Thursday, March 12, 2009

Attack of the 50 Foot Ego

I got an e-mail the other night from a minor-league NeoPagan author, with the title of his most recent book in the subject line. Assuming it was a mass-mailed press release, I opened it up, all set to give it a perfunctory glance and SPAM it away. However, it turned out to be a long, rambling, invective-filled rant addressed to me personally, condemning my incompetent (I think he meant ignorant) opinions and the part I'm playing in the vast Wiccan conspiracy that's bent on destroying him.

"Stop spreading your malicious lies!" he blathered. "I've authored or co-authored a dozen books and have five children. Why don't you post your list of accomplishments, you idiot?"

Where in the hell is this coming from? I thought. Do I even know this person? What do his children have to do with anything?

It took me all morning to piece the situation together, but back in November, on a relatively obscure online forum, someone brought up the author's book and asked if anyone had read it. I replied that the book in question was a revised edition of an earlier work, that it really wasn't very good, and that the author had a dubious reputation. Not the kindest review, but not particularly inflammatory, either. People have certainly said worse about me. Hell, I've said worse about me.

But that's just part and parcel of professional writing, isn't it? No matter how eloquent you may be, someone, somewhere, is going to disagree with the words that come out of you. That said, and understanding how criticism of one's literary abilities could eat away at one's sense of self-worth, I have a hard time picturing a legitimate wordsmith scouring the Internet for possible detractors and firing off angry, late-night e-mails to them, demanding that they appreciate him or else. Especially five months after the fact. Makes me suspect unresolved paranoia issues.

Although this begs another question: Why does he give two shits what I think, anyway? I'm just some guy. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm cool and all, but it's not like Raymond Buckland just publically snubbed him at a high-profile charity event (as far as I know). And with this in mind, why the hostility? Does he think I called his mother a whore? Sent a tornado through his trailer park? Pillaged his children? Is that why he mentioned them?

Sadly, we'll never know, as I deleted his e-mail without response. But he did do me a favor by giving me more incentive to write a book of my own. Once finished, I'll send him an autographed copy (hardcover, natch), and he can kick it and pee on it and finally feel vindicated, while the rest of NeoPagandom gets back to the quiet business of forgetting he ever existed.

21 comments:

Le Cornichon said...

*sigh* Il n'est pas très futé ou intelligent dans le sien approche, non? I say, if you can track down his address, send this poser a nice note with a cookie bouquet and a snuggie. And some druid sticks.

Evn said...

Not futé in the least. But how about one of those Edible Arrangements? Good and good for you...

seithman said...

So when do you expect the follow-up email wherein he berates you for suggesting that he's only minor-league? ;)

Evn said...

Five months from now.

Yewtree said...

I'm still smarting from a review ten years ago where someone said my book suffered from an overly New Age approach - I think I did email the reviewer but I didn't accuse her of attacking me, I just asked why she thought this (so I could prevent it in future). But then, in my world, calling a person New Age is the deadliest insult imaginable...

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, getting hate mail from a dry drunk, hack writer who cant take personal responsibility?
I'd say you have arrived. : )

Evn said...

LOL Anonymous, you're like the third person to tell me this.

Yewtree, I think e-mailing the reviewer in that situation was entirely appropriate. It's one thing if someone simply doesn't care for what you have to say, but something else entirely if they completely misinterpret your perspective.

Siobhan said...

nah, since you didn't post his name, he won't be responding to this post -- it won't show up when he googles himself.

Evn said...

Siobhan, good point. I started to post a link to his book on Amazon, but then I decided I didn't feel like giving free advertising.

Thalia Took said...

What's baffling me is the bit about having five children being an "accomplishment." 'Cause seriously, that's just like BEHOLD MY MIGHTY SPERM!!! which, just, ewwww.

Of course that could just be cynical radfem me, too. Hard to tell.

Evn said...

Of course that could just be cynical radfem me, too.

Nah. The ewwww is pretty much universal in this situation.

Yvonne Rathbone said...

For some people, having had sex at least five times is an accomplishment.

Word verification: swilucas. A dialectal variant of "will you look at that," e.g. "Swilucas! That man has had sex at least five times!"

Evn said...

"Swilucas! That man has had sex at least five times!"

My previous word verification was "miscont," as in, "Did I say five? I misconted. I meant three and a half."

Current word verification is "gakag," as in, "The sound Evn makes when he thinks about certain people having sex."

Yewtree said...

Dear Evn, thanks for that, I'm glad my email to the reviewer wasn't in the same ball-park...

Roflmao @ comments regarding miscont, gakag, and swilucas.

My word verification is kiligg - the repetition of pointless phrases by authors, such as "cut from the living rock" or "drilling deep holes into the linguistic bedrock".

beweaver said...

And here I am waiting for the next installment on the Wiccan apathy...

And of course dying to know who this writer was so I can go read it and laugh!

Thalia Took said...

Personally, I'm dyin' to see another Jack Chick tract post. You promised a series, remember!

Evn said...

Cynthia:

And here I am waiting for the next installment on the Wiccan apathy...

Well, I'm apathetic towards this particular author, if that's any consolation. ;)

Seriously, though, next installment to be posted shortly.

Thalia:

Personally, I'm dyin' to see another Jack Chick tract post.

Yeah, I totally dropped the ball on that idea. I'll see if I can find a good'un to share in the next couple of days.

knottybynature said...

Everyone is going to have some sort of comment, no matter what. If 1000 people buy my book and 1 person doesn't like it, so what? I'm still getting royalties off that 1000 books, even if that one hated it - he bought it which means I still get paid.

As for having 5 kids....anyone can have kids. Look at our welfare system. Now, having 5 kids, getting them all raised and self-sufficient without losing any to death or trauma, well, THAT is an accomplishment. Anyone can breed. Anyone can spread their legs. It takes a real person (and a real tribe) to raise a child.

word verification:

aphara - ostracized minor-league neo-pagan writer with unresolved paranoia issues.

(Better than pariah, I though. Then again, slight dyslexia can muddle the words.)

oh, drat.

nesid - "Because I said so!"

Souris Optique said...

See, but now I'm really curious. I want to giggle at him/her and feel vaguely and irrationally superior, and I can't do that without KNOWING!
;D

word verification: pularchi -- 1.n.a little known commedia del arte character.
2.n. a particularly pulchritudinous Italian dish.

treecat said...

I got hate mail rant from him about two years after the fact because of a usenet post I made that was non-complimentary

Evn said...

Two years?! Wow, he's really behind in his vitriol.