Barbwired 008

Welcome back to another edition of Barbwired, my new favorite way to communicate on the internet.

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I’m booked to appear at Pretty Good Books in LaGrange, GA. I’ll be reading with fellow local authors Carol James Marshall and Scott Hughes. Carol has done a lot of organizing and not just for this event with these authors. So a huge thanks goes out to her, and by that I mean you should go check out her books sometime. Hell, check out Scott’s, too. They’re a part of the local creative crew I’ve been running with lately, and they’ve been a huge help.

Next, I was featured again on the blog of my good friend Ze Burns. He gathered up a few weird writers (myself, Amy M. Vaughn, Sam Richard, and Danger Slater) to talk about their favorite weird books. A lot of good choices here (I’m especially fond of Oryx and Crake), and I got to talk about my love for Jeffrey Thomas, which is always a privilege.

That’s a lot of positive stuff happening, which is good. But there’s something else I want to talk about, which will probably be awkward, at least for me. Author drama. It’s always around, and there’s no shortage of people willing to talk about it. That’s one of the reasons I don’t talk about it: there’s enough out there. Enough people taking the time to sort out others’ behavior, sometimes because they just like drama but I think mostly just to police the scene. It needs policing. Bullshit needs to be called out and dealt with.

So I stay out of it. Perhaps to my detriment, because people can make assumptions about you when they’re not sure exactly where you stand on things. The reason I’m talking about all this now is because recently a female author who had been shunned by some other authors returned to social media. Then some public posts got made detailing all of the reasons she’d been shunned in the first place. Because I don’t keep up with this sort of stuff, I only knew there was a problem, but not the nature of that problem. When she returned, I messaged her to welcome her back and asked why she’d disappeared. She said she “let others affect her love of writing”.

Now that I’ve learned the nature of it, I have some feelings about it. And I don’t want to name names and I especially don’t want to direct you to all the blog posts and facebook posts and twitter threads about the whole debacle. I just want to say this:

I talked a good deal with this girl, and even told her a few things about my personal life. So she’s like one of three people in this author world that I’ve opened up to. That whole bizarro family I belong to? I never talked to any of them much, at least on a personal level (still awaiting official stuff, too). Now, she was a decent listener, which is rare these days, but with the new information about how she was treating people, I don’t believe she actually cared about what was going on with me. I think it was just subtle social bullshitting, which would have been way more overt if I had a higher standing in the horror community. That’s what kinda disturbs me. If I ever become something bigger, I might have to deal with this bullshit intensely and directly, and please understand… I hate this bullshit.

I grew up around chicks like this. I don’t like this sort of behavior. To describe it simply: it’s lying. Donald Trump tells big lies that defy reality itself, and that’s bad. You know what’s worse? Dealing with someone who “stretches the truth,” “omits certain details,” or “tells you all you need to know.” Women do this a lot, but let’s not be sexist, men do it, too. I knew a folksy guy who prefaced everything with “Put it to ya this way,” or “Basically…” and there was never a time I didn’t want to put a knife to his throat and tell him to speak plainly. Sometimes people talk in this code that’s meant to obscure something, and maybe it’s not even on purpose. Maybe we lie to others and ourselves to prop up our fragile egos. Maybe that’s true, but it’s definitely true that some people are out there lying simply FOR THEIR OWN BENEFIT. They fabricate, manipulate, play the victim, appeal to others’ sympathy, and that’s how they get through life. I don’t like any of this maneuvering. I grew up being told that this was just the way other people talk, but it was always important that I tell the truth straight up, because lies hurt people.

So now there’s this chick who tells lies, and all her lies finally caught up to her and everybody’s piling on. And now I guess I’m piling on, too, because I could tell this chick was lying about stuff. Its one thing to talk yourself up in a professional manner, but it’s another to make up something that just reeks of bullshit. No, your dad wasn’t a horror movie villain. No, you’re not tuned in to other people’s thoughts/feelings. No, I’m not going to throw emotional support your way when you won’t even tell me what exactly happened. Like I said, I grew up around that shit. I can smell lies, and most of the time it’s harmless (that fish you caught was huge, man). But when you start mixing up people’s feelings, friendships, and careers into those stories you’re telling, then it becomes personal for me. The lies are no longer harmless, and neither is the liar. You’re trying to trick others to get yourself ahead. I can’t tolerate that shit. I prefer to be at peace with everyone, and I’m not even calling anyone out here. I just need to vent, because when I encounter people who get through life by telling these self-serving lies, I’d rather they didn’t say anything to me at all.

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