Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Being an Asshole 101

I was at Writers' Workshop last night and one of the newcomers posed a rather interesting question.  I don't remember the exact phrasing, but the gist was, "how do you handle being honest about events or people when those people might not necessarily appreciate that honesty?"

It's something you really need to have a solid handle on, especially if you're writing autobiographical nonfiction.  Now I don't, so I don't have a whole lot of experience in that sense, but I do have the tendency to be very controvertial, abrasive, or both in this blog.  There is definitely always a question as to how something is going to come off, and how certain people are going to react.

My answer was to just maintain an open dialogue with people, to be as honest with them about how you feel as you are in your work.  That way there isn't much of a surprise should that person read a particular passage down the road.  I've always tried to convey that while I may be against a great many ideas, I have a problem with very few people, and to tailor my work accordingly.

That having been said, sometimes hurt feelings are unavoidable.  This may not be the most healthy thing, but it is thr truth.  I tend to be a very solitary person, so I don't have a big problem with pissing virtually anyone off.  I can retreat into myself for a while and be completely comfortable.  However, I find that alone is not enough.  I also have a very solid group of close friends that I trust.  This is important because either A). we understand each other and they know when to take me seriously and when not to, or B). the friendships are solid enough so that we can handle pissing each other off from time to time.

The first part is even more important as a writer.  Our careers (I'll have one eventually damnit) require us to be intimately intertwined with the public (in kind of a non-intimate way).  Without readers, we are on par with the crazy guy on the street corner ranting about alien Jesus.  That having been said there is a large percentage of people who are either exceptionally stupid, or remarkably willing and able to give you grief.  I've seen it a little bit in the way of a few idiot commenters.  (And to be fair, 95% of my comments are wonderful.)  With these people, I take the Colin Cowherd approach of being an absolute arrogant jackass.

If someone wants to come in here and talk shit, that's fine.  As per my usual response, love me or hate me, they're still reading.  But if I need to, or if I'm feeling ornery (or just bored) I reserve the right to use whatever means necessary to verbally nuke them off of my blog.

So I guess in hindsight my answer was good, but I should have added the following:  Know who you're not willing to risk losing as a friend or a reader and be very communicative, and know who you are and tear them down like old wallpaper.

I know that certain demographics are going to find my blog distasteful.  Good!  They're not who I cater to, and I lose nothing by not seeing their readership.  Can't please em all.

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