The Temptation of the Trolls

Since instituting my “I don’t read the comments on my own Pith posts and I don’t want to hear about them from people who do,” I’ve noticed something unpleasant. I kind of miss it. Not in a good way. But I had a story rejected, again, today. It’s been rejected so many times that I now just assume it’s going to be rejected. I kind of assume everything I do is going to be rejected, over and over again. Not quite good enough. So, just hurry up and send it back to me so that I can send it out again.

You get kind of numb to it. At first, it sucks so much to be rejected and then, genuinely, you stop feeling like your guts are going to come out. You really do start to believe that it just wasn’t the right fit. Not for them.

But the thing is that, even though the terrible feeling of rejection is terrible and does suck, it’s a real, intense feeling. It’s a feeling you have to get over, I think, in order to keep sending stories out. Otherwise how would you survive? But there’s a certain satisfaction in having really intense feelings, even if they’re negative.

And I’ve had some really awesome stuff happen to my writing. Obviously. Just look at this weekend. But I’m  not really hardwired to be able to feel happiness intensely for long periods of time. I’m trying to practice being different than that–to actually be happy and to take pleasure in it. And to find ways of sustaining it internally.

But man, the thing about the Pith commenters is that it’s like being nit picked to death. I feel every single bad comment like it’s some indictment of my soul. I burn with fiery passion while I try to think up comebacks so devastating they will reduce the person they’re directed to to ash. I carry those mean comments with me like battle scars. Like I’m proud–to myself–of having the barrage inflicted on me and of surviving.

My feelings are intense. And the callous seems never to completely form.

So, I really want to read my comments and I really want to feel angry and mean back at my commenters.

I don’t, because it costs me too much, but I want to.

I’m having a problem that I don’t really want to talk about. I’m not handling it well, though, because it reminds me too much, in some ways, of a very bad thing that happened to me when I was younger. I feel the ghost of that bad thing with me whenever I try to figure out the current stupid situation.

And I want to be kind and generous and open-hearted, even though it’s not my nature. But the temptation to deal with this stupid situation, where the stakes are so low–just a matter of my own mild discomfort–as if it were that old bad thing, and to say all the things I wished I’d said, to be as mean as I maybe should have been back then… I don’t know. It’s really tempting.

But I want to be a better person. Not for others’ sakes. But for my own. And giving in to your worst impulses can’t make you a better person.

But man, sometimes I envy the people who act like it does.

2 thoughts on “The Temptation of the Trolls

  1. I think you should remind yourself that the PITW commenters aren’t really aiming that stuff at YOU – it’s that you represent something they don’t like. You can’t truly hate someone you don’t truly know. And there’s also that thing regarding what we hate in others in a reflection of what we hate within ourselves.

    But yeah, rejection sucks. I got used to it a lot when I worked in the artsy side of things. I had to learn early on to separate work from person. I observed classmates in art school who took things SO personally. I always wanted to say “look, just because professor x doesn’t like your photo composition, it doesn’t mean you’re a horrible person.”

  2. “I now just assume it’s going to be rejected…So, just hurry up and send it back to me so that I can send it out again.” It’s the pain of hope. I felt the same thing over the summer, when I was unemployed for several months. More than once I thought “just hurry up and reject me so I can know I didn’t get it.” You’re mentally preparing yourself for the worst, so that if the worst does happen you can avoid disappointment and if it actually turns out well, you can be pleasantly surprised. There’s obviously a sliver of you holding out hope, because why would you keep submitting the story if you didn’t at least on some level think *someone* might publish it, but you’re protecting yourself at the same time.

Comments are closed.