There is a part of me that doesn’t want to write this, but I know there are those out there that could benefit from what this post needs to say…so, I’ll write it. 😉
Recently I posted a #samplesunday for Twitter that offered up the first chapter of my upcoming novella, Shero. One person from an GLBT community caught wind and gave it a read and, to my astonishment, lashed out at me. It was quite obvious the driving force of the post was “how dare I claim Shero has anything to do with the Transgendered community” and even went so far as to ask if I even knew what Transgender was.
I do. I really do. And, to the misfortune of the reader, the first chapter of the book doesn’t give away that fact. What I did want to say is that, if you have any doubt as to my feelings on the subject, read A Blade Away and you will quickly see where I stand.
But that’s not what this is about. What this is about is to serve as a warning to my fellow writing community. That warning is simple: being a writer can hurt at times.
On the other side of my writing coin I cover geekier things such as the Linux operating system. I have been writing howtos and op eds for nearly ten years. During those ten years I have been put on a pedestal and cut to shreds. For one piece I wrote I received five-ten pieces of hate mail a day, for SIX MONTHS! That was real hate male — dropping “f-bombs” and claiming me to be a raving lunatic.
Fortunately, for me, that piece came late in my career at a time when I can shrug off the criticism. I’ve written thousands of articles, most of which have been celebrated by a community of people not known for celebrating. At this point, when a few articles are ripped to pieces, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
My novels on the other hand…well…let’s just say I’ve yet to reach that point where I can take criticism with such an apathetic shrug. That time will come, I’m sure…but at the moment I can still be hurt. And I wanted to warn my fellow indie author community (one that I have quickly begun to highly regard, respect, and enjoy) that there are going to be words that will prick and hurt. The single most important thing for you to do is to understand that is only one persons opinion and that does not, in any way, make it truth.
Take, for example, A Blade Away. Today alone I received two reviews that contradicted one another. Which should I believe? Honestly…both. Why? Because they are the opinions of readers and their opinions are real and true to them. I like A, you like B, she likes C and A, he likes A and D. Oddly enough, the human condition is filled with contradiction and opinion…but it’s part of what makes us so unique and wonderful.
Ultimately, however, you have to know those painful words are coming and you will have to deal with them. The best way to deal with them is to remind yourself that it’s just one person’s opinion and, unless that opinion is shared with the vast majority of opinions, can only be counted as such.
To me, Shero is a hero unlike any other. Not only does he protect the people of the city in which he lives, he also protects those desperate to be themselves in a world that shuns, hates, and often rejects those he represents. That character (and the world he belongs in) serves as a celebration of diversity, and in no way should be seen as mockery.