time, so I didn't mention her name or the fact that she was on the list. And sure enough, other people on the list wrote in to say how awful and untrue her statements were. I never wrote to her about it directly, but I know she at least saw the other people's answers. Not that I could argue, really - what can I do to make someone see that I'm not a dull writer? Whatever! And now, approximately a year later, I don't care - it's all in the hazy past.

-- Ann Monroe (, June 09, 2000.

Every article, poem or short story that I've ever submitted for publication has been rejected. I have published a couple of articles which were commissioned, and one time I was a finalist in one of those poetry contests where your poem will be published in the book if you buy a copy of the book. They also offered to print my poem on a pair of beer mugs for another $19.95. Did I mention it was a poem about someone contemplating suicide? I declined their offer. But back to the topic, the rejections do hurt and it's still very difficult for me to submit.

I've considered an online journal, but have yet to actually start one. I'm torn between the fear that no one will read it and the fear that people will read it and hate it. Yep, that's me.

Survivor rules!

-- Catherine (, June 09, 2000.

I already commented, but hey! My migraine doctor said I wuz smart, and I love Survivor! I haven't picked a favorite tribe yet, but I sure would like to smack Richard!

-- Saundra (, June 09, 2000.

I say get Ramona [the whining, vomiting chemist] off the island now! I also predict a cat fight b/twn the truck driver [forgot her name] and Stacey, the yuppie attorney.

-- Joy (, June 09, 2000.

Oooo, Survivor. Finally, a show so intensely a guilty pleasure that I can almost feel okay about watching *cough* A Wedding Story Rob's all "I can't belieeeeve you wanna watch that!" but then, there he is, perched on the couch right next to me, hurling invective at the screen. It is THE most artificial show in the entire history of television. I mean, there's gotta be at least as many camera techs and art department staff as there are "castaways" on the island. And I doubt they're sleeping in thatched lean-tos...

I agree Ramona shoulda been booted before BB. She may be cuter, he was more useful.

And yeah! Richard is so annoying! So is Stacey, even if she did munch down three icky crawly nauseating beetle larvae!

Funny thing is, the whole thing is actually concluded. As CBS has a huge financial stake in keeping the outcome a secret, I can only conclude that every cast and crewmember was sworn to secrecy, with the added blackmail of a lawssuit for betrayal, and bribe of a hefty bonus cheque for keeping mum.

-- Cameron (, June 09, 2000.

Alright, alright, I give. People are watching . Okay, you wanna takl about it, I'll make a seperate discussion for it.

-- Kymm Zuckert (, June 09, 2000.

No one's ever said anything bad about my journal. People went ballistic when I started a web ring, though. And there are still people who enjoy taking a potshot at me in the context of the web ring. I can't take it too seriously since they're reacting to an idea, not my personality. If someone wrote something mean about me personally, or attacked my journal, I'm sure I'd consider the source. Do I know the person doing it? No? Pfffffft. Yes? We'll talk in email.

I've never said anything slighting about anyone's journal in Aries Moon. I've never answered any of the attacks on Archipelago in Aries Moon. I have defended my decision to create and maintain an invitation-only web ring three times in four years in Aries Moon, always in general terms. I hate flame wars.

-- Lucy Huntzinger (, June 15, 2000.

I... I killed this forum thread. I'm sorry.

-- Lucy Huntzinger (, June 21, 2000.

That's ok, Lucy, I'll start it up again.

I found out recently (a month or so ago) that a few journalers, including a couple of popular ones, read my journal regularly, but not because they enjoy my writing. After corresponding with one of them (I initiated the correspondance out of true curiosity), I discovered that they (or at least the person I was e-mailing) felt reading my journal was like watching a car wreck (she knew she shouldn't read it, finding it cringeworthy, but she couldn't stop herself).

Did it hurt my feelings? Well, sure it did. I've always thought my journal was a simple, inoffensive little fellow, and here was someone (or several someones) cringing at my words. But I got over it, for the most part. I appreciated her honesty. I may not have liked her words, but now I see my journal from another point of view. Doesn't mean I'll be changing the way I write, though.

Funny thing is, I found this out a couple of weeks after I went on an unplanned hiatus which ended up lasting 1 1/2 months. While her words weren't the main reason I stayed away for such a long time (ennui was the primary culprit), I'll admit that I may have been hurt even more deeply than I originally thought. But life goes on and so will my journal. Got to get back on that horse.

-- Carol (, June 21, 2000.

Aw, Lucy, it'd been six days since the last post by the time you got here, so you can hardly feel responsibility for the thread's comatose state.

I generally don't react to criticism, publicly or privately, because getting involved in time-delayed altercations with other people drives me insane with waiting. Give me the 'net for debate and realtime interaction for screaming matches. Also, the couple of times I've given in to my desire to turn the other fist, I usually feel red-faced afterwards for allowing someone else to abscond with my goat like that.

I did write Linda of "Stranger Than Fiction" a missive last February after reading, belatedly, an entry she wrote about me (http://, but my response wasn't, I don't think, vitriol but rather a calm rebuttal to her mistaken impressions of me. (If anyone's curious I guess I don't mind forwarding what I wrote her.) She never answered.

Weirdly, Linda's entry was linked in a Seattle weblog that a friend of mine reads -- just last month. Oh, how my friend agonized over whether to tell me I was being maligned, little realizing... The weblog noted how much ass I sucked (in so many words! Mercy!) and how horrible it would be to wake up and be me. Whatever.

If someone critiqued me in a way that I felt got at the heart of my faults, I might be wounded, but people are usually so far off the mark. Linda's entry is a portrait of a hysterical drama queen who enjoys fucking people over; the weblogger implies I hate myself; neither of these things seem very much like me. My real fears about myself? Well... if you don't want people to get your goat, you don't let them know where it's tied.

-- Kim Rollins (, June 21, 2000.

As usual, Kim makes a number of good points in an elegant argument. If you don't want someone to take potshots at you, then don't give them ammunition.

I will admit, however, that I'm confounded that someone would spend their time hunting down links and compiling a little weblog-entry-o'-bile toward someone else. Hell, if I hated someone, I wouldn't go the effort to stomp on them if they were on fire, much less collect or research links and put together a little entry. The worst insult you can pay anyone is indifference; if you really want to prove your disdain for someone, just ignore them.

-- Lisa Schmeiser (, June 21, 2000.

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