Earlier I wrote about being stunned that trolls were sending me hate emails about my books, and that I was in retreat. Here’s how I imagine those folks look:
However, it’s amazing how things can change in a few days. You see, I’ve had an epiphany. A few epiphanies, actually. (And I so enjoy writing that word, you’re going to see it a few more times.)
Let me back up a bit here; when I got trolled last week I was already feeling particularly vulnerable. A number of financial and family worries had sent my anxiety bubbling out my ears. The troll attack was the last straw, and I retreated.
For the next several days I fretted about many things, but I also prayed. I’m a firm believer in Heavenly help, and it came.
No, lightning didn’t strike my trolls (guess I didn’t have enough faith when I asked for that), but instead of destroying my irritants, God calmed my anxieties and gently gave me ideas of how to circumvent the detractors.
One of my first epiphanies occurred when I thought about authors whose works I don’t particularly care for. For example (and I’m taking cover right now), I didn’t like The Hunger Games. I fact, I didn’t finish reading it.
Now, let me say right now that I admire Suzanne Collins. I’ve read interviews with her, I’m happy for her success, and I think the message she’s sending through her writing is timely. She’s done wonderful things, and the way she ended her series is almost brutal but bravely honest. Life doesn’t always have a happy ending. Deal with it. That’s amazing writing.
I just find her books unreadable. Simply not my style.
However, I would never go on to Amazon and state my opinions in a review (and I’ve learned to not read reviews of my books on Amazon anymore, either), and I especially wouldn’t go to her website and rant to her personally about my opinion of her failings, because my opinion really doesn’t matter. The fact that she didn’t meet my narrow, individualized expectations is my problem, not hers . . .
Ah! Epiphany #1!
Why should she care about some middle-aged mom in the Rocky Mountains? She shouldn’t! Suzanne Collins—write what makes YOU happy, in a manner that brings YOU satisfaction. If I want to be part of that, then that’s my choice. Otherwise, I’m good just watching the movies (which I do enjoy, by the way).
And also by the way, I’m taking that little speech and applying it to myself. I write what I want to read.
If you want to read it as well, great!
If not, great!
I’ve also wanted to rewrite parts of Book 1, and I decided now was as good as time as any (and yes, I’m also working on Book 4). This week I started to make Forest tighter and cleaner, and I’m rearranged some of the earlier chapters. I headed into this with a critical eye, but after half an hour I found myself genuinely happy.
I like this story!
Scratch that—I LOVE this story!
So why I am letting ugly trolls take that joy away?
That led to my second epiphany which came during my English 1010 class. My students were giving their presentations on their research papers, and one student addressed cyberbullying. It was then that I felt a gentle flick against my mind, not a slap upside the head as God often does to get my attention. This time He was saying kindly, because of my vulnerable state, “Listen up, daughter.” Everything my student described about cyberbullying applied to my situation. When she got to the part of “How to deal with it,” I already knew.
Epiphany #2: Flick the trolls!
Read that carefully, because I did NOT intend to write something more graphic (although in a different font the “l” and “i” blend together in a fitting manner).
Here’s a different perspective of the earlier troll.
He’s not so big now, is he? In fact, I can easily flick him away (but I won’t, because this is one of the beloved “hideous plastic creatures” my husband and sons have painstakingly painted and stored away in boxes to play with once a year, and if anything happens to these critters, such as losing a glued-on arm, tears are shed).
(Males can be weird.)
So I’m taking the advice so many of you kindly sent. Friends and readers have written this past week commiserating with me and asking if I really wanted to remove my books from Amazon.
And you know what? I don’t.
No, they’re not perfect—nothing ever will be—but I am inching closer to excellence as I revise book 1. And if you don’t like it, fine. Put it down and go read something else. I have a copy of The Hunger Games I can give you. (But don’t touch my DVDs.)
And if you want to troll me, I’ve got new perspective on that as well. I’ll ignore you by flicking you away, and I’ll continue on happily, because I care less about you than you care about bullying me.
I’ve been blessed to find my inner Teddy Roosevelt who doesn’t care about the critics (trolls, bullies), and I’ve also found a glorious little button called “delete.”
It must be magical because just that easily, trolls are banished and joy returns.