Today, I’m reflecting on grace.
I remember a fire storm erupting a couple of years ago over one author’s rant against JK Rowling. In the article, author Lynn Shepherd bashed the famed Harry Potter creator and all her fans.
Suffice it say this attack didn’t bode well for Ms. Shepherd’s career, and with the hate mail she received and the 1 star reviews left on her novel, you can very easily guess that her career as an author turned into dust. Her life altering rant hit the world and poof. All gone.
It was only a matter of time before another author made this fatal misstep. When and where was a mystery, though, or at least it was until about a week or so ago, when author and writer for Huffington Post, Laurie Gough, “decided one night while in a bad mood” (which she explains in the very long apology she gave on her Facebook page) to write an article bashing self-published authors titled: Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word.
By Ms. Gough’s defense (again in her apology), apparently, the infamous news site changed the title of her article and deleted a paragraph at the end where she fully admits that she could be wrong and out of touch on the subject. They did this without her consent. I don’t really know if they did or didn’t, but if they did, they need to make amends with this author and the public because the backlash she’s facing hasn’t been pretty.
We all have moments where our mood and/or our mouth gets us into trouble. Whether it’s publicly to the masses or privately between your inner circles, it happens. We see something in the news that sets us off. Someone says something we take in a wrong way that sets us off. We lose our minds for a moment, becoming someone else and the loss of our minds sets us off. And it’s in this “off” state that we lash out. We lash out big time. We say stupid stuff. We do stupid stuff. We rant. We attack. We blame.
It’s not right, but we’re human. We make mistakes.
Unfortunately, in this day and age with an easily offended society on the rise; however, a slip of the tongue in anger can be, well, the end of your existence as you know it.
Gone are the days of the old Anne of Green Gables saying “Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.” Nope. Not anymore. Now, tomorrow is the day you sit in the dark shadows of what you stupidly did or said yesterday, and you will continue to sit there for awhile. Reeling in the fact that now instead of that school corner, turned around, facing the wall with a cone on your head, it’s much, much worse.
I know. I’ve lived through it, well, some of it, as the few times it’s happened to me have only been in a more private setting with friends or family. They’ve still made me feel awful enough to know I don’t want to even imagine a screw up so public that it would flood my email inbox, Facebook page, and Twitter feed with hate mail and death threats against me and my family.
Like the ones to these authors faced. Death threats, people. Toward this woman’s innocent children and families? Seriously? Is that the world we’ve come to?
If it is, then I can’t help but think that the quote from Harry Potter, “Don’t pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love” takes on a whole new meaning.
Okay, I get it, she behaved badly. Very badly. She spewed mean spirited words towards people that she didn’t know on a topic that she knew nothing about (again, something she admitted to in her apology). However, as harsh as her words were, they were not bad enough to justify some man (according to her Facebook apology) threatening her life and the lives of her family. That isn’t anything other than pure bullying and is a far worse crime than what she did in the first place.
She voiced her opinion.
This man threatened her life and the lives of innocent kids.
Doesn’t even compare. Doesn’t. Even. Compare.
But, yet, that’s the world we’ve come to. And that’s the world people are thinking is acceptable?
Back to my point, of course, when I read Ms. Gough’s article, being a hybrid author myself, I had a little moment of scoffing at the screen. How dare she call my self published titles insults to the written word! I’ve gotten rather stellar reviews on those titles, one of them is even a Crowned Heart of Excellence winner from InD’tale magazine (a feat that none of my traditionally published titles have managed, I might add!!!).
However, that moment faded when I realized exactly what this woman is now facing, and instead of being mad at her, I’m sorry for her. Her life will never be the same now. Sure the bad press and hateful comments will blow over probably in a few years (although I doubt it because Lynn Shepherd’s article was published in 2014 and is still brought up and not just by me); however, her career and life still won’t be like it was before.
And it never will.
While I agree she created this storm for herself in writing the article to begin with, I don’t think that means she deserves to be threatened as she has. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. Least of all the ones who are usually the loudest when calling someone out or rallying for the offending persons’ head to be put on a spike or when storming their front yards with the pitchforks, demanding for justice for their hurt feelings.
The ones who command perfection from others because they are so perfect are usually the ones far from that which they order.
So to Ms. Gough, while everyone is mad at you, I just want to say that I’m sorry you’re having to live with this now. I know you wish you could take it back because I know how that feels. I hope that this angered society can take a step back, looking into their own lives for moments of stupidity, and find some grace to forgive you. If they can’t, then I hope you can give it to yourself and at least find peace in that.