As I started to write this, I wondered if I’d ever even post it or if it’d just sit in draft-form, or if it’d get deleted altogether just because I REALLY hate drama. But this is something that I seriously need to vent about. Whether it’s publicly or to myself, but I’ve got to get this all out in writing.
This rant is about Lynn Shepherd’s article on Huffington Post UK, titled “If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It.” I’m not going to leave a link because it’s easy enough to find.
First off, I absolutely cannot stand drama. Especially when that drama is initiated in a negative way because it brings out the worst in people. Me included. It’s the very reason I’ve stayed away from watching social media feeds, but this one was too hard to avoid as it’s something I’m very passionate about.
Second, I want to talk about how I reacted. When I first read the post Sunday night it really bothered me, so much so that I sent a text to a friend about it, and I’m pretty sure I also woke my mom up to talk about it. And then the next morning it started to absolutely consume me. I became extremely angry and I didn’t know where to release this anger. Of course, since this anger was consuming me, the worst thing for me to do was follow it on twitter. BAD MINDY!
I’ve been thinking and talking a lot lately about how words can be uplifting and inspiring, but also how words can also be poison to a person. And the person speaking the poison might not even know that their words are poison to someone else. Well Lynn’s words were poison to me and I’ll explain why later, but I want to first talk about what I did wrong after reading Lynn’s post.
I first tried multiple times (without success) to post a comment on her post. But because the post was getting so much attention (I think!), it didn’t work for me. So the next morning I went searching for her, and, lo and behold, she has published books and they are in the same genre that JK Rowling is now marketing in. This all started to make sense now! Jealousy got the best of Lynn Shepherd. And anger then got the best of me as I then decided to give Lynn my 2 cents-worth on twitter by saying, ”I'm sorry @Lynn_Shepherd that envy of JK Rowlings success consumes your life, but u destroyed ur own by bashing people that read her books” and, “@Lynn_Shepherd didn't you ever stop to think that maybe JK Rowling only introduced her fans to your genre?” Lynn spoke her opinion in her post, so I didn’t (and still don’t) think those tweets were inappropriate. I let her know my thoughts, but I guess that wasn’t enough to cure the poison in me and make me feel better. So, while the poison was still boiling my blood, I was thinking that if it’s okay for Lynn to talk crap about books she knows nothing about, it would also be okay for me to review her books on Amazon and Goodreads (without reading them) and give them all one star in my reviews. And, in my mind, I thought it was deserved. I was thinking, “She attacks, I’ll attack back.” But a few hours later I realized that rating her books one star on Amazon was absolutely wrong because I’ve never condoned that kind of behavior before so why would I now? So, let me say again that I hate when I react so badly. I usually give myself enough time to realize that those evil thoughts are wrong and that I shouldn’t act on them. I haven’t, and don’t ever intend to, read her books, so I don’t think it’s right of me to rate something I’ve never read, even if I’m still upset with her actions. So I immediately went in and deleted my reviews on Amazon. I still wanted to leave my 2 cents-worth on Goodreads, but at the time, I didn’t realize that I could just clear out my rating and still leave my comments about her books without deleting and starting over. But this morning, I was still thinking about my actions, and decided that if I couldn’t remove my one star ratings of Lynn’s books on Goodreads, then I’m just going to delete them off my Goodreads feed altogether. Luckily I discovered that there is a way to just clear out an already starred rating without having to delete it, so that’s what I did.
After all that drama, for most of the day I’ve been able to pretty much let it go and haven’t allowed the words from her post to consume my entire day like they did yesterday. That is . . . until I then saw some tweets from people who were upset, saying that Lynn was being bullied by all the people who were responding to her article! I did see a blog post about someone not agreeing with the one star rating on Amazon, and that’s fine, that’s their opinion and it’s valid. At that point I had already decided that my prior actions were immature (and I figured that out on my own), but I don’t think that anything I’ve seen written or posted about Lynn would be considered bullying. I mean, if you (Lynn) behave badly in public and insult other people (JK Rowling’s fans) then you better expect to be criticized right back, even if the backlash is immature. That is partially why I’m not beating myself up over my own behavior. I corrected my own bad behavior…and I’m sorry that I had one star reviews about Lynn’s books out on Amazon for about 3 hours (and on Goodreads for probably about 18 hours.) I feel bad about what I did, and I certainly won’t do it again. And I didn’t even need someone to tell me that it was wrong. I decided that on my own. However, I do think that Lynn Shepherd’s post was in a sense like one of those bullies who goes around pushing people, but never expects to be pushed back. But those kinds of bullies SHOULD expect to get punched back; especially, if they happen to push around someone who has done a lot of good for a lot of people. And they for sure better expect a lot of backlash from a lot of those people.
There were a lot of ways that Lynn could have written that post without being so insulting, petty and jealous and still get her point across. She could actually even have acknowledged her own envy brought about by a successful author changing writing genres and still being successful, and she wouldn’t have gotten this much backlash. But, then, she also wouldn’t have gotten this amount of attention. But the problem was that Lynn was rude. And she wasn’t just saying rude words to an author that she thinks will probably never see the article, she also insulted JK Rowling’s adult fans. I was disgusted! She said something that offended me personally. And then she was extremely rude to THE ONLY author that I would probably act like an extremely crazy fangirl over. Now, if Lynn had crazy people truly bullying her by stalking her over her Huffington Post article, then I’d be concerned. But that’s not happening. Instead, Lynn put herself in a very public forum, insulted a huge number of people, and got a negative reaction. So she better expect some reasonable internet backlash. It’s kind of (but I know not quite) like insulting a race of people . . . if you do that, you better expect a BIG backlash from that race. It’s understandable.
Now I want to discuss why I was so easily offended by Lynn’s article. It was primarily this paragraph:
Who are you, Lynn, to say that Harry Potter is not stimulating, especially when you haven’t read them? I myself had not been a big reader before I read Harry Potter because, as a child, I hugely struggled with reading and comprehension. And guess what? When I read Harry Potter in my early 20s I became a lover of reading. “Yes Lynn, I was one of those grown-ups reading Harry Potter, and I’m not going to go into why adults love Harry Potter because there are enough adults that actually have read them to understand why.” And then after I discovered my love of reading through Harry Potter, I experimented by trying other books. I actually became quite fond of V.C. Andrews at that time, but there was no huge attachment like I had with the Harry Potter world. Harry Potter changed my life completely! I was one of those people that was showing up for the midnight release of the newest HP book, and I’d read the new release within 1-2 days after getting it. But it still took me almost 10 years after that before I found the right kind of books that would hold my interest. But I now read 50-100 books a year! And guess what Lynn? I primarily support new authors, much more so than already successful authors! But still, to this day, I have not had any book blow me away nearly as much as the Harry Potter world did. And not just me! I remember when I was first reading HP that a woman told me that her two AUTISTIC boys would only ever show interest in Harry Potter books. That is purely amazing! Why would you EVER ask someone with that kind of writing skill to stop writing?
OK! This post has become WAY too long, but I think I’ve gotten my point across. I’ll just end by saying that I feel really bad for Lynn’s publisher, publicist and anyone else she has taken down, affected and/or hurt over that ridiculous article. I sure hope Lynn sees why her article was hurtful.