Writers that Don’t.
April 12, 2020 – I knew that post was going to generate a lot negative reactions in the writer’s groups. Most of them have conventions or policies discouraging or disallowing political posts completely and I assumed some of them would remove it. And most of the audience there are not writers but endeavor to be, which does in fact make them a writer. Writing makes you a writer, paid or otherwise. Same thing with music.
This was the post in case you missed it. From April 10, 2020:
I’m not sure why writers in the writers group don’t post their writing but there are a lot reasons why I can think of. I suspect it’s because of all the negativity, people pointing out grammatical errors or deficiencies in plot, character development and narrative with the intended side effect of confirming their superiority over a middle-aged housewife who finally asserts herself enough to walk through the flames of public derision and ask if she’s on the write track. 30 minutes and 100 comments later she decides she’s not a good enough writer and that’s the last post for a while, possibly forever.
Meanwhile 99 guys who don’t post their writing but are happy to answer questions from inferior writers and demonstrate how their mom never taught them how to be polite or constructive, particularly when someone asks for your help, have affirmed their superiority even though they already knew it. But that’s why they like to hang out in writer’s groups. To remind people of their inferiority and not post anything because that’s precisely why the other guys are there and they know what will happen if they do.
A few are paid and don’t post their writing due to the fact they’re trying to preserve their intellectual capital on Amazon because that’s how they eat and pay rent so it’s a social media asset for them and they have an obligation to their families to help them eat too, so they post snippets or reviews. Some of the reviews are extremely compelling because their mom wrote it, and she has the same grammatical anti-patterns as their writer spawn do because that’s how moms work. They teach you to speak and write and when you’re older they go looking for support in a writer’s group because they love writing, they are a writer, and they want to get better at it. But 30 minutes and 100 comments later they’re posting an Amazon review for their baby boy and hanging up the sheets he doesn’t wash on the same clothes line as her hopes and dreams, thinking about the novel she’s not going to write because of her publicly demonstrated inferiority.
Meanwhile her son is in her basement with an unused thesaurus he never read, improperly correcting the broken English grammar of a 24 year old Indonesian grad student who asked for advice in a Facebook writer’s group using the same grammatical antipatterns his mom taught him, but neither of them know any better and he is clearly superior and white and a male with clean sheets and a 5-star review.
There is another ring. An elite demographic of obviously superior writers who would never participate in a Facebook writer’s group. It’s a clear sign of defeat. And they might be right. But they still need to sell books because mom needs the rent and he needs clean sheets. Some of them sell mashed up wood pulp sliced very thin with words on it like you read on this computer at an anachronism called book stores.
You can buy them on Amazon now but they’re so huge they won’t fit into your computer so you use them once and then try to give them away. They cost $300 at a college but they last for six months, then can you sell them to some a freshmen for $150 and give mom her rent and roll around in your fresh sheets waiting for someone to ask you a question in a Facebook writers group that you knew the answer to $300 dollars ago.
I’m pretty sure that’s how books work because I don’t read them, I gave them all away so I could pay my mom the rent and move away. My sheets smelled good when I did but I don’t so the result was prectible and inevitable. She scolded me last night and told me that if I don’t wash my sheets I would smell like my rabbit. But he smells better than I do so that was a mom fail.
I let the conversation hang for a moment while I gloated over my clearly demonstrated indifference to cultural normatives and obviously superior position in the discussion. Then it occured to me that there’s a global pandemic and I might even have the virus, so right away my mind goes to my sheet’s potential as a bioweapon. That’s as old as smallpox in America, it’s practically a tradition. It’s important we learn from our forefathers how to establish a strategic social advantage from how they exploited their circumstances in history in the face of adversity. Because you never know when you’re going to need to commit genocide against an indigenous or clearly inferior population.
I’m a cybersecurity and biotech programmer that has worked for the government and a cyber crimes unit. So while my mom is waiting for me to respond to her remark about the rabbit smell it occurs to me that I don’t need the sheets at all, they’re bulky and stink like me and would give away your advantage, you should probably give them to Goodwill and ask her for new ones. Send her some money.
If you want to commit murder, terrorism, extortion, or genocide and you’re already infected, that’s all you need. You are the tool. It’s in your sheets but it’s also in the air you breath and the spit in your mouth. But the sheets are going to Goodwill and air is hard to spread around and be confident in your targeting.
So it comes down to spit, piss and blood. The piss has the same problem as the blanket, it stinks like me. Your attack has been detected due to a social distancing violation. Blood is bulky and not transparent unless its in microscopic quantities but there must be a certain satisfaction to a terrorist to see it spread around. They’ve seen that their whole life on TV so it’s more of a stylistic preference.
But spit is basically transparent unless you’ve been drinking coffee or have a cold or terrible hygiene that I would blame on your mother like I do. I blame her for everything. But if you brush your teeth like she tells you to you’ll smell minty fresh and everyone will like you and trust you more. Unless you’re 70 and your teeth are too white, nobody should trust an old man with white teeth.
So while she was waiting for me to respond or forgetting about the conversation about the smell of the sheets I tell her, never trust an old man with white teeth. And without hesitation and in perfect English, she agrees with me. I’m trying to adjust for confirmation bias in my bioweapon attack hypothesis by deferring to her wisdom and the fact that your mom is always right, she confirms my confirmation bias and the matter is closed, we both knew we were right.
Where do we put our spit so it’s innocuous and won’t expose you? Well it’s on my toothbrush. And it’s on every cup in the house and my pillow. But the pillow’s going to Goodwill too and I would look inappropriate walking around with a toothbrush because I rarely brush my teeth even though my mom gave me a toothbrush for my Birthday. They’re somewhat yellow but I’m 50 so I can walk through and obvious trust barrier with confidence due to our confirmation bias error and cross-cultural harmony and take comfort in the fact that I promised her a mop for Christmas so I feel like we’re even.
I realize I’m distracted. But the whole plan is coming together, and I’ve got a model in my head of how the attack would be concealed, delivered, executed and exploited. And there are obvious ways you could exploit the crisis and utilize a disadvantaged vulnerable person to execute your plan without making them feel bad because of your moral consideration for them and make some money while you’re doing it, you’re going to need it.
As for writer’s that don’t post writing but correct other writers freely, I don’t get it. Musician’s groups don’t do that. In your average Guitar group people share their music freely, listen to each other and sometimes comment on the aspects of your work they like. Rarely are they critical, and when they are an angry mob with torches and pitchforks shows up and calls them out. Don’t be a jerk. Lift your brother up.
Meanwhile the writers in the writers group that don’t write pounce on a single paragraph and gleefully write a treatise on its grammatical deficiencies and lack of story potential. Longer than the original post. There’s some kind of weird impedence mismatch / cognitive dissonance thing going on there so I don’t linger. I post my writing and get out. Everybody should, they’ll cut you to shreds unless you explicitly indicate not to in your post. Then they’ll chastise you for not knowing the protocol, you’re clearly an amateur.
Writers that don’t. On a high horse. Not a great optic from here in the sniper’s nest but I’m in no position to judge. But when juxtaposed against the guitar groups it’s hard to see the value proposition. Unless you like to be humiliated, and some people do. There’s no accounting for taste.