I had a dream the other night. Or should I say, more of a nightmare?
I was inside a writer's conference. Hundreds of people in attendance, everyone set in groups for an exercise. I missed the details since I entered the scene late, so I ended up at a table that would present last. It would take an hour before we had our turn, so I went somewhere quiet and rested in a chair for a while.
That's when I slipped into a dream within a dream, filled with all sorts of high fantasy awesomeness. There was magic, dragons, and Skittle-eating fairies. Rock on!
Then a dwarf told me to wake up. And I did.
It was one of my group mates. She was in a state of panic, her eyes intense. "We're up next!" she said.
Up next for what, I wondered. We ran back and sat down, just as someone at the table next to us finished speaking. It was our turn. My group looked at me. The giant conference room went silent. What's going on, I ask, to which they all say, "We appointed you as our group leader, remember? You are to present for us!"
I give them a blank stare. "What am I presenting?"
I gulped. This crowd was expecting awesomeness, but I had no idea what we were doing here. I had missed out on the exercise. I tried to make something up, to wing it. No matter what I said, everyone started to boo. Half the room got up and left. My group mates glared at me. A panel of guest agents shook their heads. A couple of them pulled out their "black lists" and took notes.
Then I was confronted by a mop of angry faces, faces I knew well from the blogging community. And they were vehement. "How could you abandon us?" they cried, just before one of them socked me in the gut.
Trippy dream, huh?
Trippy dream, huh?
I woke up, literally winded. Turns out The Girl sneaked into our bed in the middle of the night, only to kick me in the abdomen. It took a second to readjust to reality.
When I finally did, I felt like a chump ...
I've always had this impression that dreams are one of two things: a regurgitation of information or stimuli that is stored in the brain or a representation of unconscious, deep-seeded anxiety (or something that has been on your mind for a while, whether you knew it or not).
It got me thinking ... have I abandoned anyone? Have I offended them by doing so? I know for certain I'm not one who goes out of his way to troll people, living the "golden rule" life, yet with my good intentions, or lack of attention, who is to say I haven't put anyone off?
Totally irrational, I know. But still, how does one deal with feelings like this?
The simple truth: some will always find a reason to be offended by something. I've even worked with people who wanted to be offended, so they could have a valid reason to gripe about something. And there are those who enjoy offending, just to stir things up. It's like having a sadist and a masochist in the same room ...
10 points if you get the joke!
Having said that, no matter what you're writing, for whatever reason, someone won't like it. Someone might even get offended by it. And maybe the book isn't the problem, but you, the author, because of your religion, lifestyle, or political opinions. It is going to happen.
If offense was not intended, no worries. You're just being you. If someone has a problem with that, then that's their problem. Not yours. Let them own it.
Still, it never hurts to give an apology when it feels warranted. I haven't exactly been the most stalwart blogger in the last couple of months, and I continue to receive more visits and comments than I'm currently able to reciprocate, but as an open letter to the blogosphere, you should know I appreciate you.
I aim to do better. Thank you for your support.
Please don't punch me at the next conference?
Unless it's this kind of punch, cause that's good stuff!
This is not the rule, just my thoughts on the matter. Do your best, be who you are or want to become and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You're good enough, smart enough, and goshdarn it, people like you!
Has the idea of offending others worried you? Is this something to be concerned about as an author?
I'm David, and I'm watching Batman!