How I love getting those emails from WordPress which announce a new comment! Maybe, in time, I will choose not to receive a notification for each and every comment, but for now, they aren’t so much in abundance that they are annoying. In fact, they pretty much make my day, they make my world a little brighter, they are my walk on the beach, my birdsong in morning, my wine after sunset… okay, enough with the mundane metaphors.
So imagine my surprise, nay, utter humiliation, when I received a very negative comment, which critiqued not only my post, but slandered my very character, and hurt me deeply, a cut to the bone.
In September 2011 I published a post, Writing With Music, about listening to music while writing. There is a particularly haunting piece that I played over and over and it worked so well for me that I thought I’d pass it on to fellow writers, or maybe just alert some people to a great audio experience. It wasn’t a successful post. No one appeared to care much about it. I don’t believe anyone even clicked on the YouTube video provided within the post.
But fifteen months later, I received notification from WordPress that I had a comment on the Writing With Music post. It was from someone named “Anonymous”:
I find it amazingly careless, ignorant and unprofessional for someone
who claims to (and may very well) be an author and reviewer of fiction to not research first, something they’ve chosen to write about, with the intention of presenting it to an audience of their readers.
It diminishes the credibility of the writer and the trust a reader invests in them:
ADAGIO – is an italian musical term that marks the tempo in which a piece of music is to be played as “slow and stately.” It means literally, “at ease.” An antonym would be ALLEGRO, meaning “fast and lively.”
Op. or OPUS – is a composition, piece of work, work of art or creation.
Holy crap. My life is over. I am shutting down this blog. Right now. I’ve been found out. Not only am I careless, I am amazingly careless. And ignorant too? Isn’t it enough that I’m just amazingly careless? So, I picture it this way: Amazingly careless is the Hostess cupcake, ignorant is the chocolate frosting, and since that is never quite enough, unprofessional is that white curly thing on top.
I “claim to be an author and reviewer of fiction”. Well, sir, I can’t make that claim any longer since I have acted in such a lowly and reprehensible way.
And I’m not sure why I believe this commenter to be a male, it’s just a gut feeling I have. I could be wrong about this. God knows, I’ve been wrong about a shitload of other stuff in my life.
After rereading the post again, though, I found that what Mr. Anonymous most likely had taken it upon himself to object to was the following:
“I’m not sure of the meaning of “Adagio” nor what “Op.” stands for…”
That was the only thing I could find.
Dude. Mr. Anonymous. This is a writing blog. Not a music blog. Why all the blow-it-all-out-of-proportion nastiness on your part here? Couldn’t you have worded it a little nicer? Maybe just implied that I might have my head you-know-where, rather than pointing out for all the WWW to see? A little subtlety would have been most appreciated.
Then I thought: But wait! I have no idea what was going on in Mr. Anonymous’ life when he decided to expose me for the ignorant, music-illiterate that I am.
- Maybe his Significant Other of n number of years just called him a Music Bigot and walked out on him?
- Maybe he’s writing a music blog and no one is commenting and/or even reading and he’s getting damn tired of it?
- Maybe he’s just in a really rotten mood, and he’s annoyed that someone with no music clue would deign to comment on Vaughn Williams?
Any or all of these things could be true. So, I’m giving the benefit of a lot of doubt here and accepting Mr. Anonymous’ critique with the dignity it deserves.
Here’s my response:
You are so right! I am careless, unprofessional and certainly ignorant. As a “maybe” author, these are traits that will affect my career — and ultimately render whatever life I have left — worthless. A broken woman, that’s what I am. Finally found out.
The only argument I have, the only trivial little thing I can conjure up as even a hint of an explanation is this: It’s a writing blog, not a music blog. I was trying to give my readers some ideas about what types of music might inspire them while writing, but unless I can define Adagio, I suppose that information is meaningless.
I may never blog again. But wait! I should blog about this very thing. Look for your comment, blown up out of all proportion in a post January, 2013.
Again, thanks so much for setting me straight. Consider my credibility duly diminished and I’m sure there isn’t a reader out there whose trust I can safely say I still have.
(And, Mr. Anonymous, I don’t mean to be picky here, but “italian” should be capitalized.)
On the other hand, could this be a positive thing? Is the fact that I have received such negativity a sign that I have arrived in the World of Bloggery? Can I compare it to Amazon reviews of Jonathan Franzen novels? He gets as many one-star reviews as five-star! And wow, we know what a successful author he is, so can this be a step up for me, from total obscurity to relative obscurity?
That would be, well, amazingly spectacular.