I am a minority in the writing community.
Go ahead, take a minute to recover from choking on your food, or to clean up the coffee you just spit out all over your keyboard. I’ll wait.
Let me explain. I’m a white male, which on the surface leads many to believe I am invincible, but what’s not readily apparent are the other qualities that make me–within the writing community at least–an oppressed minority. Now I know that’s a loaded word. I’m not oppressed like Oriental Orthodox Christians in parts of the Middle East. I’m not oppressed like countless millions who suffer(ed) under systemic racism in Africa and the United States and elsewhere. But it’s a type of oppression and it still sucks.
You see, I’m a devout Christian, and politically I’m a moderate conservative. It’s not fun being surrounded by a group of people who are constantly denigrating everything you are–people you want to accept you, to help you, to bond with and grow your writing career. To become lifelong friends with.
Not a day goes by when the writing circles on Twitter and Facebook aren’t slandering conservatives and Christians wholesale. Some of my closest friends do it on a daily basis. I never talk to my friends about any of this because, based on their social media posts, none of them are willing (or capable) of having a reasonable conversation on the topic. I’ve seen how they treat people they disagree with at-large. Why the hell would I ever want to openly come out on the side of the people they’re putting to the verbal flamethrower every day?
There are literary agents–entire agencies, even–who announced publicly that if anyone voted for Trump, they’d best not submit their work to them. Can you imagine how any of their existing clients who voted for Trump must have felt? There are also agents who spend so much time on Twitter hating the GOP that I wonder when the hell they actually have time to be literary agents. Those agents can all go perform acts upon themselves that require inhuman flexibility. It’s unbecoming and unprofessional. And hostile to about half the country. What if the tables were turned and an agent/agency announced they would not be accepting submissions from Obama voters? They’d be called out for the bigots they are. Which just goes to prove my point that the entire writing social ecosystem is a liberal bubble.
It won’t stop. It’s only getting worse, like the rest of the never-ending political outrage. And I know that even talking about it is likely to torpedo my chances of ever being published again, because the literary world is a giant bubble, and it cannot seem to handle anyone or anything that exists outside of it.
And so I have decided, as I sort of knew two years ago after leaving Twitter for a year-long hiatus, that the only winning move for me is not to play. I mean that in every possible way. I’m done with traditional publishing. I’m done with my writing and crit groups. I’m done with all social media. I’ve got five kids to raise, a church to serve, and a fulfilling day job to focus on. I don’t have time to continue pretending I’m someone I’m not just so the writing kids will like me. I will write what I want to write, and I will publish it how I want to, and that is that. It’s the act of writing itself that I love–not the attention or confirmation from others. So why am I putting up with all of the stress?
It doesn’t matter how compassionate or reasonable a human being I am–the fact that I fall on the conservative side of the spectrum is enough for many people to lose their minds. The fact that I attend mass every week at a Continuing Anglican church (one that made it publicly known that the ECUSA had lost its bloody mind in the 70s and they wanted no part of its rampant liberalism) is enough for many people to lose their minds.
After the 2016 election (an election in which I had no horse, because all three of my former political parties had already gone off the deep end) a lot of people were shocked to see that they lived in a bubble, and had no idea what the rest of the world was thinking. I was wise to this, because I’ve been living across most of the political bubbles my entire life. But man, it’s so much stress and emotional overload to keep doing that. I see why we create bubbles now–because it’s gotten to the point where you get vilified for stepping out of your bubble. So I’ll stay in mine, thank-you-very-much. It’s warm and comfy in here, and we have tea and biscuits and pretty good beer to boot. We’re not all bigots but I’m sure many of you will disagree, and that’s okay because the best part about leaving social media is that I’ll never have to hear about it.
When I first came to Twitter, I was overwhelmed with joy. So many wonderful people who loved the written word, loved helping out one another, cheering each other on, providing support and guidance. But now there’s a dark cloud over the whole thing. People like me are not invited to play anymore. So I’m taking my ball and going home. It was a good thing at first, but all good things must come to an end.
In 48 hours hours I’m deactivating my Facebook account. I’m then going to lock my Twitter account. Anyone who already follows me can still see my tweets, but there won’t be any more going forward after the 30th of June, 2018.
If you need to be in touch with me, you probably already know where to reach me. There’s contact info on this blog, and many of you have my phone number. I’m on my way back to a simpler life all-up, anyway. No more smart phone. No more Netflix. No more 24-hour or internet news. Not much computer. I need to unplug from everything for a while and get back to what’s most important.
And that sure as hell isn’t being surrounded by screeching mobs on social media.